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Aleksandra

TANKA CHALLENGE

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Lake
leaving without words

you erased tomorrow

such finality!

even in dreams we meet

without words

 

 

goldenlangur

 

 

This one conveys a strong feeling, very piercing - you erased tomorrow, is so fatal and brings the third line such finality!into place, which serves as a pivot that can be read as the end of the first part and the start of the second part, like:

 

leaving without words

you erased tomorrow

such finality!

 

such finality!

even in dreams we meet

without words

 

And the lines, we meet/without words and leaving without words echo each other, sound even more stabbing.

 

Great tanka.

 

Lake

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goldenlangur

Hi Lake,

 

I'm really enjoying our discussion on this thread:

 

Lake wrote:

 

I'll keep "
tanka allows more lyrical details; the tanka form allows such exploration of feelings
" in mind when I write tanka. This is one difference between tanka and haiku I've just learned besides the number of lines. Thank you for this.

 

Best,

 

Lake

 

The difference you've noted between the tanka and haiku theme is perhaps rooted in their different origins - the tanka began 1300 years ago as 'song' and was popular with the ladies of the Japanese court. So it has always carried lyrical descriptions and been imbued with feelings and emotions - sadnessof departing lovers, separation, longings. But in the different periods of Japanese history, the tanka did acquire other themes. For instance, Samurai warriors, often used this form to evoke the 'pity of war' - the long marches, suffering and separation, betrayal and the fatigue of battles during the endless civil war period. And later in the 19th century, the tanka took on other themes - a long story for now!

 

Basho (1644-1694) took the earlier form of haiku and developed it into the form we now know. He based the haiku on Taoist symbolism and the Zen practice and hence the emphasis on sparseness of details in the haiku.

 

I found that the different origins help one to orientate one's writing.

 

I'm so glad that this time I got your intent right - but it is a hit and miss case - the reader does not know what the poet knows, to to speak! And you second tanka spoke to the heart.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Sorry Lake! I don't know quite how the lines i the last post configured the way they did. But I'm pressed for time now and will try later to edit it.

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Hi Lake,

 

I like very much how you've used the pivot in your reading of this tanka. You're spot-on about this vital part of the tanka form. Using the pivot to test if the tanka reads as 2 whole poems is a good way to guage if a tanka works.

 

I still wonder if the final 2 lines in this tanka can be improved - the eternal internal critic/editor syndrome from which I suffer no end icon_smile.gif But I'm very grateful for the trouble you've taken to try and understand, what you so well describe as the

stabbing

effect in this piece.

 

 

Thank you very much.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Lake wrote:

 

Aleksandra,

 

Glad to read your tanka. I find in your tanka a strong emotion as that in your other poems. If mine has a classic feel ( hard to write something new and fresh) as Golden commented, I think yours is contemporary.

 

One thing I'm not quite sure about your first tanka is the connection between "frostbite" and "a hole in the ice." There might be something obvious that I've missed. If that's the case, please let me know.

 

Your second one, the more I read it, the more I feel it. Very powerful.

 

I'm not an expert in this form, so I'll leave the technicality part to Golden.

icon_smile.gif

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Lake

 

Thank you Lake for your wonderful words. I am glad you liked my first tanka poems. In the first one the connection between "frostbite" and "a hole in the ice ", by my opinion is: the frostbite - like one imagery, and the a hole in the ice - as a detail for connection to the mirror imagery in the next line. As always, the big problem for me is making sense with my writing in English language. But I am trying.

 

The second one yes, is more sensitive?!

 

Thank you for your lovely comment

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Aleksandra

goldenlangur wrote:How wonderful to read your tanka or two Aleksandra
icon_biggrin.png

 

Your first tanka has a lovely tender tone and your image of the
ice

mirroring the person is beautiful!

 

Like you I often translate from my language into English and find feedback about what works/does not work most helpful. So in this spirit, I hope you won't mind my pointing out a few minor points?

 

In the first line perhaps you might need to add another detail to
frostbite

to suggests a frost covered landscape ? Absolutely love
the hole in the ice

- its concrete, vivid and so clear! In tanka we don't use periods (.) at the end of lines because the tanka like the haiku, is read in a single breath. The idea of 'mirror' in the third line is linked very well to your last two lines and the first two lines. But it reads a little abrupt. But I think you're trying to get that caesura effect which tanka like the haiku, also follows. I admire how closely you observe and adopt these nuaced aspects of the form.

