Friday, May 11, 2018

One Man's Maple Moon: White Orchids Tanka by Kath Abela Wilson

English Original

at the top
of a ladder
giant white orchids
just when I expected
the moon

Skylark, 5:2, Winter 2017

Kath Abela Wilson

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Kath Abela Wilson is the creator/leader of Poets on Site, Pasadena. She creates a themed online Poetry Corner week for inviting short form poets and artists. Secretary of Tanka Society of America, she is a poet, artist, dancer, percussionist, and world traveler with her mathematics professor  husband.


  1. Kath employs a centuries-old Japanese poetic device, “mitate” (taking one thing for another), to depict "giant white orchids" in a fresh way. And her tanka reminds me of the interesting title of Georgia O'Keeffe's 1958 painting, "Ladder to the Moon."

  2. Thank you so much Chen-ou Liu. I appreciate your choice and beautiful comment on my tanka! I did not know the word "mitate" so in addition I have learned this word--for something that seems natural to my mind, which is probably how this technique developed... Also in being inspired, a friend poet gave my friend Lois P. Jones a ladder trellised orchid plant as a gift celebrating her new book of poems "Night Ladder". We were having a launch in our home for her book. Lois could not keep it in her home so she left it to me. The orchids bloomed very high on a tall stem, and bigger than one would expect! By coincidence just today I snipped the dried stem on top with drooped orchids, much smaller by now, than one would expect, and made a tiny bonsai arrangement with it! Also I visited the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe during the last HNA. I fell in love with her work even more than before. The tanka was written before I went there, but I so love that painting and when I looked at it today, I could in my mind see an invisible stem that had climbed the ladder to the moon. It is SO like the tanka. Your comments are very rich and valuable, this is all precious to me, Chen-ou Liu.