Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Nose Print Tanka

she speaks
of winter sunlight breaking
through the trees . . .
her son’s nose print
on the hospice window

Second Place,  Mandy's Pages Annual Tanka Contest, 2015

The second place tanka also employs a traditional construction of S/L/S/L/L that worked very well with the word choice and imagery. Again there is a wealth of dreaming room. Is the narrator a dying person in the bed, or someone who is visiting a hospice patient? Is this son a child, a teen, or perhaps a mature adult? Is the “winter sunlight breaking through the trees” a sign that this person is aware of a world that lies beyond this one? Is she about to embrace death? The image of the nose print suggests someone looking closely to try to see what the woman is speaking of – is it real, or an illusion? The poet uses simple language to create a striking image that is easy to relate to, but does not define emotion. -- Judging Report by Claire Everett and David Terelinck