Friday, June 15, 2018

One Man's Maple Moon: Map Tanka by Rajani Radhakrishnan

English Original

migratory birds
make a note
on their map
a new tent city
shrinking the desert

Rajani Radhakrishnan

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Rajani Radhakrishnan is from Bangalore, India.  Finding time and renewed enthusiasm for poetry after a long career in Financial Applications, she blogs at . Her poems have recently appeared in The Lake, Quiet Letter, Under the Basho and The Cherita.

1 comment:

  1. The contrasts (regular seasonal vs forced; biological evolution vs natural or human-caused disasters ...) between the two types of migration (bird vs human) portrayed in the tanka with a pivot are sociopolitically significant and emotionally poignant, and on second reading, the "shrinking desert" successfully carries geopolitical and environmental significance.

    This timely and sociopolitically conscious tanka reminds me of what's going on in Jordan's desert city for Syrian refugees and one of my haibun about this heart-wrenching topic:

    "A Home Away from Home"

    where the sky
    meets the winter desert ...
    refugee tents

    Arzu walks out of the tent to meet her friends, waiting in line with hundreds of others for water distribution. A wisp of cloud drifts by. It reminds her of the camp teacher's departing words, "Those puffy, sheep-like clouds you're looking at come from Syria. You will all return home one day, I promise."

    Honorable Mention, 2015 United Haiku and Tanka Society Samurai Haibun Contest

    Chen-ou Liu

    Note: Below is excerpted from the judge's comment by Sonam Chhoki:

    Amidst unceasing news of overwhelming number of people fleeing the conflict-torn regions in the Middle East, Chen-ou Liu’s Honorable Mention haibun is both timely and compassionate in his presentation of a young girl’s plight. The poet’s imagery of a ‘wisp of cloud’ is laden with significance. It evokes poignantly the fragility of Arzu’s hope for a safe return to her native land and also works as a ‘beacon’ of light in the otherwise drab and desperate tents-filled camp. What I find particularly powerful is how Chen-ou turns on its head, the largely negative media representations of how refugees threaten the civilizations of the host countries in which they seek asylum. There is quiet dignity in both Arzu and her teacher who holds out the promise of a return to their homeland.