Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mandy's Pages Tanka Contest, 2020 - Climate Change: The Burning Issue

Honoured to receive the following awards in this tanka contest, which was organized as a fundraiser for the Wildlife and Koala Rescue efforts in New South Wales, Australia. Thank you to Amanda Dcosta and Christine Villa for administering this contest, and to David Terelinck who blind-judged the entries!


a fleet
of trumpeter swans
at anchor
on the smoke-veiled lake
every bird, a beacon

Highly Commended


Judge David Terelinck's comments:

A visually rich tanka that contrasts the snow-white plumage of the trumpeter swan against the darkness of a smoke-filled landscape. A majestic bird, and the largest swan in the world. It is vulnerable to illegal shooting and collision with power lines, and they can succumb to lead poisoning by ingesting lead shot and fishing sinkers during feeding. In the early 1900s it was almost hunted to extinction for its skin, feathers, meat, and eggs.

This is an appealing poem in its sustained use of boating terminology: fleet, anchor and beacon. And the closing line is powerfully layered. It is times like now that humans need a beacon, because in many instances we have lost our way in terms of living harmoniously with nature. Perhaps it is time we looked to nature to be our guide in these troubled times?

The traditional s/l/s/l/l/ structure supports this tanka very well, and it has a highly effective pivot anchored in line 3.


as if I were
this ash-filled burl,
black veins
of decay winding through
my body like a river

Commended


Judge David Terelinck's comments:

An extremely lyrical tanka of loss and grief that speaks of the aftermath of bushfire. The narrator is very in tune with their new landscape. They associate with a fire-blackened outlook that may well mirror their own prospects. There is something hypnotically alluring in the choice "ash-filled burl, / black veins / of decay winding".


my easel stands
neglected in the corner
still flecked
with bright colours of a world
I no longer recognize

Commended


Judge David Terelinck's comments:

The easel in this poem could easily be the life of anyone on the planet today. Coronavirus has curtailed our view of the world. Because of limited movements, both internationally and locally, our palette is limited. Our life has been put on hold; yet it is still sparked with colours and people we have not forgotten. The world, and how we relate to it, will likely be very different after the pandemic is over. But right now, we don't recognize it for what it meant to us before all of this unfolded. The beauty in this tanka is that you can also apply this easel to any natural disaster that strips the vibrancy from our lives and relegates us to pastel shades until we learn to paint in brightness again.


unexpected
low temperatures
in Florida
iguanas fall from trees
like otherworldly rain

Commended


Judge David Terelinck's comments:

Two key words in this tanka add to its strength. So much of what has happened to everyone of late is "unexpected", be it extreme natural weather events or a virus of global proportions. One day our life is trundling along without incident, the next we are facing life and death situations and decisions. The low temperatures are weather-related, but could be seen as a metaphor for almost anything that rocks our complacency; indeed any "otherworldly" event. One could read the iguanas as a metaphor for man as he falls foul of his own constructs. Again, a tanka with an effective L3 pivot.





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