I can make the moon rise
Again and again
Just by walking
This darkening hill
But you do not come home
No matter how I climb

Japanese forms are (no pun intended) very foreign to me but a wonderful series of articles at With Real Toads has emboldened me to post the (maybe) tanka above. Photo taken iPhone, which just goes to show that (to my mind) the best camera is the one you’ve got in your hand. I may post a series of the passing cars as it is very hard for me to pick a favorite of the different pix. Check out the great articles and tanka at with real toads.

Ps– I did not try for syllabic count so do not know if these can count as tanka.

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28 Comments on “Moonrise”

  1. Ella Says:

    This is so touching! I love your photo and even though your words are sad-they evoke me to remember those I have lost. Their memories can make me smile~ Beautiful!

  2. Mama Zen Says:

    This is just perfect.

  3. So beautiful….it brings to mind all I have lost. Perhaps I should remember them beneath a full moon.

  4. This is beautiful and very touching. One suggestion (hope you don’t mind), tanka has 5 lines. The syllabic count is 5-7-5-7-7 for traditional tanka, but in the articles at Real Toads, it was suggested that syllabic count wasn’t mandatory. It’s the meaning that’s more important. And you certainly have profound meaning here and a deep emotion conveyed plus the single image & stillness. Well done 🙂

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I do not mind the suggestion at all, Loredana, I realized after posting that I’d missed something! But at that point just left it as I could not fit it into the form. This is probably why I do not usually do these! Thanks. Will try though next time.


    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ps I’ve tries to adjust a little . I think I Could almost make it if I substitute something for darkening and move things around a little. Hmmmm….


  5. grapeling Says:

    K, I think hewing to the spirit matters more than to the letter with this piece. I’m not sure shoehorning it into 5 lines would catch the sense – and I really like what you’ve expressed here. My .02. ~ M

  6. Your poem definitely has a tanka-like feel, despite the extra line, because you have written it in 32 syllables (that’s just one extra syllable than traditional tanka allows). I’m not sure how important it is to you to get it ‘right’, but something as simple as changing darkening to darkened would work.

    We have not been counting our syllables as yet in this series. The translations that Dr Nakamura shared recreate the sense rather than the exact count, and I think it important to convey the meaning first, without worrying too much about the exactitude of the form. Time enough to perfect these little gems as we get the hang of them.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      That is a great suggestion. I have followed the series but because you did not emphasize, thankfully, the syllable count, I didn’t think about it first time through. I write a lot in syllabic verse but find this kind of syllable counting more frustrating as I’m convinced the distillation is important but I have a hard time hearing the sound aspect of the syllable counting. (I’m sure this is quite different in Japanese.) agh! Thanks, as always, Kerry.


  7. Yousei Hime Says:

    Really nice one. 🙂

  8. Helen Dehner Says:

    Whatever this is ~~~ it’s great! 🙂

  9. This is great storytelling.. sadness and sorrow work so well in tanka.

  10. janehewey Says:

    the predictability of the moon makes all other love seem random and short-lived. I am happy to be catching up on reading your work. This short one sings to my simple heart about love and inevitable loss… though it brings me more a feeling of contentment than sadness.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I think what I was trying to get at didn’t come across here — You know how you can walk up and down a hill and change your view of the moon so it rises again and again–if the moon is also on the other side of a slope–I have to try to address this in a different way, I think. Thanks so much for reading and your thoughtful comment. k.

  11. Sherry Marr Says:

    Wowzers! The photo is wonder enough but your poem just zaps straight to the heart. Fantastic write!

  12. hedgewitch Says:

    I got your point instantly, k, about where you are effecting how the moon will rise(or set again, as you walk back down) It’s quite clear, I think, and also feels very sparse and inevitable(which is sort of how Oriental forms usually strike me) so I think you did what needed doing…at least in writing a thoughtful, rather bittersweet little poem, with a very cool pic of the moon.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Good, thanks. (Of course, you are a very special reader.) It’s such an amazing thing, honestly–when the moon goes up and down based on one’s personal geography. I am always a bit thunderstruck. I have to say that my iPhone (very kindly given by my employer) is not always the best phone, but it is a terrific camera and little computer. It is especially nice when walking by one’s self. Thanks. k.

  13. brian miller Says:

    mmm…all that power and yet still it can not help us achieve the desires of our hearts…or bring them home….smiles…

  14. Sherry Marr Says:

    Hmmm, I dont seem to have your email address and wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my Love Song to Clayoquot Sound. It means a lot to me. Thanks, Karin. Have I ever told you how much I adore elephants?

  15. k, this is terribly timely because I lost my youngest sister on November 13, 2007~ I feel these climbing stretch deep within !

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