[  Notes ~ By Narayanan Raghunathan ]

Tanka is a genre of poetry that blossomed in the Japanese language and the Zen Buddhist cultural niche much before Haiku as a genre came to be. The exact history and origin is still dubious among scholars. Surely, the origin and now a distant cousin of Haiku, technically Tanka may be tentatively defined as a five-lined Japanese verse not necessarily rhymed with the five lines in 5/7/5/7/7 onji count.  Onji is a much shorter phonetical unit than the English syllable.  For example two words that each count as a single syllable in English could be counted as two and three onji respectively in the Japanese language.  English "syllable" is a more contrived unit than the more phonetical natural  "onji".  Other onji patterns like 5/7/7/5/7 have also been used.  Firstly, Tanka is not two Haiku fused or an extended Haiku  but a genre in its own right.   Generally the first three lines and the last two lines stand apart as distinct elucidations, the second part enhancing the sentience of the whole. Simile, allegory and such devices (almost  taboo according to many self-conscious practitioners  of modern English Haiku ) are  freely used in Tanka. Kigo [season word] is not a necessity ~ After the breathless smallness of the Haiku, Tanka is a relief genre which affords a greater freedom in both the spatial and temporal senses creating a different poetic aesthetics. Unlike the Haiku, which has gained popularity, all round the world as a universal albeit hybrid genre, the Tanka is somewhat new on the international scene. In a collection of Japanese Tanka one may identify the quality of the genre clearly although a Tanka could easily loose its spatial and metaphysical identity in a any collection of short verses. A practitioner of Tanka in English could choose three alternatives ~

1] adhere strictly to a 5/7/5/7/7 [ or 5/7/7/5/7] syllable count in English ~ or 

2] Short/Long//Short//Long/Long [or short/Long/Long/Short/Long ] syllable count in English ~ or

3] Just arrange the five lines freely as aesthetic demands ~ But Keep the Spirit of Tanka ~




Historically, the word "Tanka" is of modern originl. 


"The origin of waka is as old as Japanese history itself."  By the end of last century 31 onji waka had become very trivialized and mediocre repetitions of poor old themes.  Yosano Tekkan (1873 - 1935 ),  a staff writer of a prominent Tokyo newspaper voiced when he was a mere 21 year old on May 11, 1894   strongly for a reform in waka writing, to create more originality in poetry. Under him a group of romantics congregated.


"Tekkan was not the only poet who had become concerned with the sad state of waka. A number of other young poets shared the same concern although none dared to verbalize in it in such vehement words. In time they came to form several groups each pushing for the reform of waka in a different way. Although the groups never united, there was a shared feeling that the new type of waka was so markedly different from the traditional one that a new name was needed for it. The name they tacitly agreed on was Tanka. As the reform movements steadily gained in power and influence, the new name also gained public sanction. By 1910, Tanka had established itself as a viable genre of modern Japanese literature." [ --------] 


" Acoording to a myth recorded  in Japan's oldest book Kojiki ( The record of Ancient Matters ), a brother of the sun goddess intonated the following thirty-one syllables when he had a house built for his bride.


here where eight clouds rise             yakumo tatsu

in the land of Izumo                          Izumo yaegaki 

I will house my beloved                     tsumagomi ni

inside an eightfold fence                    yaegaki tsukuru

inside an eightfold fence                    sono yaegaki wo


[ --------- ]


"Because kojiki is known to have been completed in 712 AD, it can be surmised that the prototype of thirty-one-syllable verse existed already in the oral literature of the seventh century or earlier. " [ -------- ]


"Predilection for the 5-7-5-7-7 form became more pronounced in the earliest anthology of Japanese verse, Man yoshu ( The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) which was compiled in the middle of the eigth century.  Of some 4500 poems that make up the collection, over 4200 were written in the waka form." [ --------- ]


