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Tanka Section


It has been an absolute pleasure for me to collect these tanka for Songbirds Online. Everyone who submitted paid close attention to the rhythm and aesthetics of this genre. Thus, I had a most difficult time even choosing “one” Editor’s Favorite, albeit this first tanka came as close as possible (in my opinion) to representing a poetically stellar English language tanka.

Editor’s Favorite

the ups and downs

of pain from an affliction

how days unroll news

and news spreading news

into grief this wilting rose

Alan Summers, England 

This tanka is by a true “songbird”, Alan Summers who has captured the true essence of the short song rhythm. It’s definitely one that could have been composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge the poet credited with founding the Romanticism movement in England. Alan’s words conceptually evoke the pathos of existence which is characterized by a sense of angst, a frequently used key poetic device in Japanese poetry forms, especially in tanka. 


Editor's Choice

the straight line

of two white egrets


across a sky-blue sky …

quo vadis, quo vadis

Amelia Fielden, Australia

My Editor's Choice is by Amelia Fielden, a well recognized and respcted tanka poet who has made many trips to Japan. Her use of “straight lines” and “arrowing” set the scene for the “two egrets”. She continues with the repetition of “a sky-blue-sky” which makes the tanka lilt. The rhythm of this tanka is a fine example, and the long last line is a clever use of Latin, rather than just saying “where are you going”. 

Thank you to all who submitted and I know each of you will find your favorite and most admired tanka from the other fine works below.

an ex-marine and peace activist speaks of death while apple trees flower bright crimson behind him Jerome Berglund, USA  



white blossoms

falling on green fields—

quiet moments

across our lake the cry

of returning cranes

Christina Chin, MY

in the midst

of these winter blues

I search

for you to find me

under a spotlight moon

C.X. Turner, UK

how the ocean 

tide pulls out dreams—

sleep dancing

between the rise and fall 

of a summer moon

Melanie Alberts, USA

lake’s edge

the repeated lap

of waves

go up and down

the heron's leg

Ram Chandran, India

shadows falling

on the wall behind the fan

quite naturally

you are always there

for me in the background

Kathy Kituai, Australia


honks of migrating geese

I yearn

to follow them until

part of me disappears


Jo Balistreri, USA

preening lovebirds 

in the magazine

ancient secrets

I keep close to my heart

about how he treated me

Pris Campbell, USA

sitting alone

the gentle summer breeze

caresses my face

how often I mistake it

for the touch of your hand


Mona Bedi, India

I can’t accept

anything less than

all your love

… 360 degrees

of a lighthouse beacon


Susan Burch, USA



excited by

her talk about wabisabi

in old things

I tire of wallowing

in my own melancholy


Anne Curran, NZ 


dawn shakes

her sleep-mussed hair

at first light

the outback sky suffused

with glorious colours


Marilyn Humbert, Australia



even today 

when a flower falls 

in my palm

I still dance to your

once spoken ardent word 


Richa Sharma, India


midlife crisis

at the dealership

his next red car ...

lightly salted popcorn

on the showroom floor

Roberta Beach Jacobson, USA


stubble field—

all my loves mown down

like wheat

only the skylark remains

to sing about them


Aljoša Vuković, Croatia



I awake with a start

to her promise

sleeping together once

more before we depart


R.K. Singh, India


empty shells

left on the shelf

and pebbles

that have taken 

someone’s fancy

Mark Gilbert, UK

nocturnal chorus

a cacophony of croaks

and deafening rain

I have come to realize

how still the sound inside me

Lakshmi Iyer, India

fallen leaves 

scatter their colours

on the sidewalk

my shadow covers 

that final glow

Daniela Misso, Italy

the campfire ...

an unending static

between us

a few sparks escape

and ignite my heart


Mona Bedi, India


watching raindrops

merge on the window pane

forming streaks ...

