Lost and Translation

I found these poems sandwiched between the pages of The Hand of the Poet: Poems and Papers in Manuscript, a beautiful volume of drafts and redrafts from poets like Julia Alvarez and Philip Levine, Robert Frost and Allen Ginsberg. At the time, I knew this would be an appropriate place for this little copied and folded mini manuscript. Luckily, I found it again.

The tanka was published years ago in Modern English Tanka, and I can’t remember how my little cricket song was translated into Russian, or how I came across Jefi-Jun’s version. Lost, then found. translation tanka

Five lines

Years ago, when I fell into what is sometimes referred to as “writer’s block,” I found an outlet in haiku, tanka, cinquain, and other short form poems. I made a pledge to myself to write three lines a day, sometimes five. I was able to keep it up for over a year, until the file folder, neatly titled “haiku a day” was inadvertently sucked into the cyber trash.

I’ve been in a little bit of a rut lately, so here is day 1 of the new “five lines a day” folder.

 
no mind for words, no
sink hole to burrow or free
unforgivable limbs
from pen caps whose plastic scratches
leave no trace of helpful blood

poem in your pocket

Four Tankas

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The moon’s fingernail
scrapes a far away gazer’s
thoughts, breaking open
her mind, freeing a thousand
love songs stoked with lunar dust.

East-blowing storms coil
above night’s descending
horizon. Stars pop
from showering brushstrokes
across blue lingering breath.

I pledge to read each
day’s oncoming slaughter
as a penniless
dark spur opening beneath
a cataclysm of daisies.

As the final gasp
of a humid day wheezes
into dusk, a breeze
tickles with its feather tongue,
hinting at evening’s reprieve.