Friday, September 24, 2021

A Room of My Own: Nothing New under the Stars and Stripes

Two Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary
inspired by recent news stories and headlines in the most vaccine-rich country

driving around
unmasked freedom protesters
on two sides
of a funeral home van
don't get vaccinated 

the wife dies
as the husband gets last glimpses
of their newborn ...
stony silence among five kids
of these two anti-vaxxers

1 in 500
Americans have died of Covid
in my quarantined mind
red letters of the headline
morph into waves of viruses

you, fucking Chinese
don’t fucking get me sick ...
the sultry air
explodes with cluster f-bombs
as onlookers come and go  

FYI: US hospital care rationed as 2,000 Americans die each day from COVID-19, Global News, September 22

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Night Rain Haiku by Kokuu Andy McLellan

English Original

night rain
in every puddle
a different moon

Third Place, 2018 International Kusamakura Haiku Competition

Kokuu Andy McLellan

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Kokuu Andy McLellan is a haiku poet and Soto Zen novice priest living in Canterbury, UK.  He spends a lot of time drinking tea and has three children and a PhD in plant biology.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Ex-Spouse Day Haiku by Natalia Kuznetsova

English Original

Ex-Spouse Day 
a couple of blackbirds
at the courthouse

Asahi Haikuist Network, April 20, 2018

Natalia Kuznetsova

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Living in Moscow, Russia, Natalia Kuznetsova is an assistant professor of English and freelance interpreter. Before discovering the haiku world, she wrote poetry in Russian. She started writing tanka and mostly haiku in English several years ago, and participated in numerous competitions worldwide and won some awards. She now contributes regularly to World Haiku Review, Mainichi DailyAsahi Haikuist NetworkShiki Kukai and other traditional and on-line publications. She was included on the list of "European Top 100 Most Creative Haiku Authors" from 2010 to 2013.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Cooking Show Tanka by Neal Whitman

English Original

in the waiting room
a cooking show on the TV
and a fish tank  --
one guppy circling
one belly up

Neal Whitman 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

和一個魚缸 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

和一个鱼缸 --

Bio Sketch

Neal Whitman lives with his wife, Elaine, in Pacific Grove, California, where he is a docent at Point Pinos Lighthouse. Visitors who come there from near and far inspire him to write poetry that takes the “particular" to convey the “universal". Neal is Vice President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Army Truck Haiku by Kanchan Chatterjee

English Original

an army truck
hurries towards the border ...
spring thunderstorm

Selected Haiku, 9th Yamadera Basho Memorial English haiku Contest

Kanchan Chatterjee

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

朝向邊境快速地行進 ...

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

朝向边境快速地行进 ...

Bio Sketch

Kanchan Chatterjee is a fifty year old government service holder in the finance department of Government of India. He writes poems, especially haiku, tanka and haibun. He has won several haiku awards and  has been published in various online and print poetry journals. His haiku appeared regularly in NHK’s program, "Haiku Masters," in Japan. He was a ‘Pushcart Award’ nominee in  2012.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Poetic Musings: Diverging Lines Tanka by Jackie Chou

strolling together
on cracked sidewalk
the diverging lines
lead us to separate paths
though we say we are one

NeverEnding Story, September 14, 2021

Jackie Chou 

Commentary: Through the use of a walking metaphor (for a slower, more contemplative way of thinking about the relationship with the speaker's loved one), Jackie's tanka effectively builds, poetic phrase (ku)/ line by poetic phrase (ku)/ line, to a thematically significant and emotionally poignant ending that reveals the theme of "dialectical tensions" (exposed by these modifiers in Ls 1,3,4,5, "together, divergent, separate, and one[ness]") in a relationship.

And it might be interesting to do a comparative reading of the following tanka:

two walking sticks
lean against
the trail head sign,
so many ways to fall
in love again

Second Place, 2017 Sanford Goldstein Tanka Contest 

Tom Clausen

Saturday, September 18, 2021

A Room of My Own: Snap Pandemic Election

Two Hundred and Sixty-Third Entry, Coronavirus Poetry Diary

six feet apart
and their minds miles away 
from each other
five smiling party leaders
shout, get your shot

question after question
answered with talking points
my parrot babbles
in the unseasonal heat

thumbs up
from the photogenic PM
forward, for everyone --
a masked gig worker 
gives him the finger

nightly barks
penetrate the thin wall
of my room
build back better blasting
from my neighbor's tv

same old, same old?
I stare in the mirror
on election eve
wondering if I can flatten
the curve of my pot belly

campaign signs
along a winding stretch
of highway
on election night
I sink deep into the couch

FYI: Pandemic federal election campaign produces little enthusiasm for any party, The Canadian Press, September 18

A campaign that started with anger over Justin Trudeau's decision to call an election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is ending amid anger over conservative premiers' handling of the health crisis...