how quickly my day

slips into the humdrum

Jackie Chou, USA

your rhythms

script my prose of life

so intimate

aroma to a flower

the anthology of our love

Pravat Kumar Padhy, India


grey winds

a tender sapling

in spasms

standing its ground

against all odds


Elancharan Gunasekaran, Singapore




butterfly wings

your eyes

I miss a few 

of my heartbeats …

Ram Chandran, India


 his lies

like a flooding river


everything in its path

… do I stay or leave

Marilyn Humbert, Australia

his face 

just an inch from mine

ahhhhh ...

all the things we feel 

with our eyes closed

Vandana Parashar, India

happy waking

to calls from water-fowl

and the pling pling

of an incoming text

from someone who loves me


Amelia Fielden, Australia



evening wind

the rustle of dry leaves

in giant trees ...

this eases the weight

of my heavy thoughts


Mallika Chari, India


it is decided!

in the rhythm of my heart

singing goldfinch

a letter in my hands

brings me tears of joy


Sonja Kokotović, Croatia



the green promise

of a new relationship

this fluttering

of malachite butterflies

between sun and shadow


Debbie Strange, Canada


 the sad song

of a yellow canary

in an empty room

I pack dad's warm clothes

into his old suitcase


Mircea Moldovan, România



I stand weeping

at my father’s grave


my callous acceptance

of a more privileged life


Keitha Keyes, Australia



olive harvest

our voices overpowered

by the whistling

love song of a happy 

red-winged blackbird


Željko Vojković, Croatia




creases on clothes

she folds

her ceaseless thoughts

into the suitcase


Amoolya Kamalnath, India


in a single line

determined deer ascend

the silvery hill ...

on the crest a proud stag

romances the moon

Barbara A Taylor, Australia

the silent lap

of a stone buddha …

two geckos

seeking nirvana

in a tight embrace

Milan Rajkumar, India


is it just the chase  

or will you be here after  

to hang up your spurs …  

the smooth lope of betrayal

as I watch you ride away

Claire Vogel Camargo, USA

the full moon

and silence around me

I feel longing ...