"During the next several centuries waka gradually evolved into court poetry, as the nations literary and cultural activities came to be centralized in the imperial court. The thirty-one-syllable    form became so prevailing that all the other forms were marginalized or driven to extinction." [ ---------- ]


"The results of all these efforts are clearly manifest in the next important anthology of verse, Kokinshu (The Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems) which was presented to the imperial court in 905. Of the 1100 poems that constituted the collection, all but nine were written in thirty-one syllables."[ ----------- ]


"Twenty more anthologies of Japanese poetry, of which an overwhelming majority was written in thirty-one syllables, were compiled under imperial auspices during the five hundred and fifty years that followed." [ ----------- ]


"Of the late poetry collections, the most highly admired was the eighth imperial anthology, Shin Kokinshu ( The New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems ), compiled in 1205 and comprising 1978 poems written exclusively in the waka form. " [ ---------- ]


"Because they sought novelty above all else, the waka poets of this period were forced to pursue every available poetic device to its limit.


Not surprisingly, the supreme artistry of  the Shin kokinshu was never to be matched in the centuries that followed. Wih no areas left to explore within the thirty-one-syllable form, many talented poets of later times chose to try their hands in other genres." [------ ]


Some took to renga  and others to Haikai that "branched off from renga". [ ------ ]


"Waka fell into steady decline". [ ------ ]   



"Different groups of poets went different ways in their efforts to modernize the thirty-one-syllable form."  [ ---------- ]


"Tekkan and his group founded a new poetry magazine called Myojo ( The Morning Star )."  [--------] "The magazine immediately became popular among young poets who had been unhappy with their  environment. " [ -------- ] 


The Tanka reform movement of the Myojo group was enhanced highly by the appearance of a remarable young female poet Yosano Akiko (1878-1942) who later married Tekkan.


"Another group of young poets intent on tanka reform gathered around Masaoka Shiki(1867-1902)  , a charismatic leader of the haiku modernization movement who also had an active interest in tanka. "

[ ------ ]


"The method he proposed was to utilize the principle of shasei or sketch from life which he had developed in the course of his earlier attempt to reform haiku. " [ ------- ]     


" The shasei movement made little impact on the tanka scene during Shikis lifetime, since his group had  neither a group magazine like Myojo nor a colorful advocate like Yosano Akiko" [ ------ ] 


" Peoples fascination with romanticism waned a few years after the turn of the century and came to be replaced by an enthusiasm for naturalistic realism that had been newly imported from the West.

Encouraged, Shikis followers began to publish several magazines.  One such, founded in 1908 and called Araragi (The N ew Tree ) especially gained popularity and in time became the most prestigious tanka magazine in the country. Myojo expired two months after the founding of Araragi."  [ ------ ]


Two major poets who published in Araragi and chalked their own ways later are Saito Mokichi ( 1882-1953) and Shaku Choko( 1887-1953)  


The third group which considered tanka as social crticism also emerged

extending the shasei principle.


"To them shasei meant portraying society as it really was, thereby revealing the pitfalls that lay in wait for the ordinary person. "[ -----] 

Ishikawa Takuboku (1886-1912) was a well-known member of this group.




Tanka was also written by writers of fiction"as their secondary form of literary expressionv. Mori Ogai(1862 - 1922) and Okamoto Kanoko(1889 -1939)  are two prominent writers of prose fiction who also wrote tanka. 


"New types of Tanka were also written by poets primarily known for their works in free verse. " [ --------] Kitahara Hakushu (1885-1942) Miyazawa Kenji (1896 -1932) were two prominent free verse writers who also wrote Tanka.     




Toki Zenmaro (1885-1980) introduced three line tanka instead of one continuous line.


The left wing ideological Tanka movement also made its appearance and was popular for a while after World War I and The Russian Revolution . Okuma Nobuyki ( 1893-1977) is a well known poet who was involved with the left wng.


