Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Room of My own: Black Man and White Cop Tanka

written in response to the Derek Chauvin trial verdict for the killing of George Floyd and Joe Biden's remarks

for a moment
our country can breathe without fear ...
until somewhere
some young black man collides
with the shadow of a white cop

FYI:  ... This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America. Let’s also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare... excerpted from Remarks by President Biden on the Verdict.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Twilight Sun Haiku by Marian Olson

English Original

twilight sun
slips into another
dark world

The Heron’s Nest,  4:8 August 2002

Marian Olson

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Marian Olson, non-fiction writer and widely published international poet, was the author of nine books of poetry, including the award winning haiku in Songs of the Chicken YardDesert HoursConsider This, and Moondance. Published in 2017, The Other and Kaleidoscope were her first books of tanka.

Monday, April 19, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Perfect Arc Tanka by Thelma Mariano

English Original

no answers
in the darkening sky
only my awe
at the perfect arc
of this rainbow

Thelma Mariano

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Thelma Mariano is the author of Night Sky: a Selection of Tanka Poetry. She lives in Montreal and has published her tanka in literary journals as well as in various anthologies including Fire Pearls and Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Room of My Own: A Bank of Dark Clouds Haiku

One Hundred Ninety-Fifth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

the wisps spread
into a bank of dark clouds ...
three-million mark

AddedOne Hundred Ninety-Sixth Entry

another coffin lowered
into a mass grave

AddedOne Hundred Ninety-Seventh Entry

the mournful sounds
of a lone Scottish piper
echo off church walls ...
the masked Queen in black 
alone for the first time

FYI: Wilfred Frost, CNBC anchor and son of David Frost, said on Saturday morning that the queen's "bubble" was her husband prior to his death. He added her being alone at his funeral is quite poignant, saying, she will literally "have no shoulder to cry on," "Queen Elizabeth says goodbye to Prince Philip with a note laid on his casket," Today, April 17, 2021

Added: One Hundred Ninety-Eighth Entry

sharp spike in cases ...
through the hallway murmurs
of triage care

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Rosy Dawn Haiku by Debbie Strange

English Original

rosy dawn
our paddles stippled
with petals
Highly Commended, 2019 New Zealand Poetry Society International Competition

Debbie Strange 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Debbie Strange is an award-winning Canadian short form poet, haiga artist, and photographer. Keibooks released her second full-length poetry collection, Three-Part Harmony: Tanka Verses in 2018, and Folded Word published her haiku chapbook, A Year Unfolding in 2017. An archive of publications may be accessed at

Friday, April 16, 2021

Poetic Musings: Dying Men Tanka by Saigyo Hoshi

In the world of men it came to be a time of warfare. Throughout the country -- west, east, north, and south -- there was no place where the war was not being fought. The count of those dying because of it climbed continually and reached an enormous number. It was beyond belief! And for what on earth was this struggle taking place? A most tragic state of affairs 

There's no gap or break
In the rank of those marching
Under the hill:
An endless line of dying men,
Moving on and on and on ...

Saigyo Hoshi

Commentary: This lengthy and sociopolitically conscious prefatory note establishes the thematic and emotive context of the poem while the tanka visually enhances the tone and mood. Saigyo's use of repetition in the last line adds extra emotional weight and psychological depth to the poem. "The irony is that we learn more about the times from this monk-poet who intentionally put distance between himself and what he called the ‘world’ than we do from the poetry of his contemporaries who went on living in the midst of the national capital, writing verses on set themes as if their society were not, in fact, falling apart” (William R. LaFleur, Mirror for the Moon : A Selection of Poems by Saigyo,  p. xiv)

-- -- excerpted from "To the Lighthouse: Joshi (Prefatory Note) as a Poetic Device"

Thursday, April 15, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Hair and Thistles Tanka by Claudia Coutu Radmore

English Original

I want to polish you
with my hair
let strands all over your body
become part of you
like thistles caught in bark

fish spine picked clean, 2018  

Claudia Coutu Radmore

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Claudia Coutu Radmore is the author of  fish spine picked clean (2018, Éditions des petits nuages, Montreal, Canada),  and Your Hands Discover MeTes mains me découvrent  (2010, Éditions du tanka francophone, Montreal). She is the  President of Haiku Canada, and has been proofreading, and selecting tanka, for Gusts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Pebble Beach Haiku by Mallika Chari

