Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Man's Maple Moon: Forest Tanka by Marilyn Humbert

English Original

in the forest
shadows slip between
two worlds,
blackened stumps, withered leaves
lost souls ...
Atlas Poetica, 9, July 2011

Marilyn Humbert

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

迷失的靈魂 ...

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

迷失的灵魂 ...

Bio Sketch

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney NSW surrounded by bush. Her pastimes include writing free verse poetry, tanka, tanka prose and related genre. She is the leader of Bottlebrush Tanka Group and member of the Huddle and Bowerbird Tanka Groups. Her tanka appears in Australian and International Journals.


  1. This is a rare atmospheric poem that conveys a strong sense of yugen through riveting images, especially through those in the lower verse.

  2. The compound “yūgen” 幽玄 (lit., depth and mystery) is made of two Chinese characters: “Yū” means “faint, dim,” and also “deep;” “gen” indicates the black color, the color of heaven, something far away, something quiet, and an occult principle. We find the character “gen” used in the Tao Te Ching (Classic of the Way and Integrity) to describe the “Way:"

    These two -- the nameless and what is named -- emerge from the same source yet are referred to differently. Together they are called obscure (Chinese, xuan; Japanese, gen), the obscurest of the obscure, they are the swinging gateway of the manifold mysteries.1

    Thus, “yūgen” is something well beyond the reach of man’s immediate perception and understanding, since it is too deep and too far for humans to reach, even conceptually. In ancient China, yūgen came to indicate the other world, as well as the Taoist Way and Buddhist enlightenment.2 -- Yūgen by Michael F. Marra

    For more info., see my Poetic Musings post, titled Ezra Pound’s "Metro Poem" as a Yugen Haiku, which can be accessed at