Sunday, May 11, 2014

One Man's Maple Moon: Mother's Day Tanka by Rita Odeh

English Original

Mother's Day --
although I know she's gone,
I knock
and wait for the distant
mountain to grow green

VerseWrights, April 13,  2014

Rita Odeh

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

母親節 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

母亲节 --

Bio Sketch

Rita Odeh is from Nazareth, Israel. She comes from a christian Palestinian family. She has B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Haifa University. She has published 6 books of poetry, one book of short stories, three electronic novels, and one e-book of haiku. Her poetry has been published in several international publications, and she started writing tanka in March, 2014. Rita is Co-Editor of International Haiku. Her haiku and haiga artwork are featured in her "Catching The Moment" blog.


  1. The upper verse sets the thematic context while the lower verse reveals more of the speaker's process of mourning than of wishing for a change of seasons (as indicated in L5).

    Ls 4&5 work well as a natural scene and a mental image.

    Emotionally speaking, This tanka reminds me of the following poem, tanka 53, Part IV of the rensaku, "Shinitamau Haba" ("My Mother Is Dying"), a sequence of 59 tanka structured into four parts by Saito Mokichi:

    the magnolia blossoms
    seen from afar
    open cascading
    down the mountainside --
    how pale they are!

  2. The opening line also functions as a seasonal reference (spring); therefore, The mountain is supposed to be green or at least greeny. Read in the emotive context of the poem. the "distant" mountain to grow "green" is more about the description of a mental reality.

    In Saito Mokich's tanka about blooming magnolias whose most common colors are pink and white/cream-colored, L5, how "pale" they are!, reveals more of the implied speaker's state of mind than of the color of magnolias.

  3. Many thanks, Chen-ou Liu, for accepting my first ever written tanka and for your exceptional feedback which added flavor to my poem. I was honored to have this tanka included in the Skylark's Gallery.

    1. Hi! Rita:

      Thanks for sharing this good news.

      And look forward to reading more of your new tanka.