Saturday, February 8, 2014

One Man's Maple Moon: Pussywillows Tanka by Carol Purington

English Original

in a vase without water
so they'll last
      the story my grandmother
      told only once

Second Place, 2004 TSA International Tanka Contest

Carol Purington

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Carol Purington is at home in the hills of western Massachusetts. She writes about seasonal and emotional rhythms, exploring connections between the worlds inside us and the worlds our bodies interpret. Her works have appeared in English-language haiku/tanka publications, both print and online, and they have won recognition in international contests. She has published three books of tanka: The Trees Bleed Sweetness, A Pattern for This Place, and Gathering Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Below is the judge's comment, which can be accessed at

    We always hear about stories grandmother and grandfather have told a thousand times, but there are other stories, stories so personal or painful or delicate that they get told only once. The poet, who has been present at the telling of one such story, here subtly presages her concern for preserving the story for all who might need to hear it with the image of the pussy willows in the vase without water so they’ll last. The use of indentation for the fourth and fifth lines structurally reinforces the reader’s sense of the impact this story-once-told has had on the poet’s memory by literally offsetting it in a space of its own, adjacent to the vase.