"The left wing movement had the effect of polarizing  the contemporary tanka scene, for it pushed poets of the opposing camp farther in the direction of  "pure" poetry devoid of political and social implications. Poets in this latter camp were known as 'modernists'because, like their namesakes in Europe, they had a belief in  art for arts sake, a desire to escape from the sordid reality of life, and a preference for surrealist imagery and symbolic language. "[ -------- ]     

"In 1930  some of the modernists gathered together to form the Art School Tanka Club." [ ------ ] The club did not last long. 

Maekawa Samio ( 1903-1990 ) and Saito Fumi (b.1909 ) are two major figures of the modernist camp.


World War II  brought repression of free expression. In Japan and poets were forced to write war slogans!


"The end of the war in 1945 brought utter confusion to the defeated nation and its people. To poets and writers, however, it meant the beginning of an era that allowed them to write whatever they wanted to write. [ ------- ] Tanka poets with left-wing inclinations founded the Jinmin tanka (Peoples  Tanka) six months after the end of the war. The Araragi group, which had suspended the magazine in 1944, resumed publication at about the same time. Poets who were more romantically inclined gathered together to revive Myojo in 1947."

[ ------- ]  


"There was also a new generation of poets who were dissatisfied with most of the theories and practices of prewar poets. They founded the society of New Tanka Poets in late 1946 "[ ------- ] Kondo Yoshimi (b.1913)  and Miya Shuji(1911-1986) are specially well-known among this group of  postwar generation poets.    


Avant-garde tanka is a name give by the mass media, but lack of a better term has caused it to be widely used to designate the works of certain young poets who, with their striking imagery and bold technique, shocked general readers of tanka in the mid-950s. [ ---- ]

Tsukamoto Kunio ( b. 1922 ) and Nakajo Fumiko ( 1922-1954) are the most influential poets of this category.


"In today's  Japan, tanka seems to be thriving as ever.   In addition to the two major tanka magazines that have been published since the postwar period, a third was founded in 1977, and a fourth   in 1987. Furthermore, several hundred 'little magazines' are published by tanka groups scattered all over the country. In 1979 and 1980 a major commercial publisher brought out twenty volumes of Showa Man-yoshu

( Man-yoshu of the Showa Era ), anthologizing some 50,000 tanka written during the reign of Emperor Showa. Another large publishing house issued the fifteen volume Gendai tanka zenshu ( The Grand Collection of Modern Tanka) in 1980 and 1981, making available virtually all the major books of tanka published in the last one hundred years. Then in 1987 Sarada kinenbi ( Salad Anniversary), a slim volume of tanka composed by a young high school teacher( Tawara Machi), became a great best seller,  " [ ------ ] 


Sasaki Yukitsuna (b. 1938) and  Tawara Machi ( b. 1962) are two important personalities among many gifted poets writing tanka today. 



"What are the charms of the age-old thirty-one-syllable form in the eyes of todays poets and readers, [ ------ ]

There is no simple  answer to that question, as different people have found different charms in the tanka form." [ ------] 

"Perhaps this very lack of consensus is the best answer explaining why this ancient verse form is still strong. The tanka form is fixed yet flexible." [------ ]


"Tanka will continue to be written as long as Japanese culture continues to survive. A more pertinent question may be whether the tanka form is universal enough to be transplanted into a foreign soil and grow as vigorously as haiku. Having read some recent examples of English tanka, I am inclined to believe it is."


All  selected from

Introduction in " Modern Japanese Tanka  An Anthology" Edited and Translated by Makoto Ueda. Columbia  University Press 1996


The following Tanka are a selection from this book. This is a very

essential anthology to be read by every English tanka lover. The Biographical notes for each author and an excellent Bibliography are also an added attraction in this book .


