Some Tanka and a poem “Plum Blossom Snow”


Image from "Love Songs from the Man'yoshu"

Image from “Love Songs from the Man’yoshu”

We cut down the plum trees last fall and I miss their blossoms, usually the first blooms of spring here. And though the poem “Plum Blossom Snow” isn’t a new one, it makes me remember my trees.

I am comforted by the wild purple plum which blooms on the roadside in startling displays.

Lady Nyo

Let me not squander
The few good years I have left.
Each day the beauty,
The raw poignancy of life
Creates a desperation.

How could I forget
The beauty of the pale moon!
A face of sorrow
Growing thin upon the tide
Pulls my heart within its light.

Rain and moon tonight
Created confusion
Moon hides behind clouds
Fleeting clouds filter the rain
Moon appears– shoots silver

When I saw your head
Upon the pillow we shared
Was this forever?
I am left with a pillow-
Cold feathers holding a ghost.

Autumn wind startles–
Lowered to an ominous
Key—Ah! Mournful sounds!
The fat mountain deer listen-
Add their bellowing sorrow.

Answering echo-
One heart calls to another
A plucked string vibrates
The poetry of lovers
Kisses the roof of heaven!

Plum Blossom Snow

The present snowstorm of
White plum blossom

Blinds me to sorrow.

They cascade over cheeks
Like perfumed, satin tears
Too warm with the promise
of life to chill flesh.

Jane Kohut- Bartels
Copyrighted, 2014

Some of these tanka will go into the new book planned for later this fall, “The Nightingale’s Song”, to be published by Createspace ,

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