Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2005, vol 3 no 2

Tanka ~ John Stevenson

you’ve become
my dictionary
I’ve learned from you
that words
mean other words


the cold
goes away
and comes back again
and this
is winter


how can I tell
my sweet, grown son
shouldn’t be
living here


like a cloud,
my shadow crossed your heart
no need to grieve
that feelings
are passing things


on their way in,
the employees
of an Indian restaurant
look tired
of winter


who isn't
in suspense
and who isn't trying
to keep it
to himself


the way all stories
are connected--
her tremor
reaches me
through the table


a light line
through the poem
in case it
turns out to be
better than I think

false start
of springtime
I feel it coming
another round
of hating everything

John Stevenson is a former president of the Haiku Society of America and currently serving as editor of Frogpond. His haiku collections are Something Unerasable (1995), Some of the Silence (1999), and Quiet Enough (2004). Born and raised in Ithaca, New York, he now lives in Nassau, NewYork. Stevenson's tanka are often wry and pungent. Always keenly observant of self and others, both in foibles and small triumphs, his tight craftsmanship manages to appear relaxed, and the psychological validities he consistently conveys are all the more compelling for their charming offhandedness. —MMcC

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