Saturday, July 24, 2021

One Man's Maple Moon: Leaf Mulch Tanka by Carole MacRury

English Original

a light rain
upon leaf mulch --
an old grief
mingles with the scent
of late autumn

Simply Haiku, 7:2,  Summer 2009

Carole MacRury 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

落在護根樹葉堆 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

落在护根树叶堆 --

Bio Sketch

Carole MacRury resides in Point Roberts, Washington, a unique peninsula and border town that inspires her work.  She is the author of In the Company of Crows: Haiku and Tanka Between the Tides (Black Cat Press, 2008, 2nd Printing, 2018) and The Tang of Nasturtiums, an award-winning e-chapbook (Snapshot Press 2012).  


  1. In terms of dealing with loss(es0, implied contrasts are successfully established between the trees/plants in the garden/front lawn in Ls 1&2, a synecdoche for Nature and the Narrator/human being, in L3. The purpose of leaf mulch and the mingling of grief and the scent of late autumn enhance the thematic significance and psychological depth of this soulful tanka.

    FYI: "Leaf mulch is a layer of shredded leaves that is applied to the surface of the soil. ... Simply spread around and over plants to insulate and enrich your garden's soil. They're another conventional method of maintaining soil moisture, and the coverage they provide can suppress weeds."

    1. Carole's fine tanka reminds me of the following remarks:

      The leaf does not grasp or grieve its last day.

      -- Brian Zimmer, prologue, "Spring's First Caress: Tanka by Brian Zimmer," accessed at

      And the first half of my haibun below:

      "At the Gun-Mouth of Time"

      Being here. Sitting at my desk. I see the maple tree in the front yard. It has lost all of its leaves, simply relinquishing the riches of the season without any grief; it lets go and goes deep into its roots for sleep and renewal for the upcoming year.

      the sun setting
      last photo of my youth
      amid morning-glories

      Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to reinvent one's self in middle age. Can I control resentment and regrets, master a new language, and express my thoughts and emotions fully in a borrowed tongue? If I can't, I will gradually lose who I was, become uncertain -- insecure about who I am and what I am going to do for the rest of my life.

      first snowfall…
      my borrowed tongue
      searching for words

      Does anything in nature despair besides man? Does a wounded animal with one foot caught in a trap despair? Or it is just too busy trying to survive, closed in on itself to a kind of still, intense, and seemingly endless waiting.

      a lone star
      in the moonless sky --
      one howl, then many

      Zen masters proclaim that is it possible to live a life moment by moment, taking notice of the change in each instant.

      flake after flake
      falls atop one another…
      day’s end

      Chrysanthemum, 10, 2011

  2. Thank you so much Chen-ou for this astute commentary on my poem, and delighted to see it translated into Chinese!

  3. A beautiful haibun Chen-ou.