When Trudeau pulled the plug on his minority government on Aug. 15, he tried to frame the ballot question as: Who do you want to finish the fight against COVID-19 and lead the country into a robust, greener, more inclusive recovery?

"I think many of us misread what was an optimistic country in terms of where we're going, the vaccines and everything, and we just mistook what was a really grumpy, anxious, kind of tired electorate that had no real desire at all to have an election," says pollster David Coletto, chief executive at Abacus Data...

Added: Two Hundred and Sixty-Fourth Entry

wave upon wave
of new covid variants ...
my world shrinks
to the size of a friend's garage
doubling as my bedroom

Friday, September 17, 2021

Cool Announcement: TSA YouTube Video of 2021 Sanford Goldstein Tanka Contest Awards

My Dear Friends: 

The Tanka Society of America posted its multimedia presentation of 2021 Sanford Goldstein Tanka Contest Awards on its YouTube channel.

First Place

my old home sits
next to unturned soil
string beans
and silver queen corn
long for my father’s hand

Pris Campbell
Second Place

children locked
in steel cages
once upon a time
that happened
only in fairytales

Kathryn Stevens
Third Place 

kintsugi ...
the flow
of your gentle words
helps to rebuild
a better version of me

Urszula Funnell

Honorable Mentions 

no more
chilli seeds—
my children
measure my words
in scoville units

Lucky Triana

with fresh soup
the waiter
thinks the fly
will be all right

Tom Bierovic

people debate
the ways I should be
allowed to exist—
a rainbow forms outside
the social construct of gender

Special Commendation for Embodying Sanford-Style

at morning lightfall
in the thatched hut
of an everyday mind

Chen-ou Liu

FYI:  Introducing something new this year, we’ve chosen to honor our contest’s namesake by selecting one tanka we felt best embodied Sanford Goldstein’s singular style... excerpted from Judges' Report where the following two tanka by Sanford Goldstein are analyzed together with mine: 

it was roosters
at morning light-fall --
how joyous
even that crack

I too
am Bashō,
and that urine smell
in this mountain hut

and its conclusion:

The two poems reinforce each other by modeling one possible way to cope: we can attempt to attend to sounds and situations surrounding us in a Zen-like state of mu, a concept meaning “nothing,” which manifests itself as “mind-less mind.” In this hut of the centered self, one can awaken to acceptance and the accompanying peace of simply being. Taken together with its philosophical balm, we find this tanka by a poet inspired by a master-inspired-by-a-master . . . inspiring.

You can read this detailed analysis, stylistic and thematic, in the report that begins with the following tanka:

forty years have passed
and still my ear remains
a soft carpet
on which others
dance their blues

Sanford Goldstein
Happy Viewing and Reading


Thursday, September 16, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Colourful World Tanka by Carole MacRury

English Original

if I leave
this colorful world
before you ...
look for me in a clear rain,
in the dew on a rose

Editor's Choice, Gusts, 17, Spring/Summer 2013 

Carole MacRury 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

的世界 ...

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

的世界 ...

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).  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Butterfly Dream: Train Journey Haiku by Alan Summers

English Original

train journey
the spreadsheet
of city lights

Stardust, 22, October 2018

Alan Summers

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Alan Summers is President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, and co-founder of Call of the Page. He enjoys watching classic episodes of Dr. Who, all over again, as his ten year old nephew has discovered them for himself. Website:

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Diverging Lines Tanka by Jackie Chou

English Original

strolling together
on cracked sidewalk
the diverging lines
lead us to separate paths
though we say we are one

Jackie Chou 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jackie Chou is a poet residing in sunny Southern California.  She sometimes gets her inspirations from common city birds and flowers.  Her works have been published in Atlas Poetica, Skylark, Ribbons, the cherita journal, moonbathing, ephemerae, and others.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Cool Announcement: A Freebie, Mouth Full of Stones by Debbie Strange

My Dear Readers:

NeverEnding Story contributor, Debbie Strange, published a collection of sociopolitically conscious  haiku, Mouth Full of Stones (Title IX Press, 2020), and she shared her fine work as a free download available at Title IX Press website.

Selected Haiku:

dry lightning
her mattress scarred
with cigarette burns

day moon
sister’s thin face

hot (fl)ashes the combustibility of womxn’s rights

cows and calves
bawling at weaning time
my breasts ache

angry words
the gossip of gulls
d r i f t i n g

street kids
shadows fold
into the night

neon lights
a cardboard roof
sags with snow

the buzz of a high voltage arc

a polar bear’s paws
sink deeper

Happy Reading


Sunday, September 12, 2021

A Room of My Own: Forever Wars

written for California Democratic Congressmember, Barbara Lee, who cast the sole vote after 9/11 against “Forever Wars, ” now on the need for the Afghan War Inquiry, Democracy Now Interview, September 10

rainwashed slogans
on the fortified wall
empty embassy

last Americans
a teen points his finger gun
at the moving plane 

a man shifts body bags
from shoulder to shoulder
smoky night

9/11 on TV
a veteran murmurs 
never forgive, never forget ...

