Friday, April 19, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This

Four Tanka
By Matsukaze

by evening
our outdoor-selves zipped
within thick
sleeping bags. near a fire
we speak mountains and mist

with his Giaconda smile
my reflection
ties a bushel of thoughts tight
with rubberbands
and silence

dark curtains
a cool
room of stretched shadows
and his slow breathing

on this Nerudaian-evening
his voice,
whispering leaves as
he tells me of his departure--
in the distance a crying train.

I belong to several haiku and tanka groups on facebook, in one of which, Five Line Poems, I encountered this poet. There are many good poets in that group, but this man's work consistently delights me. So much so that I didn't pick out one special poem; I wish I'd written most of those I've seen, so I just went to the group and grabbed the most recent four.  (I thought I should give you more than one, as tanka are so short.)

He blogs as Matsukaze, at bamboo songs (tanka) and Blues for Haikai (senryu). You're liable to find some haiku there too. On facebook he posts under his own name, Orrin T PreJean, and his profile tells me that, among other things, he is a male alto counter-tenor.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Really wonderful selections to read this morning, Rosemary. Thank you.

  2. Really gorgeous poetry, there is some great imagery in these :)

  3. These are so lovely. Thanks for introducing us to this talented poet, Rosemary. You sure know how to pick 'em!

  4. Rhythmic and reflective - it is what he does not say which is intriguing - I like the sparse and careful choice of words.

  5. Thank you so much for printing these beautiful poems, and introducing this poet. I am curious if this forms demands a syllable count.

    1. There are two schools of thought abut haiku and tanka. One says there is strict syllable count. Everyone knows 5/7/5 for haiku, I think. For tanka it is 5/7/5/7/7. The other school of thought, which Mr PreJean follows, says that our syllables are very different from Japanese kanji, and the best we can do is try for short/long/short/long/long lines. (That is in the case of tanka; for haiku of course, only short/long/short.)

      Tanka are traditionally to do with the emotions, particularly romantic love.

  6. So glad you brought attention to this extremely talented poet.

  7. Thank you Mrs Rosemary for featuring me. Im very humbled and honored!!!

  8. Many humble thanks to the other poets/readers who commented. If any should visit the blog, please excuse the one-line format; I am texting tanka and haiku by phone quite frequently.


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