Archive for the Tanka Category

Onions

Posted in Haibun, Haiku, Tanka with tags , on May 27, 2019 by Branko

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The Onion Field …………………………………………. by Dimitar Anakiev
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If you happen to be walking in the northern part of Kyoto, known as Kitayama, you may notice near the Botanical Gardens a middle-aged man watching over an onion field located right beside his house. His name is Branko Manojlovic, a Serbian poet who has been living in Kyoto for quite some time now. Although the onion is an essential part of Serbian culture – I can’t recall a dish that has no onions in it – these were planted not by Branko but by a nameless neighbour. Two years have already passed since the planting, yet the onion is still unharvested.

I, too, was taken with this field. During my stay in Branko’s house, I watched it every day from the window of my room: a field that through its very existence seemed to hint at something that, although not obvious, was at the same time significant.
Looking out of the window – the onion field still wet after rain – I wrote a haiku:

In its second year
onion languishing – who will
come and harvest it?

At breakfast, Branko looked moody and with dark bags under his eyes from lack of sleep. As I was stirring my tea with a questioning expression he swigged his coffee in a hurry and, before going off to work, handed me a folded piece of paper: “Last night’s haiku”, he said. After he left I opened the paper, it read:

Unable to get back
to sleep… the onion field
lashed by storm

I noticed that Branko had a special relationship with the onion field, but we did not discuss it. One afternoon I noticed him pacing about the field as though looking over each stem, each green leaf that was pointing toward the sky. The following morning, I got another piece of paper that read:

A group photograph:
we are the onions
hanging under eaves

I myself wrote haiku on the subject of onions, which seemed to have dominated our thoughts and emotions. On the other side of the street, where the bus no. 4 was passing, I noticed a small Shinto shrine set there perhaps because of some superstitious belief. Like some Christian chapels, such shrines would often have been established by local people, and this particular one was leaning against a neighbour’s house.
When I was leaving Kyoto, I left Branko this haiku:

In Kitayama
the onion field watched over
by some Shinto god

I do not know if this field still exists today. If by chance it does, I’ll bet Branko is keeping an eye on it.

 

 

Onions …………………………………………………………. by Branko

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Out of snow
green tails of onion stalks
slicing the wind

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How past repair
this aging onion field…
how the umbels
still hold on for bees
and swooping swallows!

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By the field’s edge
he glances left and right,
uproots an onion,
stuffs it in the plastic bag
together with his conscience

Persimmons – part 4

Posted in Autumn, Japanese Classic, Tanka with tags , on April 25, 2018 by sosui

. At this point I should like to turn to the subject of how persimmon was treated in literature. Persimmon seeds have been dug up from some archaeological sites of the Jomon period. So I believe that persimmon trees must have existed in Japan long before the Man’yo period, yet the Man’yoshu has no poems about persimmons. Judging from his name, the poet Kakinomoto Hitomaro (柿本人麻呂, fl. ca. 680 during the reign of Emperor Tenmu), lived in a house standing beneath a persimmon tree. But he is silent about his persimmon tree. In the Kamakura period, Fujiwara no Tame’ie (藤原為家, 1198~1275) wrote the following poem:
……………………………… Autumn has arrived.
……………………………… I wonder about the leaves
……………………………… On higher mountains.
……………………………… Our garden persimmon trees
……………………………… Display deeply coloured leaves
. I like this poem because the poet expresses his concern for the leaves in the high mountains. He is wondering whether they have taken on their autumn hues like the persimmon trees in his garden, or whether they have already been scattered by the wind. Probably the latter was the case, and if so, he may have been equally concerned about the persimmon trees in his garden. In the Edo period, Ozawa Roan (1723~1801), who stood for tadagoto-uta (honest poetry), wrote the following poem about persimmons:
……………………………… Chestnuts are smiling.
……………………………… Persimmons are getting red.
……………………………… It is indeed time
……………………………… For short-haired children to be
……………………………… Proud, and enjoy the season.
. This poem is so cheerful that I cannot help laughing with the poet.

(To be continued…)

from the Icebox inbox – 35

Posted in Haiku, Spring, Submissions, Tanka on May 30, 2015 by Hisashi Miyazaki

zoo visit…
after the downpour
a rainbow of macaws

……. (Grace Galton)

spring morning
how i fiddle with piano keys
missing her caress

……. (Payal Aggarwal)

indulgent mother
cow licking her calf
till he shines

……. (Joyce Joslin Lorenson)

Waiting for summer
The ice and snow are melted
But tempestuous storms
Wreak havoc
And I pine alone.

……. (Jane Wieman, Madison, Wisconsin)

from the Icebox inbox – 34

Posted in Haiku, Submissions, Tanka, Winter on February 19, 2015 by Tito

gleaming coals burn to ash –
the day begins
as a new slate

Brinda Buljore, France

early morning
uneven feet zig-zag
along the icefield

Payal Aggarwal, India

grey clouds
cover the tiny village …
trickling snowflakes

Keith A Simmonds, France

long-tailed tits
gathering in the hawthorn
first flurries of snow

John Hawkhead, U.K.

true “sky blue”
beyond bare branches …
the scrape, scrape, scrape
of a shovel
clearing away snow

Jane Wieman, Wisconsin

lingering cold –
through the shōji
the cry of a crow

Lawrence Jiko Barrow, Japan

Between two lights

Posted in Tanka, Travel with tags on March 24, 2014 by Tito

IMG_0521b-.

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.Halt and yield
.. At the path that leads
…. Along the chalky downs
…… From red sun
…….. To risen moon

(Hackhurst Downs, Surrey, 15.3.14)

photo: Kazue Gill (click on it to see the full moon at extreme left)

For Duro Jaiye

Posted in Summer, Tanka with tags on June 21, 2013 by Tito

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Through this screen
…… of June rain
……… wondering:
………… Is Duro Jaiye out there
…………… in the Singapore smog?

from the Icebox inbox – 29

Posted in Haiku, Submissions, Tanka on June 7, 2013 by Tito

inchworm ~
little by little
the lengthening day

…… (Michael Henry Lee)

Too soft their voices
for me to hear the words
of next-door neighbors
this night of the Full Worm Moon

…… (Jane Wieman)

At the bend
A hundred fresh trees –
Spring

…… (Kanchan Chatterjee)

Across my heart
the night worm scribbles hours
ink pours from the moon

…… (Jane Fenton Keane)