Our third installment of the Tanka series, inspired by Hisashi Nakamura.  Kerry has shared his gifts with us-in regards to translating Japanese Tanka poems into English. We are to capture a stillness. There is a lot more to this form. You can read more here and here.  For me, I think of it as taking a photo.  When you take a picture, you try to capture an image, a memory.  Sometimes you just want to freeze the moment or evoke a feeling.  I  think of this form as holding my  breath, before I push the button...  Do you see a photo in my words?!  

  I wrote my poems by feeling.  I have a major headache and didn't want to play with counting syllables or tidying my thoughts.  I liked the direction I went in and what came first into my mind. 

White clouds billow
pinned to sky's clothes line
sunlight tickles them
vexed by freeze frame thoughts
I cast my line into day.

© Ellen Wilson

Faded lace tablecloth
arches her wings into blue surrender
sunlight caresses her
their love
 threads eyes of day.

© Ellen Wilson

Invisible hands
paint Texas stars onto river
cold blue edges curl
wings of light surrender
as day's bridge appears

© Ellen Wilson



Björn said…
Little gems.. love the sky's clothesline... and the sky images... wonderfully painted
I think you captured those little moments well!
Sorry about the headache. Weather related?
Kerry O'Connor said…
These verses flow very well, driven by the thought rather than the syllable count. I especially loved the first, which is the perfect accompaniment to the artwork.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
I love the clouds "pinned to sky's clothesline" the best - and the photo of the brooding Texas skies is amazing - one of yours?
Beautiful imagery and photos. I love those old-fashioned lace tablecloths and linens. Very charming tanka! :)
Brian Miller said… threading the eye of the day...what a cool couple lines in that last one....lovely...hope the headache goes away....
i've always been a believer that the number of syllables don't matter as much as the flow and feeling of the poem. you captured the serenity of the tanka in all three verses. wonderful! i can't believe you wrote this when you had a headache! hope you're feeling better.


Outlawyer said…
Ella -- I have a headache also and couldn't deal with syllable count so very much appreciated these . All lovely. K (beautiful visuals too)
Susie Clevenger said…
They are all so beautiful...I went back to reread and choose a favorite...I couldn't. They are all wonderful!!
lovely....i think i like the first one best
Ella said…
Hi Aspiritofsimplicity! Thank you~
Yes, I can see it cast more light~ ;D

Hi Susie-Thank you so much! You are so kind!

Hi Outlawyer-Yes, the weather is causing havoc~ I hope you feel better! Mine was sinus related~
Thank you

Hi dani-I think sometimes when we are distracted by pain we focus differently. Thank you~ I did try again on my other blog! I love this form, but it is tough~ :D
You are sweet~

Brian-Thank you! I have to sew today. Daughter needs pants shortened-this explains the eye ;D
It took awhile, but I am better-thank you~

Loredana-I too love those old linens and their magic! Thank you~
You made me smile~

Hi Sherry-No, I drove through Texas when it was snowing! Bad-really bad! I think this is the Mississippi-not my pic! I just thought of the yellow rose of Texaco and the stars-let's blame that on my headache-lol! Thank you~

Kerry-Thank you! I tried again to manage form on my other blog~ It is a beautiful form!

Alex-Yes, damn it! I need some Ninjabread men to come by and cheer me up! ;D I hope you are doing well~ Thank you!

Bjorn-I wish I knew who to give credit to?! I too love the painting~ Thank you Bjorn!

Anonymous said…
all well crafted, Ella ~
Gabriella said…
Nice poems Ella! My favorites are the first two. The pictures are beautiful too.
Marian said…
why are clotheslines so evocative? love these.
Helen said…
You transcended the headache, beautifully. These tanka verses are incredibly lovely. Feel better soon.
Wanda said…
Love the quietness your words paint across my soul as I read them today. Hope you're feeling better.
Ella said…
Hi Wanda-Thank you! I am getting there-I am glad you are finding relief~

Helen-Thank you! I was craving that kind of stillness~ You are kind!

Marian-Yes, why is that?! ;D Thank you!

Gabriella-Thank you! I do think it is a lot like photography trying to snap a Tanka ;D

M-Thank you! I enjoyed yours, too~

Maalaimalar said…
Thanks for the information... I really love your blog posts... specially those on Local Tamil News
Amanda Trought said…
Ella, So simple yet effective, I sense a book coming on. Love the images! Amanda