Sunday, February 07, 2021

NeverEnding Story, February 2021

Translated into Chinese by Chen-ou Liu:


a smudge
of blackbirds swirling
into evening . . .
how fluid the shape
of this sorrow

2nd Place
2018 Fleeting Words Tanka Competition


Chen-ou Liu's Comments: (excerpted from commentary by judges Carole MacRury and Michael McClintock)

This well-constructed tanka uses sibilance to enhance the fluidity of the reading as well as the fluidity of the emotions shown through the image in the first three lines. This fine poem by Debbie Strange shows the power of understatement and the power of imagery to express deep emotions. It has that magic space where readers may enter with their own experiences. Deep sorrow, as most of us know, comes unexpectedly in dark, wave-like moments just like the "smudge of blackbirds swirling into evening". Every single word earns its place in this poem.

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