Friday, July 24, 2015

All the Shells, Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology 2014

in your thief's nest
a clutch
of silver wishes speckled
with joy and sorrow

a stranger's face
in the mirror
i saw myself

in unexpected rain
I cover you
with the unfurled umbrella
of a daughter's hands


In this seemingly effortless tanka by Debbie Strange, the first line, a single word, snags my attention. "Caught"? Then, what is that "unexpected rain"? Come line three, the tone and pace change: there's hope. "Unfurled" reminds me of newly opened petals. And much symbolism is contained in the simple word "hands." They're not just any hands, and they're not "my" hands, but they're the hands of a daughter. The narrator, with humillity and tenderness, comes to the aid of a person who may or may not be one of her parents. I like how the entire poem can be read both literally and metaphorically, and I appreciate the restraint and overall skill Debbie has exhibited.

—Janet Lynn Davis, Vice President
Tanka Society of America

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