Wednesday, May 7, 2014

One Man's Maple Moon: Mother Tanka by Neal Whitman

English Original

waiting on the dock
a woman holds a placard
with my name on it
I am put in her arms,
my mother, singing to me

Distinctive Scribblings Award, Eucalypt, 15, 2013

Neal Whitman

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Neal Whitman began to write general poetry in 2005, haiku in 2008, and tanka in 2011. He writes to be read and believes that the reader is never wrong. With his wife, Elaine, he combines his poetry with her Native American flute and photography in free public recitals with the aim of their hearts speaking to other hearts.


  1. Comment by Michele L Harvey:

    My shortlist gleanings from Eucalypt 15 were eighteen poems which had been already severely pruned. (My gratitude and admiration to all for such a treasure trove to choose from.) This kind of exercise makes one take stock and reaffirms the love of the tanka form.

    What is it that makes me fall in love again and again? What is it that makes opening Eucalypt like a sumptuous box of chocolates, not knowing what surprises and flavors will meet the tongue? Like a box of chocolates one returns to one’s favorite flavors, but why no matter how often tasted do they remain so? A little investigation reveals the source; a story line exquisitely unfolded as if by a master chocolatier, which tickles the tongue (or mind) with each progressive line, slowly unveiling nuances never before dreamed of. This may be done with closely cropped verse or in a languid, lyrical song.

    Neal Whitman’s poem was such a one, with each line building on the preceding until the crescendo. The picture and its gravity may be guessed at line four, but line five adds the humanity and pathos of a loving mother relinquishing the blood of her blood. There could be no more heart rending moment between two souls, which are also changed forever by it. It is drawn in the simplest of prose but depicts an anguish and tenderness beyond words by the mother singing to her child even while giving him up, in hope for a better life for him.

    Neal Whitman has presented this picture matter-of-factly without sentiment, but that is precisely what brings out the full-bodied flavor and immensity of the scene, evincing the hand of a master

  2. The poem was touching.mother's love is the greatest love, is the safest love. always stay with we.