Friday, April 20, 2018

A Room of My Own: Ice Pellets and Harsh Words Tanka

ice pellets
bouncing off my head
this April day
like that winter night
she threw harsh words at me

Note: The poem above could be read as a prequel to the following tanka:

closed in
on herself once again ...
dinnertime filled
with the sound of chopsticks
and April snowflakes

Joint First Prize, 8th International Tanka Festival, 2016

Chen-ou Liu

(Judge`s Comment:  A simple rendering of solitude, silence, and tranquility. We are not told why this persona seeks to separate herself from others, we only know that she has done this before. We are free to attribute reasons based on our own experiences. Quiet is apparent in two details. The sound of chopsticks would usually goes unnoticed, something our brains ignore because unimportant. Line 4 brings the sound to our mind's ear, and our imagination perforce sets it in an otherwise silent background. As to falling snow, its acoustic presence is one of muffling other sounds. Beyond sound, however, when snowflakes appear in the poem they place the persona at a window, on the inside, looking out-­with all the emotional interpretations that might imply. "April" says springtime, but "snowflakes," winter. We are invited to fill in our own take on the dual nature of this symbolism. Meanwhile, there are no sounds of sadness--no tears, no sighs. As such, there is a certain calm conveyed by the whole)

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