TANKA TAKE HOME - 29 December, 2021

hosts: Firdaus Parvez & Kala Ramesh



Even though

these pine trees

keep their original color,

everything green

is different in spring.


—Izumi Shikibu



Tokiwa Mountain’s pine trees

are always green—

I wonder,

do they recognize autumn

in the sound of the blowing wind?


—Ono no Komachi


“It is interesting to compare this poem with the one by Komachi...to see how the same idea (that evergreens do not change color with the seasons) can be used as the basis of poems widely different in meaning.”

—The Ink Dark Moon - Love poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu.

Women of ancient Court of Japan.

Translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani

(This book has the English translation of poems by two great Japanese women tanka poets. It also has the original Japanese versions and if anyone wants to read how they have translated the verses we strongly recommend you buy the book. We can only post the tanka and probably a short excerpt. There’s a good portion of the book dedicated to the translation method.)


Hope this inspires you to write a tanka along these lines if you wish or something else that it sparks.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished tanka and tanka-prose (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in haikuKATHA monthly magazine.


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