But we have 3 fragments (
frostbite

and
mirror

and
a hole in the ice

) giving that caesura effect in your tanka which disrupts the flow of your tanka. So perhaps here, we could rework a little so as not to lose the fabulous final two lines of your tanka.

 

Something like this?:

 

frost covered lake

a hole in the ice.

I see

a reflection of you

lost in memory

 

 

Or:

 

November frost

a hole in the ice

I see

your face

lost in memory

 

(In this version the 'reflection' is implied and the reader comes to it from your images.)

 

Or:

 

frost on the field

a hole in the ice

I see

you

lost in memory

 

(In this one the poet could be imagining the face of the person - moreopen to interpretation)

 

As ever, Aleksandra please do feel free to accept or reject my suggestions. Above all be true to what you really want to say and use the form - me thinks the tank is eminently suitable to your kind of themes.

 

 

goldenlangur

 

Goldenlangur, how wonderful from you working on my first tries in the tanka world.

I agree with your suggestions, just I want to ask you, because I think that there is no rule for using or not using of periods. I have seen that in some books for haiku poetry. I am not sure, but also I saw in your suggestion for my first poem. But I agree that the haiku or tanka sounds better without periods, when we read in one single breath.

Let me ask you this now. First of all I liked the most your first idea for my first tanka:

 

frost covered lake

a hole in the ice.

I see

a reflection of you

lost in memory

 

But my question is it wrong if we use something lyrical here, or anyway in tanka poems. For example:

 

frost covered heart

a hole in the ice.

I see

a reflection of you

lost in memory

 

I think as you said in my haiku poems in the challenge, as I understood there, these kinds of poetry should be more clear and strong less lyrical? I am asking because of the reason that my taste is more .. icon_biggrin.png But yes I want to write once a good haiku or tanka. So thats why your words are most appreciated GL.

 

Thank you so much.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Aleksandra

goldenlangur wrote:Hello again Aleksandra,

 

Another beautiful write with a classic (intrinsic) sense and spirit of the tanka form. To bring out the full potential of your tanka I hope you won't mind my slight reworking of the lines?:

 

my crumpled heart chokes

devoid of any warmth

in the night,

with this naked body and face

how I long for my my soul

 

I've enjoyed reading your tanka and hope you won't be put off by my playing around. You're truly on the way of a great tanka journey
icon_smile.gif

 

 

goldenlangur

 

Is it ok if we move the word how in L5? icon_smile.gif

 

my crumpled heart chokes

devoid of any warmth

in the night,

with this naked body and face

I long for my my soul

 

GL you are so nice. You make me smile with your saying that I am on the way of a great tanka journey icon_biggrin.png. I hope so icon_biggrin.png. But definitely, I should try more and more. Good tanka writer can't be good with only 2 poems, icon_biggrin.png right? icon_biggrin.png I know that so thats why I will work much more. I promise icon_wink.gif.

 

Thank you my friend. And sorry I took forever to come back here on this thread, I am somehow busy around, so I couldn't work on this earlier.

 

Thanks again. I respect your efforts with helping us here a lot.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hello again,

 

Very interesting points you raise here:

 

I agree with your suggestions, just I want to ask you, because I think that there is no rule for using or not using of periods. I have seen that in some books for haiku poetry. I am not sure, but also I saw in your suggestion for my first poem. But I agree that the haiku or tanka sounds better without periods, when we read in one single breath.

 

From what little I know of the haiku and the tanka forms, the reason the period is not used is because these forms are supposed to be fragmentary in nature -emotions/thoughts arising from concrete images at a particular moment (haiku). In tanka the fragmentary aspect gives it that longing-beyond-words quality.

 

And yes, absolutely, tanka allows for more lyrical descriptions. Here, I could be wrong, I read the lyrical detail in your tanka to be the haunting second part:

 

I see

a reflection of you

lost in memory

 

I'm not sure how frost covered heart works with hole in the ice to suggest the reflection of you?

 

 

Wonderful to have these discussions and please do feel free to ignore my reading and suggestions. I feel you have the spirit of the tanka form and I hope you will experiment more and come to write in a way that is satisfactory for you.

