Saturday, January 12, 2013

One Man's Maple Moon: Butterfly Tanka by Claire Everett

English Original

through how many lifetimes
did you pass
before you found your place
in summer's daydream?

Blithe Spirit, August 2012

Claire Everett

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

你已穿越 ?

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

你已穿越 ?

Bio sketch

Claire Everett lives with her husband and children in North Yorkshire, England. Her poetry has been published in short form journals worldwide. She served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka, Volume 4, 2011 and in December of the same year she became Tanka Prose Editor for Haibun Today. Claire has just launched Skylark, a UK tanka journal dedicated to tanka in all its forms.

1 comment:

  1. Unlike most tanka that are structured into two parts separated by a punctuation mark or a disruptive semantic flow, this beautifully-crafted “one-sentence” tanka is grammatically divided into two parts: “butterfly/ through how many lifetimes/ did you pass,” an independent clause, and “before you found your place/in summer's daydream?”, a dependent clause.

    Written in the second person, this dream-like tanka directly speaks to the butterfly (the symbol of a departed soul) and indirectly to the reader (“you”), or more correctly to “our collective unconscious through which we are shown mystical glimpses of meaningful connections between our subjective and objective worlds.”

    Note: Read in the Chinese and Japanese literature, the butterfly symbolizes a departed soul. The most well-known story is the Butterfly Lovers, the legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai set in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (265 and 420 CE). For more info, visit

    And according to Chinese folkloric beliefs and Hinduism, “marriage between two souls is a very sacred affair that stretches beyond one lifetime and may continue up to at least seven lives.”