FYI: Congressmember Barbara Lee closed her historic 9/11 speech with a plea for peace and diplomacy we all should remember:

"I have agonized over this vote. I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, 'As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.'"

Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

George W. Bush, Ground Zero Speech

We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side,...That’s the world these folks [terrorists] operate in, and so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.

Dick Cheney, NBC’s Meet the Press, two days after George W. Bush's "Ground Zero Speech"

For more about "forever wars," "Sunday Reading: Casualties of the Forever Wars," The New YorkerSeptember 12 and "After 9/11, the U.S. Got Almost Everything Wrong: A mission to rid the world of “terror” and “evil” led America in tragic directions," Garrett M. Graff, The Atlantic, September 8

The Global War on Terrorism yielded two crucial triumphs: The core al-Qaeda group never again attacked the American homeland, and bin Laden, its leader, was hunted down and killed in a stunningly successful secret mission a decade after the attacks. But the U.S. defined its goals far more expansively, and by almost any other measure, the War on Terror has weakened the nation — leaving Americans more afraid, less free, more morally compromised, and more alone in the world. A day that initially created an unparalleled sense of unity among Americans has become the backdrop for ever-widening political polarization...

... the journalist Robert Draper writes in To Start a War, his new history of the Bush administration’s lies, obfuscations, and self-delusions that led from Afghanistan into Iraq, “In the after-shocks of 9/11, a reeling America found itself steadied by blunt-talking alpha males whose unflappable, crinkly-eyed certitude seemed the only antidote to nationwide panic.”

Added: This Brave New World, XXI

the Peace Bell tolls 
in remembrance of lives lost
on September 11
the Taliban flag flutters
over the presidential palace 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Special Feature: In the Shadow of 9/11, the Lone Vote/Voice against the War on Terror

Selected Poetry for California Democratic Congressmember, Barbara Lee, who cast the sole vote after 9/11 against “Forever Wars” (Now On the Need for the Afghan War Inquiry, Democracy Now Interview, September 10)

twin towers
repeating their absence
day after day

World Haiku Review, January 2007

Bill Kenney

"I rise today, really, with a very heavy heart, one that is filled with sorrow for the families and loved ones who were killed and injured this week," intoned California Democratic Congressmember Barbara Lee, her voice trembling with emotion as she spoke from the House floor on September 14th, 2001...

in Bryant Park
2,753 empty chairs

not a breath of air

yards & lots, 2012

Jack Galmitz

An Unofficial Story
for Oskar

smoke trails a life
from the north tower

Another sleepless night. Winter moonlight on the empty side of her bed. From the bedside table, she picks up A Place of Remembrance: The Official Photo Book of 9/11. She stares at the book for a moment. Tears roll down her face as she rips out some of the pages. With a sigh, she puts the torn-out pages in reverse order. When she flips through them, dozens of people are flying through the windows back into the building.

Editor's Choice Haibun, Cattails, May, 2015

Chen-ou Liu

(Note: The haiku is a revised version of my vertical haiku below:


"This unspeakable act on the United States has really forced me, however, to rely on my moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction. September 11th changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States."

two light beams shining
where there were once twin towers –
my son, my daughter

Grand Prize, 15th International “Kusamakura” Haiku Competition

Jack Galmitz

Bush stood proudly
under Mission Accomplished
I recall 
that lingering smell
of my friend's patriot socks

NeverEnding Story, October 29, 2020

Chen-ou Liu 

"However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning…Let's just pause, just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control."

inspired by the 9/11  Memorial Fountain 

at the footprint
of each tower that once stood
vast emptiness
( loss and grief ) surrounded
by four walls of water

NeverEnding Story, September 12, 2016

Chen-ou Liu

Congressmember Barbara Lee closed her historic speech with a plea for peace and diplomacy we all should remember:

"I have agonized over this vote. I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, 'As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.'"

All That Remains

endless war
or full troop withdrawal?
at the airport fence
an Afghan girl stares at clouds
with darker shades of gray

last Americans
lifted off the embassy roof
in Saigon --
now some hundred Afghans
cling to a moving US plane

the face
of an Afghan girl 
who stares
into the camera
at us ... at Death

a dust-faced coalman
one body bag, then another ...
gathering dark in Kabul

NeverEnding Story, August 30, 2021

Friday, September 10, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Dappled Path Tanka by Marilyn Humbert

English Original

winter sun
filtered by gum-leaves
a dappled path
this journey of waiting
to join you

Ribbons, 14:3,  Fall 2018 

Marilyn Humbert

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern suburbs of Sydney NSW Australia. Her tanka and haiku appear in international and Australian journals, anthologies and online. Her free verse poems have been awarded prizes in competitions and some have been published.