July 22nd, 2007

Egrets Reading

On this Same Star

Water lilies in courtyard garden of Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena

Yesterday was the monthly meeting and kukai of my local haiku group. We had a good workshop, a turn-out of 12 people with a nice variety of voices. The water lilies were blooming in the courtyard and I had a nice writing session.

While there, I purchased a copy of On This Same Star, a collection of tanka written by Mariko Kitakubo of Tokyo, translated by Amelia Fielden of Australia and published in 2006 by Kadokawa Gakugei Shuppan Ltd. The Pacific Asia Museum has some copies in their gift shop. Call (626)449-2742 x20 for more information.

This is a collection of poetry which I think might appeal to my haiku and speculative poetry friends alike. Some of the tanka are breathtaking and many have some speculative elements. Consider this one from the section entitled "To the Cascade":

beyond Pluto
extends dark sky,
with the forlornness
of an eyeless face

- Mariko Kitakubo
translated by Amelia Fielden
from On This Same Star 2006

This tanka really grabs me, evokes the emptiness of space beyond Pluto. It also paints a yawning darkness of uncertainty as to what lies beyond this fragile life we know on earth. The collection was written after the death of the poet's mother and the "eyeless face" somehow also juxtaposes death and loss on the image of the vast darkness and unknown of the universe beyond our solar system.