Sunday, February 07, 2021

San Francisco International Competition for Haiku, Senryu and Tanka, 2020

a raven
believed it could fly
through me
unaware that I am glass,
pretending to be sky

Third Place


Judge's comments:

This one-breath tanka is not only whimsical, but astonishing. The first three lines reveal a raven with magical traits—one who believed it could fly through a person. The tone of the tanka sounds fanciful until it pivots on the fourth line with the word "unaware." Eventually, I hear "glass" shattering into pieces and I feel a sudden twinge of pain as I read the revelation of the last line—"pretending to be sky." Sometimes, I, too, like to pretend that I am carefree and invincible like the sky because it feels good. I even manage to convince others that I am such until I get hurt and I'm reminded that I'm actually fragile, vulnerable, and destructible. It's a sad truth, and the poet has effectively conveyed this message in five lines.
—Christine Villa

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