English Original

pebble beach
we count the countless
unspoken words

Frogpond, 43:2, Spring /Summer 2020

Mallika Chari

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Mallika Chari, an artist and poet,  loves to give shape to her words in the form of paintings.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Room of My Own: Sharp Spike and Slow Descent Tanka

One Hundred Ninety-Fourth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary
written in response to this "not-so-shocking" 😠 news: "Canada's COVID-19 case rate now tops U.S. rate," CBC News, April 12

a sharp spike
in covid variant cases ...
at twilight
the slow descent of a kite
severed from its string


in morning chill
a street dog with saggy balls
the eyes of an old man
leaning on the liquor store wall

Monday, April 12, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Empty Shells Tanka by Carole MacRury

English Original

gulls shriek,
the ocean shrugs over
empty shells
this fine line between
being alone and lonely

Editor’s Choice, Gusts, 25, 2017 

Carole MacRury 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Carole MacRury resides in Point Roberts, Washington, a unique peninsula and border town that inspires her work.  She is the author of In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides (Black Cat Press, 2008, 2nd Printing, 2018) and The Tang of Nasturtiums, an award-winning e-chapbook (Snapshot Press 2012).  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Spring Nap Haiku by Jane Reichhold

English Original

a spring nap
downstream cherry trees
in bud

Frogpond, 23:3, Autumn 2000

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch 
Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She had published over thirty books of haiku, renga, tanka, and translations. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home was translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane also published Mirrors: International Haiku ForumGeppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she had co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she had maintained an online forum – AHAforum

Saturday, April 10, 2021

A Room of My Own: Thoughts and Prayers & Traces of Blood Haiku

thoughts and prayers ...
the ground stained with traces of blood
three times in two weeks

FYI: The year-by-year list of mass shootings in the United States.

There's much more that Congress can do to help that effort. And they can do it right now, They've offered plenty of thoughts and prayers — members of Congress — but they've passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence...

Enough prayers. Time for some action.

-- Joe Biden, April 9, 2021


under a painting
of the Callaway plantation
the governor's name
inscribed in the ironclad
voting rights law

FYI: This poem is a sequel to the following tanka written for Black History Month, which is "celebrated" in North America in February

Emory President praised
the three-fifths compromise ...
on the sun-tanned backs
of a row of black students
This is 5/5 outrageous

Friday, April 9, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Rain on the Tent Haiku by Julie Warther

English Original

rain on the tent ...
two sleeping bags
zipped into one

Acorn 43, Fall 2019

Julie Warther

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Julie Warther is an associate editor at The Heron's Nest and was instrumental in establishing The Forest Haiku Walk in Millersburg, Ohio and the Seasons of Haiku Trail at The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Poetic Musings: Rusted Zinnias Tanka by Geraldine Clinton Little

ah, summer, summer,
how quickly you fade. I cut
        rusted zinnias,
place them on a glassed table --
top, as if time could double.

The Tanka Anthology, 2003

Geraldine Clinton Little

Commentary: Also a poem of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, this tanka is more complicated, having three parts and given momentum by the use of enjambment: “ah summer, summer / how quickly you fade” functions as the strophe, “I cut / rusted zinnias, / place them on a table- / top,” is the antistrophe, and the poem’s sliding to a rest on “as if time could double” functions as a kind of epode. The enjambed strophes and abrupt shifts generate tension and underscore the poet’s wistful contemplation of time’s evanescence. The reflected double-image of the zinnias on the glass tabletop is an especially powerful image, again showing the use of an objective correlative to convey both idea and emotion while preserving aesthetic distance.

 -- excerpted from "Introduction to The Tanka Anthology" by Michael McClintock

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Winter Moon Haiku by Shirley Johnson

English Original

beyond mountains
more mountains --
winter moon
Second Prize, 2019 Morioka Haiku Contest

Shirley Johnson 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

更多的山脈 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

更多的山脉 --
Bio Sketch

Shirley Johnson is a retired Canadian middle school teacher, who loved teaching haiku. She would keep the lessons in a special folder, saved for the days the school inspectors dropped by. Her other passions include calligraphy, book-making, travel and jazz.