A Hundred Gourds 2:1 December 2012
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Eiko Yachimoto - Japan

Tanka or Haiku

queer May darkness--
golden ring frames the moon
in each puddle too

The solar eclipse occurred on May 21. A few days later, an e-mail from a friend in London touched on the topic of Hortensia. She thought I already knew. No, I didn't.

My renku pal passed away on the day...
Devastated I wrote:

sweet Hortensia, look
a ball of hydrangea buds
shedding pale raindrops

A week or so later I was invited to take part in a haiku contest to commemorate my friend. I entered three "haiku" including the one above:

Sacred May--
I see my friend on the road
to eternity

thunderous afternoon--
my friend must be bidding
her strong farewell wish

Weeks passed. Yesterday I suddenly realized the first one was not a haiku but a tanka:

ajisai to (5) iu na no tomo no(7) yukishi hi yo (5)
tsubomi no tama ni (7) ame namida iro (7)

As a vessel for my immediate feeling a tanka must have overtaken me... And my second one, the Sacred May, looks as though it is an OK haiku. Doesn't haiku come at the moment when reason and emotion, each breathing in a good distance from each other, blend into one?

seigogatsu (5) ryougin no tomo (7) tabidachinu (5)
raimei no(5) kokoni fuhoo no (7) sadamareri(5)

Hortensia liked analysis...


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