Nights of Love~~Responsive Tanka*

*Akiko Yosano, 12.7.48 – 5.29.1942


wrote 50 tanka a day

I wonder

if she smoked

drank red wine (Genie Nakano)

I found the wine

spilled in her tanka

a thousand lines

tangle her dark hair

after a night of love (Katheabela Wilson)

no comb nor brush

can pass through my hair

gentle fingers

find their way in darkness

waves of undulating delight (Genie nakano)

my taste for love

unpins the upsweep


my dragonfly kanzashi

under the waterfall ( Kathebela Wilson)

the tear drops

from my burning eyes and lips

we are here

for each other

let the water fall (Genie Nakano)

we drink

to this life of ours

clink of ice

in the hot springs

we have survived (Kathebela Wilson)

                    December 30. 2020,
Previously published Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2021: Volume 17, Number 2

This tanka response written by:
Genie Nakano and Kathebela Wilson

Responsive Tanka or Tanka Response:
Is a form of tanka developed in the Golden Age of tanka 11th - 14th century. Usually two poets respond to each other--lovers, friends, and sometimes more than two.  After a night of courtly love -- lovers were committed to write a tanka to each other. It was a proper etiquette to do so and was mandatory. Over the years tanka has drastically changed and evolved. The history is a fascinating story in and of itself.
I have written and performed a tanka sequence -- Floating World--a Poetic History of Tanka--in my blog. It explains in detail the history of tanka. 9th century -- to present.

*Akiko Yosano is one of the most noted, and most controversial poet – classical woman poets of Japan. Ironically when looking for a photo of her, my question of her smoking habit was answered.

*Kath Abela Wilson is leader of Poets on Site, and Tanla Poets on Site. She hosts five Poets meetings a week. Two live and three virtual reading workshops a week during these challenging times.  She publishes tanka,  tanla prose and sequence in international journals, and performs her poems accompanied by her husband a Caltech mathematician on flutes of the world from his collection, including the Japanese shakuhachi.  They have performed  together in Japan, China, Portugal, and USA.

Published by genienakano

I love writing--It's my joy, my therapy--my confession. I'm a performer, dancer, yoga and meditation instructor, write a poetry column for Rafu Shimpo. Growth and love of life is a key to my happiness.

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