Friday, April 21, 2017

One Man's Maple Moon: Borscht Tanka by Marian Olson

English Original

Auburn curls
around her floppy straw hat
everything about her
fresh as the beets she gathers
for borscht tonight

Honorable Mention, 2016 Stanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

Marian Olson

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Marian Olson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She has published hundreds of poems— mainstream, haiku, senryu, haibun, and tanka—nationally and internationally for thirty years. She is the author of seven poetry books, including the first-place Snapshot winner Consider This and the HSA Merit prize winner Desert Hours.

1 comment:

  1. This tanka is a beautifully realized sketch portrait. The image is clear, and the use of beets and borscht gives cultural specificity to this image. This is not a generic “woman in the garden,” but a particular woman. The addition of borscht tells us about her ethnicity. Perhaps the woman is Russian American, or Jewish. She is young (“fresh”) but not a youth, and she is maintaining elements of her ancestral culture (“borscht”) while reflecting the modern United States or Australia or wherever it is that she lives (“floppy straw hat”). The lines balance well. Line 5 is shorter, but it works because most of us are not expecting “borscht.”

    -- excerpted from commentary by the judge, which can be accessed at