Friday, June 28, 2013

Just This by Margaret Chula: Small Press Friday

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
between limbs

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
dandelion flowers
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
incense smoke
      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. 


butterfly flitting--
I too am made
of dust
translated by David G. Lanoue


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1 comment:

Peter said...

The other title for this poem is "Inspired by your Post":

Hovering Valentine

Haiku is to poetry
what bonsai is to gardening
what Hiroshima is to the planet
aren’t we still crouching
under our school desks
aren’t we still waiting
for the effects of Fukushima
walking the roads of Basho
picturing what’s left
when the sensitivity leaves
when the ghosts are filmed back
into our dream worlds and
our mothers and fathers return
to scold us one more time