To our baby that just died


in the dark woods

lying ahead on your road

whom will you call ?

you don't yet know the names

of your parents or your own


( Yosano Tekkan : 1873 - 1935 )




beyond the glass door

the bright rays of the moon


above the grove of trees

a long trail of white cloud


( Masaoka Shiki : 1867 - 1902 )





over the scattered books

a little mouse

I pretend to be asleep

and watch it for a while


( Mori Ogai : 1862 - 1922)



into a pair of stars

we will turn  till then

let us never recall

autumns voice

we heard in the same bed.


( Yosano Akiko : 1878 - 1942 )




just for fun

I put mother on my back


she weighs so

little that I start crying


and can't walk three steps


( Ishikawa Takuboku : 1886 - 1912 )




a self-portrait

of Gauguin

makes me recall the day

when I killed wild silkworms

in the mountains of the north


( Saito Mokichi : 1882 - 1953 )


today too

out  of this urge to cry

I went to the city

and out of this urge to cry

came home from the city


( Kitahara  Hakushu : 1885 - 1942 )




from the waters depth

my face in the present world

looks up at me


what loneliness awaits me

in the world to come


( Shaku Choku : 1887 - 1954 )




its hazardous

to live in Japan and say

in the language

of the Japanese people

     whats on my mind.  


( Toki Zenmaro : 1885 = 1980 )




innately reserved

a silkworm does not cry

or sing out

but seals its grief-laden heart

in a cocoon it waeaves


( Okamoto Kanoko : 1889 - 1939 )



with red eyes

and numerous body joints

creatures gather

like floating weeds

and hop around in my brain


( Miyazawa Kenji : 1896 - 1933 )





pushing a cart

poor fellow !

in this huge

Labor Day crowd


( Okuma  Nobuyuki : b. 1893 )  




why does the room

have to be rectangular ?

asking myself

I stare around the room

like a lunatic


(Maekawa Samio : 1903 - 1990 )




when neither a man

nor a horse is seen passing

over a bridge

only then it begins to show

what a true bridge is like


( Saito Fumi : b. 1909 )




out of the shade

and toward the sunlight

a flock of chickens

with their numerous legs

walks on 


( Miya Shuji : 1912 - 1986 )




a streetcar

shrouded in an instant

by the whirling snow

in the darkling metropolis

as I watch from a window


( Kondo Yoshimi : b. 1913 )





in a grove

of champagne bottles

someone teaching a class

on differential and integral

investment calculus


( Tsukamoto Kunio : b. 1922 )




although blooming

untouchably white

it is a flower

and so will not look down on

my impurity



( Nakajo Fumiko : 1922 � 1954 )




an antelope

that doesn't gallop

and a man who doesn't hunt

understand each other

and avert their eyes


( Sasaki Yukitsuna : b. 1938 ) 





"Until age thirty

I am going to take a stroll"

your words

make me wonder what part

of your scenery  I am


( Tawara Machi : b. 1963 )



All the above Tanka are taken from


" Modern Japanese Tanka  An Anthology" Edited and Translated by Makoto Ueda. Columbia  University Press 1996










For more details of the History and techniques of the genre refer the following links. 



A Brilliant essay introducing Tanka as a genre by Richard MacDonald with examples and historic references.








Jane Reichhold's Tanka ~ General Link.






Five Years of Tanka History in America

Jane Reichhold

Pleasant Ruminations on The Tanka Contest for Mirrors International Tanka Awards between 1990 and 1995.  It is also a miniature subjective history of these contests. 






Tanka for the Memory

Jane Reichhold



A Brief history of the genre with possibility of the genre growing and taking own wings in the English language in its own unique way.

"So revered became tanka - and so eager were men and women to improve their own works - that contests were regularly held for the purpose of writing and reading of tanka. So necessary was a body of esteemed works to which one could refer (and be inspired) that the emperors decreed the collection of anthologies beginning around 700 AD.

Thus, there are preserved in Japanese, more tanka than any other poetry form in the world. Yet, here in North America, the interest has only begun to gather momentum. "

"If you've enjoyed reading and writing haiku, you will probably luxuriate in tanka. Here the writer gets two extra lines - and long ones at that! - plus the go-ahead to write about one's feelings! For a society such as ours, where people are encouraged to express and explore their feelings, tanka seems better fitting as a poetry form than the more popular haiku."