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Here we are continuing our tanka discussions - very enriching. icon_smile.gif

 

Absolutely, yes, Aleksandra. After all as the poet, you alone can judge what you truly want to say/intend:

 

Is it ok if we move the word
how
in L5?
icon_smile.gif

 

my crumpled heart chokes

devoid of any warmth

in the night,

with this naked body and face

I long for my my soul

 

 

You're always so kind about my efforts in the forum. I appreciate this very much but would like to say that my reading and suggestion are only my opinion. I offer it with the understanding that you are most welcome to ignore it.

 

I've enjoyed this thread and our discussions icon_smile.gif

 

 

Hope you will definitely try some more!

 

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

reading

the email again

I realize

you signed your full name

after all these years

 

 

the plum tree

we planted bears no fruit

after all these years

I still ask

why you left?

 

 

you left

question marks

not only

in this poetry book

but in dreams

 

 

in dreams

the moon is always waxing

never full

these old chest of drawers

without your clothes

 

Or?:

 

in dreams

the moon is always waxing

never full

these old chest of drawers

with just my clothes

 

 

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Thank you Goldenlangur for your help around. I like when we have discussions like this one. Sharing thoughts is one of the worthier way of learning. I haven't ignore any reading, so I will less ignore yours. Your thoughts are always meaningful and helpful for me. Sometimes I know to give hard time, not because I don't want to hear suggestion, but because I want to learn why is something wrong and where I am doing wrong. I want to learn icon_smile.gif. I have little theoretical knowledge about this field, poetry generally. I am writing because I feel the poem in me, and I read with feelings too. So any help is appreciated.

 

Thank you my friend.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Aleksandra

goldenlangur wrote:

 

reading

the email again

I realize

you signed your full name

after all these years

 

 

the plum tree

we planted bears no fruit

after all these years

I still ask

why you left?

 

 

you left

question marks

not only

in this poetry book

but in dreams

 

 

in dreams

the moon is always waxing

never full

these old chest of drawers

without your clothes

 

Or?:

 

in dreams

the moon is always waxing

never full

these old chest of drawers

with just my clothes

 

goldenlangur

 

Hello Goldenlangur. Your tanka always looks good.

 

The first tanka is very modern. The realizing after observation is expressed and works well.

Your second tanka is amazing. Very deep and melancholic. The L1 there is very interesting written, and I think exactly the second lines in tanka asks more attention and they are the key of the tanka. Am I right? ( you see I am starting to learn icon_smile.gif ).

The third one is more philosophical. I love that simple note about question marks, gives a good tone, what makes the poem simple but very clever.

In the last one, I like it more firs version, where you use: without your clothes. I don't know why, but sounds to me less complicated, more clear, like the first lines are. I like this tanka also, because of the beautiful imageries what you use in here.

 

Much enjoyed with reading your tanka poems GL

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hello again,

 

 

Just to say that these discussions with you are very interesting and also thought-provoking:

Aleksandra wrote:

 

Sometimes I know to give hard time, not because I don't want to hear suggestion, but because I want to learn why is something wrong and where I am doing wrong. I want to learn
icon_smile.gif
. I have little theoretical knowledge about this field, poetry generally. I am writing because I feel the poem in me, and I read with feelings too. So any help is appreciated.

 

Aleksandra

 

I'm happy to engage in such exchanges. But I wish I knew how to make clear, coherent exegesis rather that bits and pieces about the tanka and haiku forms. For what it's worth I believe that suggestions are only just that, suggestions, the poet knows best what works for her/him.

 

Writing and reading with feeling is what enables one to cross boundaries, be it of form, images, thoughts etc. Cannot think of a more commendable way of relating to poetry icon_smile.gif

 

As for learning about poetry, that is something I too share as I began writing with prose and strayed into poetry and have much, much to learn.

 

 

So thank you for sharing your thoughts.

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Hello Aleksandra,

 

Thank you for reading and your interpretation is wonderfully observed and engaging.

 

Here you raise an important point about the tanka:

 

Your second tanka
... I think exactly the second lines in tanka asks more attention and they are the key of the tanka. Am I right? ( you see I am starting to learn
icon_smile.gif
).

 

One of the most accomplished Japanese tanka wrtier, Yosano Akiko (1878-1942) said this about the tanka:

 

'...it is a poem with a middle only; its beginning lies in the poet's actual experience, and its end, if any, has to be sought in the reader's mind...'

 

Therefore, yes certainly you do have feel of the fundamental sense of the tanka. Although I would say, that perhaps the line after all these years is the pivot/key. But you do understand so well the essence of the tanka form.

