When and if the lyric poem approaches the beauty of a fresh blossom, we are in the presence of a master craftswoman.
When it comes to the tanka form, Margaret Chula is that.
There is a deep richness in the finest of poems in this new collection, Just This, by Margaret Chula, a plumbing of the dark fertile soil of emotional depths fully, sensually experienced, with a delicacy as breathtaking as it is powerful.
every leaf, weed, blossom
curves to the sun
my shears straddle
the dark place
Always, there is a closeness to nature, as in all fine tanka.
felled by a typhoon
yet these maple leaves
turn a brilliant hue
middle-age and married, why
do I blush when I see you?
How perfect it is that the question itself contains something like an answer.
swimming side by side
tails waving in unison
two silver carp
oh, to be that close again
two lovers, drifting
There is something so right about this image, analogous in a beautifully precise manner. There are as many definitions of love as there are of poetry and, yes, this is one of them.
once I gathered
for a spring bouquet
now I boil their jagged leaves
and drink their bitter tonic
Here is the other side of the very same coin, one side struck and minted with the image of two carp, the other with a cup of bitter brew.
my mind's disturbances
in the meditation bowl
nothing but dust
Meditation ultimately brings us all to this point, of dust in the bowl - how the smoke entwines the unsettled mind, once again question and answer as one.
Mountains and Rivers Press consistently presents some of the finest work in brief and Eastern forms. Their lineup of poets is as marvelous as it is formidable. I see some Cid Corman titles that I believe I need to be reading. Others also.
But, for the moment, here is a marvelous collection of wonderous tanka by Margaret Chula. This is just but a taste - there are well over 100 poems to connect with. Get this volume direct from Mountains and Rivers - after all, it is Small Press Friday.
Photo by Randy Son of Robert
I too am made
translated by David G. Lanoue
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