Tuesday, May 29, 2018

One Man's Maple Moon: Shy Nod Tanka by Michael Dylan Welch

English Original

for your eyes only,
she says with a shy nod --
I think about this
then raise a hand to caress
her remaining breast

Selected Tanka, Gusts, 26, Fall/Winter 2017

Michael Dylan Welch

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

只是給你的眼睛看 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

只是给你的眼睛看 --

Bio Sketch

Michael Dylan Welch is vice president of the Haiku Society of America, founder of the Tanka Society of America (2000), and cofounder of Haiku North America conference (1991) and the American Haiku Archives (1996). In 2010 he also started National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo), which takes place every February, with an active Facebook page. His personal website is www.graceguts.com, which features hundreds of essays, reviews, reports, and other content, including examples of his published poetry.


  1. Michael's tanka builds, line by line, to an unexpected yet visually and emotionally powerful last line that has the most weight, effectively conveying a sense of "tenderness" (which is found "in the tendency to make one's own the feelings and mental states of another person")

  2. Below are my related haiku/tanka on breast cancer:

    sudden news
    of her breast cancer...
    I add
    one more lump of sugar
    to my morning coffee

    German Translation by Tony Böhle

    plötzlich die Nachricht
    von ihrem Brustkrebs…
    in meinen Morgenkaffee
    gebe ich
    noch einen Würfel Zucker

    Featured Poet, Einunddreissig, November 2015

    after breast surgery
    we struggle for words
    to fill the silence
    she says they’ll never sag
    as I see cut roses in a vase

    Bright Stars, II, 2014

    after surgery
    both of us said nothing...
    her red bra
    in the corner of my mind
    begins to change color

    Second Place, the 60th Pennsylvania Poetry Society Annual Contest

    first glimpse
    of her mastectomy bra
    winter rose

    Runner-Up, 2015 Fifth Vladimir Devidé Haiku Award