 

If I may add Akiko's eloquent exposition also underlines what I was trying to say about the tanka being fragmentary in nature and therefore not using periods and also capital letters.

 

 

So glad that the simple note in the third tanka came across for you.

 

And yes, in the last tanka, the line without your clothes is more concise, which tanka requires.

 

 

Thank you once again for all these ideas and thoughts - much, much enjoyed.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

goldenlangur wrote:

 

Therefore, yes certainly you do have
feel
of the fundamental sense of the tanka. Although I would say, that perhaps the line
after all these years
is the pivot/key. But you do understand so well the essence of the tanka form.

 

 

Definitely I feel more than I understand the essence of the tanka form icon_smile.gif.

Gl I am very thankful for opening this world of Japanese forms in our board, you make that to be more popular and active here, with your sharing of your own wonderful work and efforts.

Also I found very interesting the name of Yosano Akiko. I google it, and I found her job very nice. Especially my attention went to her collection of tanka poems: " Midaregami " (Tangled Hair) . I read some of the tanka poems, and I see how wonderful are her tanka poems. I would like to read more from her job.

 

goldenlangur wrote:

 

If I may add Akiko's eloquent exposition also underlines what I was trying to say about the tanka being fragmentary in nature and therefore not using periods and also capital letters.

 

About capital letters, in some of Akiko's tanka poems, I noticed that most of the first letters in a lines are big letters. I was reading here.

 

By the way my friend, I found something very interesting link, where explains some interesting points about the differences between tanka and haiku. So I am posting here to be seen, I hope it helps, and of course we can see if we agree with that:

 

TANKA VS. HAIKU

 

SIMILARITIES

 

TANKA ----------------------------------HAIKU

 

simplicity

 

succinct

 

reflects nature

 

traditionally no violence

 

traditionally no war images

 

COMPARISONS

 

TANKA--------------------------HAIKU

 

History

 

13 centuries-----------------------3 centuries

 

Aim

 

beauty-----------------------------is-ness

 

Length

 

31 onji / syllables -----------------17 onji/syllables

 

Traits

 

feminine ---------------------------masculine

 

lyrical-------------------------------fragmented

 

Social Background

 

courtly ----------------------------merchants and lower class

 

literary-----------------------------part of a game

 

Techniques

 

to savor beauty --------------------to open the heart

 

contemplation----------------------quick and direct

 

emotional ---------------------------aim to have no emotion

 

uses imagination--------------------senses with concrete images

 

written to assigned themes -------based on an experience

 

five parts/five images --------------three images - max.

 

exclusion of the ugly ---------------write beautifully of the common

 

written to be a chanted song ------spoken crisply

 

Zen

 

use of symbolic images -------------use of Zen subjects

 

Satire Forms

 

Kyoka /mad poem--satirical -------senryu

 

Language

 

traditional uses a limited ------------speaks of common things

 

accepted vocabulary of images -----with common language

 

that are agreed to be elegant --------to reveal uncommon ideas

 

Method

 

holds a mirror reflecting -------------just as it is

 

nature and humanity ------------------also

 

 

 

This is taken from this LINK, with many other things about tanka.

 

As much I am reading more about this poetry, I like these forms more and more. I enjoy a lot.

 

Thanks GL for your collaboration in this thread.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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goldenlangur

Hi Aleksandra,

 

 

Don't quite know what to say to your generous compliments about my tanka efforts. icon_redface.gif

 

So, so glad that you discovered Akiko. She took tanka to another level by exploring female sexuality and feelings with an openness that shocked and then thrilled her contemporaries. In more ways than one, she symbolizes how the form ( a poetic form) grows and changes with the times. And therefore yes, we can find numerous haiku and tanka writers who do not observe the upper case and punctuation rule while writing/translating in English. But an equal number who do.

 

For what it's worth, for me personally, the fragmentary aspect of the tanka is what distinguishes it from another form say, the Sedoka, the Sijo or even the haibun and therefore if this aspect is taken away, then we have a 5 line poem, but not necessarily a tanka. This is my take on of this form. But tanka is a kind of journey and each person comes to find out what works for her/him.

 

 

 

Thank you for the additional information on the two forms. So much to read, write and discover icon_smile.gif

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Definitely tanka is a kind of journey GL.

I love reading tanka poems. Thats why I admire on your work, because you have much to show.

Glad that you found interesting the informations. I like discovering about these forms a lot.