"We aren't Japanese and we come from the land of songs, sonnets and limericks (as well as longer forms of poetry). Tanka is new to us and we will never write a real tanka as we cannot write, even in kanji, a real haiku. The best we can do is to be ourselves under the influence of the tanka genre. Some persons will very soon appear on the scene saying, "It isn't a tanka unless it has...!"


"At this stage, I can only say I would prefer that each writer adopt some rules to begin with. As you write you may discard one or more and adopt others. The important issue is not the form you use or the fact that you have used a form (whether it comes from the Japanese, experts or yourself), but what you are able to do within some kind of limits.

Looking at tanka history it seems that the only infallible way of writing great tanka is to have an affair. Go ahead! Do it now. But that doesn't mean that it must be a behind-the-bushes affair in the no-tell motel. Let yourself fall in love with anything or anyone you want to. It can be nature, a scene, a place, an activity, persons; your own kids, grandkids or even - your mate, or just life itself. Whatever feels good and right for you."

Selected from




Tanka Article Published in
FEELINGS - A Journal of Poetic Thought and Verse
Jane Reichhold


Very useful article on Tanka and its peculiar qualities ~


"When Japanese history was first being committed to writing -- the middle of the 7th century AD -- there already was a long oral history of the uta [song] in the waka. The waka then and the tanka today consisted of five phrases. Then as now, the Japanese language composed phrases most naturally into either short ones --consisting of five onji [a sound syllable consisting usually of a consonant and a vowel] -- or a longer unit consisting of seven onji. Instead of punctuation, the Japanese use small words consisting of one or two onji to indicate the line breaks and give them a 'tone' as in asking a question or indicating exclamation. Because of the familiarity of the natural syntax of the phrases -- in Japanese poetry this was highly regulated so that only certain phrases expressed with time-honored wording -- the reader knew exactly where these non-breaking line breaks occurred. Thus their tanka were written in one or (mostly) two vertical lines. Lacking these natural indicators in English, tanka, are written in translation in (usually) five lines to indicate the breaks and to allow the reader the same feeling for pause and change.v

"Because English is so different from Japanese, we cannot follow their methods to arrive with the same poem/product. If we write the five lines with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables, our tanka will end up being about 1/3 longer than one written by the same method in Japanese. Thus, in English, we have three distinct forms.

First is the method of writing five lines consisting of 5-7-5-7-7 English syllables which is considered 'traditional' and is claimed by some Japanese to be the only 'real' tanka, even if the poem turns out too long. Some authors have adopted this method naturally and have no interest in writing a shorter Japanese equivalent. One is Gerard John Conforti, of New York City. In his book, Now That the Night Ends (1996), he never varies from this pattern:

This cold winter night
the snow clings to the tree boughs
in the pale moonlight
the kisses of your soft lips
warm this aching heart of mine

Can you feel how he has tempered his phrases so there is a melodic rhythm that is complete in each line? Another author followed the approximate 5-7-5-7-7 formula but allows her speech to form in its own natural rhythm. For this use of enjambment, Geraldine C. Little of New Jersey employs the complete range of punctuation. From her book, More Light, Larger Vision (1992), we can read Geraldine C. Little's tanka:

caught in my mirror
a photograph of you, man
I love, mean to have,
I'm a witch, didn't you know?
now you'll never escape me!

The other accepted English style is to write the five lines composed of short-long-short-long-long phrases so the end result shows this shape on the page. Some poets, such as Anna Holley of Texas is, are attuned to writing in the style Japanese tanka would be if written in English. Notice how very short and succinct these lines are, but yet you will see that each poem fulfills most of the requirements for a tanka.

it's lonely too --
that young pine
leaning toward
the hilltop moon


if only
because it might
still visit you,
must I now envy
even autumn wind?


