Wednesday, June 6, 2018

One Man's Maple Moon: Night Tanka by Sheila Sondik

English Original

all my devices
plugged in for the night
I'm free to dream
of the years I had babies
and no screens to nurture

Honorable Mention, 2017 Sanford Goldstein International Tanka Contest

Sheila Sondik

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Sheila Sondik is a poet and printmaker in the Pacific Northwest. A long-time lover of haiku (and practitioner of several other Japanese and Chinese art forms), she began writing haiku and tanka in 2010. Her work has been widely published.

1 comment:

  1. In the first two lines of this unique but relatable tanka, the poet reveals a contemporary setting and also hints of children (devices plugged, or “tucked,” in). She achieves a musicality appropriate for the subject matter through a strong use of assonance (my-devices-night, free-dream-screens) and alliteration (night-no-nurture) as well as a lulling metrical pattern in much of the poem. That particular pattern is temporarily interrupted in the middle line, as a shift occurs and the poet begins to reminisce about her “babies,” contrasting them with the various “screens” that tend to feature all too prominently in our lives nowadays. Personification is a literary device we don’t see all that often in tanka, but it’s used to good effect here.

    -- excerpted from judges' commentary, which can be accessed at