 

Thank you for your kind comment

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

hi goldenlangur and aleks,

 

i enjoyed your conversation on tankas very much. i learned a lot. thanks for the stimulating conversation.

 

victor


Larsen M. Callirhoe

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rumisong

goldenlangur wrote:

 

the reader does not know what the poet knows, to to speak!

 

this is a smile... its true, and its also "so to speak" semi-true!

I love the thought that arrived when I read this icon_smile.gif

 

gl, can I ask, are you from Bhutan? that area of the world? I just looked to see that the Golden Langur indeed comes from that area too!

 

if my question is inappropriate, Ill not feel the slightest bit insulted to be told so- its a funny thing with me- and Ive yet to get a full understanding of this within myself- but I just LOVE knowing "Where" in the world people are, and where they are from, when Im reading what theyve written.. "Place" is such a big thing for me- so thats what enboldens me to ask, but it doesnt mean people should feel obliged to answer icon_wink.gif

 

Im still reading through this thread - more to go ...

 

edit: ah, I see this is so- I could have used the search function first!

 

edit 2:

"...it is a poem with a middle only; its beginning lies in the poet's actual experience, and its end, if any, has to be sought in the reader's mind..."

 

ah, yes- see, this mirrors the very thing I saw when I read your "so to speak" line!

very fun!

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goldenlangur

Hi vic,

 

How good to see you around and thank you for your encouraging comment. We're indeed having a great exchange of ideas here.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Hello again rumisong,

 

 

I like your thoughts here:

 

this is a smile... its true, and its also "so to speak" semi-true!

I love the thought that arrived when I read this
icon_smile.gif

 

Would you say that the reader perceives things differently from the poet's intention? Or can one really come to see what the poet sees?

 

I can well appreciate why a

place

has a resonance for you as a reader icon_smile.gif

 

Please don't apologize about asking - I'm indeed from the tiny kingdom of Bhutan.

 

Your location brings to mind writers like Thoreau, Emerson and Wharton, who celebrated the beauty and colors of the area in their work.

 

I hope you will experiment with the tanka.

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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rumisong

goldenlangur wrote:

 

I like your thoughts here:

 
this is a smile... its true, and its also "so to speak" semi-true!

I love the thought that arrived when I read this
icon_smile.gif

 

Would you say that the reader perceives things differently from the poet's intention? Or can one really come to see what the poet sees?

 

to me, it can either be as a clash of cymbals, or as delicate as the sunlight's first morning-meeting with dew, but it is in the "meeting", where is the Art...

 

the artist meets the seeing

the seeing meets the silence

the silence meets the pen

the pen meets the page

the page meets the reader

the reader meets the mind

the mind meets the seeing

the seeing meets the artist

 

who was the artist here?

was it the seer?

was it the reader?

was it the pen?

 

it was in the meeting- all meeting in one place! this is the art!- at the death of anyone called "artist", does the art come into being...

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rumisong

this ones been sitting there for the last 40 minutes, asking if it wants to be reworked, or just thrown up here as is, as my first tanka...

 

Im impatient with its asking this already icon_biggrin.png

 


  •  
      • speaking in low tones
        care lent to every word published
        the prisoner tells
        of these wrongs, perpetrated
        not to be misunderstood

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goldenlangur

How eloquently put rumisong!

 

 

I suppose the art is then in that moment of meeting of minds/hearts and what this engenders is something that is beyond the artist and the reader/spectator/recipient.

 

 

Your eloquent ruminations here have given us much to mull over.

 

 

Thank you.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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goldenlangur

Hello rumisong,

 

 

For a first tanka this is quite a complex piece and I admire the panache with which you've handled the form.

 

I hope you won't be offended by the nit pick here - The first half of the tanka flows as one but the final line in the second half:

not to be misunderstood

does not quite link with what has gone before it. If one were to take the pivot line:

 

the prisoner tells

 

then the question would be what does the prisoner tell? And your L4 answers that but L5 is at a tangent to the pivot line. If one were to write:

 

the prisoner tells

of these wrongs perpetrated

and misunderstandings

 

then the second half of the tanka works with the pivot. But in tanka we need a final line that haunts, is open-ended and has sonority. Would you consider bringing out this concept of misunderstanding, carrying within it injustice and perhaps torture etc - hints at a great deal of emotional and psychological possibilites?

 

 

But do please feel free to ignore my suggestion as I could well have got your intention wrong.

 

 

But an inpressive first attempt and I hope you won't be put off at writing more tanka.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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