The last and still accepted way is the 'experimental' in which the poet follows his/her own speech and makes no effort to rewrite or rephrase the lines to make them fit to any pattern. As result of his translations of 20th century Japanese tanka writers, (mainly Tokuboku), Sanford Goldstein, now living in Japan, opts for this method. An example from the English tanka anthology, Wind Five Folded (1994) contains his sequence "Buddha: a tanka string" which begins with:

pour me a cup of poetry
from your warm mouth
this empty

Here, you can see where what he calls 'tanka' is blurring the line to haiku or even... In some of Goldstein's more recent works he is writing longer tanka, but he was not alone in his former style so you may see other authors' very short tanka written in this style."


"Because tanka in English is new, I am doing what I can to keep the form as open as possible by not setting definite rules and boundaries, by saying that for a poem to be a 'real' tanka it must conform to this or that rule. However, I do encourage new writers (we are all new now!) to form their own inner rules so their poetry contains the challenge of word-smithing. Make up your rules out of the many possible variations. Experiment until you find what suits you and your way of speaking and writing. Make it your own. Stick with it as long as it works for you.

Since the history of Japanese tanka is so long -- thirteen hundred years -- and the rules have changed so much, there are many various styles now which allow the poet to follow any and still be within one of the realm of tanka"

"Before moving away from the form of tanka, and getting to the techniques, I would like to offer some thoughts on why this genre has been so endearing and enduring. And it is that. Though the form, surely an adaptation of the Chinese quatrains, which were themselves an adaptation of the even earlier ghazal from the Middle East, the tanka is still very popular in Japan. In 1987, a young woman, Machi Tawara, just beginning her teaching career wrote a book of tanka, Sarada kinebi [Salad Anniversary]. In Japan alone, this book sold over 11 million copies. Each year, on New Year's Day celebration, the Emperor of Japan and his family join millions of the commoners in writing tanka on designated topics. In an impressive ceremony a selection of these tanka are chanted in a time-honored ceremony before the Royal Court and are then preserved as national treasures.v


"Because the form is short, it is easy to work out a tanka in one's head. This practice encourages one to 'think in tanka'. When one does this, one adopts a way of thinking -- of organizing one's impressions. Tanka, unlike haiku, is emotional. Instead of denying one's feelings or hiding them behind concrete images, tanka is openly the form for expressing emotional states. Yet it is most often based on natural world phenomenon."

Extracts from, 




Come Pivot with Me

Jane Reichhold

"The use of a pivot word is a beloved technique from tanka, still being used after 1,300 years, in that form and its much younger grandchild -- haiku.

One of the trademarks of a tanka (besides the traditional five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 onji -- syllables) is a short poetic statement depicting nature (here it may seem much like something you could call a haiku) which is linked to a designated feeling or emotional attitude of the author. This latter aspect is a basic one dividing the two forms today.

By expressing emotional feelings tanka affirms a connectedness between something unseen but real -- our feelings -- with the observable world around us. Tanka gives the mind a picture which can, if it is successful, joins for and evokes a felt emotional state.

During the development of tanka, writers became very sensitive to the bridge --the word, or words -- leading the reader from the nature image to the statement of emotion. They found in their language, as we have in ours, words which can apply or add to the description of both nature and human feelings. For example, a classic tanka by Anonymous from the Kokinshu translated by Donald Keene:

Because there was a seed
A pine has grown even here
On these barren rocks:
If we really love our love
What can keep us from meeting?

Here the phrase "on barren rocks" refers to both the ground where a seed fell and grew while at the same it is describing the feeling of lack of love because of the couple's not being able to meet. One test of the effectiveness of this technique is to cover the bottom two lines to see if they read as a unit with one meaning. If you cover the top two lines, reusing the third line, this unit gives the pivot phrase another meaning."





A tentative comparative study of Tanka vs Haiku noting the similarities and differences.  A very useful essay for the practitioners of the genres.











