Poetic Spouses – Kiku

Another entry for dVerse Poet’s Pub where Kim is inspiring us to write of a poetic spouse, preferably of someone dead.  I could not resist doing a tanka for Kiku, the first wife of Kobayashi Issa and mother of his first two children who both died tragically young.  Their deaths inspired Issa to pen:  Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagari sari nagara:
this dewdrop world –
is a dewdrop world
and yet, and yet…

I loved you in the
warmth of our love – I will love
you in the coldness –
our children dissolved like dew
on the edge of summer grass



13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ladynyo
    Aug 23, 2016 @ 21:39:03

    Oh! My very favorite of Issa’s. I put that verse in the frontspiece of my last book. It’s so beautiful…..And yours just as much. Thank you so much for your verse…and Issa’s, too!


  2. kim881
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 02:18:33

    Oh, Toni, your beautiful tanka melts the heart. You’ve encapsulated the contrast of love in life and death and complemented original lines by Issa perfectly.


  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 03:20:13

    This is so good… to walk in the poet’s footstep like this… it just melts.


  4. Sanaa Rizvi (@rizvi_sanaa)
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 04:18:50

    This is so touching.. and yes I agree with the others 🙂 it melted my heart ❤️


  5. lillian
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 08:04:29

    Oh this tanka is so very very sad….I will love you in the coldness — those words speak to me, having almost lost my love — and then the children dissolved like dew. I am so very touched by this one. So few words – so much heartache.


  6. ladynyo
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 19:57:28

    “Mist drifts in waves

    Ribbon-ing maple branches

    The rise of the moon

    Make Egrets shimmer silver-

    Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.”

    I haven’t written a tanka probably in two years….today, a first attempt. Again.

    Thought you would enjoy this.

    Jane (Lady Nyo)


    • kanzensakura
      Aug 25, 2016 @ 11:30:39

      I do so enjoy this and am grateful you chose to share with me. Today is Open Link Night over at dVerse if you choose to join us! I had a spate of writing nothing but tanka and then….haiku and then…nothing for several years. But got back into it along with free verse, oddly enough. I enjoy writing it all. I do not enjoy writing to fussy forms though and often do not respond to those prompts when given. I am a bad kitty sometimes!


      • ladynyo
        Aug 25, 2016 @ 11:34:08

        Well, we must have come from the same litter. I admire those who can write in all these different forms, but I can’t. I can do sonnets, but it changes my voice so much I don’t recognize it. Tank and haiku (and a few other Japanese forms) and of course, free verse are about all I can do. I’ll try to come over to Open Link Night….I’ll post the next episode of “Song of the Nightingale”…hopefully it will interest poets there.


  7. sarahsouthwest
    Aug 25, 2016 @ 01:24:47

    Amazingly powerful. Your tanka is a little crystal of concentrated emotion. Perfect.


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