Tanka Selection

August 2001

WHCshortverses – Tanka Selections

WHCshortverses Selections: Tanka
Selected by Werner Reichhold

gone to seed
light-headed dandelions
by the four winds
as I am today

kirsty karkow
Maine, USA

How well the writer knows to combine a view at nature with personal emotions. The pivot binds both parts together. A shorter one couldn’t make it work. [wr]


into the mist
a horizon of tall ships
sails billowing
reminders of romantic times
before the age of steam

kirsty karkow
Maine, USA

the faint scent
of Ivory soap
reminding me of her
creamy skin and beautiful
that sad young nun

Elizabeth St Jacques
Sault Ste. Marie, CA
pub. Poetry in the Light 2001

how lovely
the white lotus
opens to the sun . . .
even in old age
longing  for a daughter

Elizabeth St Jacques
Sault Ste. Marie, CA
pub.Tanka Splendor, 1997

cloudy day
a couple uncouples
from parting embrace
the train whistle ends
to start of tears

Victor P. Gendrano
California, USA

This is also a good combination between parting weather and weather for a parting. [wr]

my grandchildren
bend while I stretch up
to kiss their cheeks
the waning autumn wind
continues on its way

Victor P. Gendrano
California, USA

The fabric of this poem is deeply  touching . One wants to add, …’our programmed genes’ work best without us interfering. [wr]


Modern waka 

If I could
Only pinch this fragrance,
The viburnum–
Sending its scent
On this cooling breeze.

Donna Ferrell,
Ohio, USA

There are some doubts if starting each line in upper case does anything good to those very short lines. To me, it seems an improper interruption.

 two strangers
rejoicing in a robin
our eyes briefly meet
as the last clear notes
echo someone’s dream

Ferris Gilli
Florida, USA

where we learned
the language of trees
the scent of you
on a summer wind
wilder than honey

Ferris Gilli
Florida, USA

curved nails
clicking against the glass
red pistachios
and warm beer have more pull
than the ring peddler’s lies

Ferris Gilli
Florida, USA

hot faces, damp hair
exuding puppy fragrance
sudden nostalgia
sharper than five-cent lemonade
a young voice yells, “Wait for me!”

Ferris Gilli
Florida, USA

in this place where
the sun shines through leaves
a  small brown bird
weaving memories of you
into a water song

Ferris Gilli
Florida, USA

In all five* of Ferris Gilli’s poems one finds two or more corresponding parts, poetically put into relationships. How enriched one feels reading such works, no word could be added, not a single word there is that one wants to miss. [wr]

(*As Ferris submitted no other categories; in lieu of other genre offerings,  5 in one genre were permitted rather than 3; also with the tanka of Tokisho Makino. db)

right before my eyes
my mother’s face seems to fade
into shadow
these stars tonight that hold light
then slowly give it away

Marjorie Buettner
Minnesota, USA

Read aloud, this poem shows that the writer is engaged to having her work recited, if not sung. [wr]

cool autumn rain
washes away summer’s warmth
the changing seasons
so much like
my feelings for you

Becky Bunsic (Tukiko)
Arizona, USA

Tanka by Toshiko Makino, Japan
The original Japanese text has been translated into English, with permission, by Eiko Yachimoto,
Yokosuka city, Japan. [wr]

kotoba sukunaki tsuma no katae ni amu reesu  dokomademo kousaku naki kyokusen ni

beside a man
of few words
his wife is crocheting lace
each curve never
never comes across…

Toshiko Makino

mayoi ooki ware ga toiyuku hananotera  ajisai no ame ni kasa katamukete

as if to confirm
my doubtful mind
I visit a flower temple
the umbrella tilted
in a rain of hydrangea

Toshiko Makino

Toshiko Makino offers us the essence of Japanese spirits. But then it is the poet, Eiko Yachimoto, who is able to transform the Japanese into English language so we can participate in what’s really behind the author’s poetical intentions. [wr]

kioikishi mono tsugitsugi to kuzureyuki kuuhaku no nikki ikunichika tsuzuku

one after another
what kept me standing tall
starts to crumble–
I see diary pages
that remain white

Toshiko Makino

‘aa uu’ to yasashiki boin midorigo wa haru no hikari no nakani mezamete

“ah, uoo, ah, uoo,”
such soft vowels
from a newborn baby
he is waking up
in the light of spring

Toshiko Makino

zattou wo kurage no youni fuyuusuru ware no yukue ha ware nimo wakaranu

am I a jellyfish
floating above
and through huge crowds?
I do not realize
where I’m taken to…

Toshiko Makino

Non-conclusive;  just that gives the reader a lot of leeway to perceive the poem this or that way, depending on his/her current condition. [wr]

my wine glass
reflects only fireplace flames
and an empty room
the bluesman’s gravelly growl
as he strokes his guitar

Larry Gross
Florida, USA

‘Subliminal time’- the fear of it and the wish to learn to adapt oneself to it- this thought carries me through all 3 tanka. Larry knows how to reach out to the secrets and how to get the reader involved with what he wishes to transform. [wr]

my mother’s large computer
and Dad’s Web TV
how small now the rug
where i watched cartoons

Larry Gross
Florida, USA

his rough hands
clean the barn stalls
in sunset’s glint
while I waste more time
on this fleeting verse

Larry Gross
Florida, USA

glistening water
the hazy and straight figures
in the evening breeze-
the gaze is lingering on
another different image

Sonia Christina Coman
Constanza, Romania

Compared to Sonia’s poetic technique, linear composed thoughts may seem easier to comprehend, but they don’t stick to one’s mind in the long run, like these poems do. The reason? The comparisons she uses take us far off into another realm. [wr]

at the nunnery
a prayer told by the nuns
for the New Year-
onto the Virgin’s icon
a vigilant butterfly

Sonia Christina Coman
Constanza, Romania

This entry was posted in Tanka, Vol 1-2 August 2001 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tanka Selection

  1. Thank you. I enjoyed reading the tanka–some familiar poets and some new for me–and Werner Reichhold’s comments. Ellen

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