For a good collection of English Tanka by various authors see below






For Further Reading




Tanka Published in LYNX




Tanka Winners in Tanka Splendor 1992

A Selection of TANKA WINNERS
from the Mirrors Third International Tanka Award 1992 

judged by Jane Hirshfield.






A Tanka Group active with Jane Reichhold as the moderator.  





See Below for a brilliant rendering of one hundred and fifty Psalms from the Bible as Tanka.



Revised May 26 2005

This is the Hypertext version of the Tanka Psalter. One hundred and fifty psalms have been paraphrased in the form of the Japanese Tanka.

The psalms are not presented in Biblical order but have been grouped according to the major emotional themes of life ~~~"







Another five line genre the western cinquain stands out in contrast to the Tanka. Although any five line poem may perhaps be called a cinquain, 2/4/6/8/2 syllable count for lines is the general rule.   


But I think the Tanka has an eastern Zen quality which identifies it.  Here are some Tanka in English by Narayanan Raghunathan.






radiant red hibiscus, ah!

solitary seer of sacred dawn,

what ancient song

wells up today, fierce in

your invisible fire-soul?






I was in a quandary

wondering what to do~

the gentle Tulsi leaves

nodded in sweet approval  ~

I instantly knew exactly what to~ 



Tulsi ~ Sacred herbal plant whose leaves used in ceremonial worship in Hindu Temples and at homes ~ There are extraordinary mystic myths associated with this plant [See ~ Shiva Puraanam]  ~ Tulsi is considered specially auspicious for Vishnu [All-Pervasive Lord] and Lakshmi His Divine Spouse ~


Kaali ~ The Primal Mother In Devastating Fury ~ [See. Devi Maahaatmyam ~]






splendour storm terror 

thunder lightning silences ~

Buddha worlds burst open  ~ 

Mighty Kaali dumb-founds ~    

I glow vast in pure rapture ~






imaginary beings in

imaginary lands eat

imaginary things ~

I eat an apple, listen

to sparrows sing ~



does the grass look

green gold rainbow or fire to

your miracle eyes,
ah! singer kookaburra serious

into melody-silences ~ 




That is a neat fall

senor master aeronaut

proud on orange wings ~

Where did you learn it?

From ancient Adam?    


Note ~ "Felix Peccatum Adae" [Fortunate Sin Of Adam} ~ St. Augustine ~



moonlight walk

in spring breeze

near the gurgling river

fire works from

the temple festival.






twilight hovers vast

seamless above

the mountain town

arctic birds arrive in

geometric formations



rishikesh dawn

sunlight floats

down the ganges

pahaadi women bloom   

spring dreams in mist




Himaalayan walk

I hear bhaageerathy

wander  along with me

in moonlight breeze



still mountain

old man and woman

walk along the grass path

a dog follows them to

Kedaarnaath temple




the big bang of 

numerical scientists is

a morbid conjecture

beware dear friends

these scientists tell lies





infinite wonder

pre-primordial pathways

to unborn originlessness

the mahaa virat purusha

manifests everywhere still




my greedy friends

seeking nobel prizes

can you really imagine

the nature of the sciences 

after billion billion years





charles darwin is

surely in putrid hell now

he has a tail too

and a  human memory

with a chimpanzee face




death is a joke 

the heavens and hells

are greater jokes

the joker really manifests

and surely all turns into light 



I wander through

innumerable worlds

reach the spanda cosmoses

of infinite sourceless  endless

infinitudes for all  for ever




lifting the veil of light

she reveals her hidden face

infinite cosmoses bloom

magic parables resonating

in fairy tales still unborn




starless sky

echoes splendid spectacles

nurtured in ether light

I remember my father now

laid up on an earthy bed




the wind sways

the mountain seamless

on the twilight sky

countless children in colour

play on the beach




Notes:   Compiled by Narayanan Raghunathan


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