Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo.

Mariko Kitakubo Profile

Mariko Kitakubo

Born in Tokyo.
Living in Mitaka-city, Tokyo
Japan Writers' Association,
Japan PEN Club,
Association of Contemporary Tanka Poets,
Japan Tanka Poets' Society,
Tanka Online Project,
Tanka Society of America.

Contemprary Tanka Poet Mariko Kitakubo. Article details.

TSA Ribbons – Spring/Summer – 2014: Member’s Choice Tanka

Since my work was selected as the member’s choice top in the previous volume, I selected three tanka, and wrote brief comments on them. It was a very honorable opportunity for me, and I learned a lot from it.


Member’s Choice Tanka
By Mariko Kitakubo

The Theme, “The End,” is very deep, and it was difficult to choose my favorite three because there were so many beautiful works. My first choice is Kathabela Wilson’s poem:

end of the beginning
by our door
a mirror
as the child leaves
a new mother is born

The first line, with its nuanced philosophy, attracted me. Yes, when some kind of story in our life starts, one of our old stories ends. Whether it’s graduation, love, marriage, birth, or one of our many other smaller but beautiful life events, we can feel not only happiness but also sadness. The second and third lines give us two concrete images. “Mirror” is symbolic of our life; the reflections show, frame by frame, our story. The fourth line invites more images from our memories. All mothers and fathers have to experience their children leaving. In the poem’s last line there is a sudden switch and surprise! “Mother” is a perfect metaphor: a new chapter opens in a life.

Keitha Keys takes a positive stance toward “The End”:

at eighty
I’ve got no time
to lose
a second chance at love
I dive into the deep end

Though she write “at eighty” in the first line, the first four lines together affirm a youthfulness. She expresses her love actively, and I feel her perspective. In particular, the last line works effectively. She “dives into the deep end” – not death but fulfillment. She will be reborn anew at eighty, to start her second love. how wonderful this life is! I also want to be cheerful like her, and want to continue to write tanka to my ending.

Johnnie Johnson Hafernic’s tanka brings us to the indelible scene of our childhood.

wisteria covering
the trellis
the new owners
chop it down

The “childhood wisteria” vine reminds us of some kind of bond or relationship from our early days, and “the trellis” in the third line is a metaphor for the closed and guarded environment of those days. The last two lines represent “the end.” We can feel the long relationship the writer had with the vines. The strong and direct words of the last lines are very emphatic, and therefore effective in their sense of “the end.”