the paths in front of me

lanes of autumn butterflies

Dubravko Korbus, Croatia 

a big scoop

of the moon topped up

with stardust

       and crushed hailstones …

midnight cravings without you


Vani Sathyanarayan, India


putting on

my new glasses

it’s clear now

that you were never

going to stay

Susan Burch, USA

an autumn wind

carries the last leaves

farther away—

just your old letters

still warming my soul


Mirela Brăilean, România


the rain-wet rose

of a belated blossom

in December

frost adorns its petals

with silvery lace

Slavica Sarkotić, Croatia


wind's magic

countless pink petals

whirl in the alley

skitter up the street

inviting me to dance

Susan Weaver, USA


sometimes I miss

quiet winter isolation

by the fireplace

the cat purring on my lap

and books by my armchair

   Djurdja Vukelić Rozić, Croatia


the subtle swings

of my pensive mood

  lost in love songs

my heart still swoons

to your eyebrow arches


R. Suresh Babu, India



still hanging onto

willow sprouts

I turn my ear toward

the whistle of a thrush


David He, China


as pretty as

an ornamental starfish

the girl who

skims her treasure across

the waves at low tide

Anne Curran, NZ


southerly wind

scattered dots of birds

across the sky

she remembers no names

only the notes of their songs

Iliyana Stoyanova, UK

a honey bee

left sitting on the last rose

its fragrance

and all  petals suddenly

taken away by the wind

Zrinka Supek Andrijević, Croatia


I watch you

in the morning mirror


 paint your face

into someone I know

Gavin Austin, Australia

a cold train 

rolling down endless rails

our divorce

the sound of raindrops

in this silence of farewell

Dimitrij Škrk, Slovenia

rocks & runes

around the mountain’s

ocean track

the waves of missing

waves of your leaving

Jenny Fraser, NZ

on the writing desk

in a corner of my room

this slip of paper

from a fortune cookie

has all the words I need

Marcie Wessels, USA

a ruddy bush

touched by the breath of autumn

catches my eye

what short-lived beauty

on an eternal circle


Gordana Kurović, Croatia



wings flutter

a learner dove lands

on our porch 

cooing softly, I place it

back into the nest


  Neena Singh, India


refugee dreaming

in her native language

finch footprints

carve their cuneiforms

into a frozen pond


Judit Hollos, Hungary



Haiku Section

Editor’s Choice



a cockerel comb



Mike Gallagher, Ireland


I can only say (in my opinion), this 5-word zen style haiku by Mike, is “really a powerful and new “aha” way to see the sunrise”, through the profile of that “cockerel’s comb”! It shows that without over-padding a haiku with syllables, and keeping it simple, works …

Editor's Choice

midnight train

the curlew’s call

even louder


Marilyn Humbert, Australia

Another fine and unique "aha" ending to this one where Marilyn Humbert from Australia lets us hear the curlew's call over the noise of a passing train. Marilyn also gives us repeating "c" sounds in her line 2. Thank you to  all who submitted haiku.

until long

after your departure

mourning doves

Neena Singh, India

empty nest …

the only promise left

of next summer


Barry Smith, NZ

pattering rain ...

the number of bubbles 

in a sea wave

Djurdja Vukelić Rozić, Croatia

sidewalk art—

two long steps over

the rainbow

Silva Trstenjak, Croatia


an offering

riding on the breeze

a betel leaf


Vibha Malhotra, India



a poem mood

in the bushes and treetops—

pro bono


Aleksandar Košeto, Croatia



a broken kite

on the windswept beach—

cottage for sale


Elaine Whitman, USA



windy corner

a frail figure stoops over

buckets of sweet peas


Sheila Barksdale, UK



a honey bee

stealing the attention

at our church mass


Josipa Braut, Croatia




the mind answers

most questions


Ernesto P. Santiago, Philippines


from the dustbin

a homeless man and a fly

feasting together

Sanja Domenuš, Sisak, Croatia


after the storm

a roofless house fills

with moonlight


Ravi Kiran, India




the song within



Ed Bremson, USA



fungi life—

the photographer looks

for good light


Danijela Grbelja, Croatia



raining leaves …

the last butterfly lost

in the crowd


Don Baird, USA



a fallen leaf

on my welcome mat

I let it in


Mona Iordan, România



see how the morning

unstraps itself from moon glow 

chorus of bird songs


Gillena Cox, Trinidad


getting bigger 

the sky through the plum tree 

deepening autumn 


Govind Joshi, India

loud chirps— 

maple leaves hiding

the singer

Nada Jačmenica, Croatia


dawn combo

the pop of my porridge

with birdsong


Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana/New Zealand 



autumn leaves

gathering ...



Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta, India



graveyard visit

smoke from her match rises

in cold drizzle

Michael Lindenhofer, Austria



kite flying

the journey back

to childhood


Uchechukwu Onyedikam,  Nigeria



summer’s end

swallows on the wing

beaks at full stretch


Tony Williams, Scotland UK



rolling rolling

the colony of ants roll

a fallen apple

Rajka Andelić Maslovarić, Croatia


poppies at dusk

in my dream, he says yes

the boy lost to war


Richa Sharma, India



winter bathing        

a bumblebee tucks

into grass


Jenny Fraser, NZ



first camellia

so close to the ground

so at peace


Tzetzka Ilieva, USA



great stillness

over the battlefield …

then lark song


Marta Chocilowska, Poland



upside down 

blues matching mine

winter nuthatch


Luminita Suse, Canada



old gravestone

a crow shadows

the carved name


Pris Campbell, USA



every gust 

a shower of red leaves 

every gust 

Meera Rehm, UK



sunset fields

a flock of pigeons

takes flight


Mona Bedi, India



hurricane’s far edge

rifling through my wool sweater

the wind spins a hole


Shelli Jankowski, USA



late summer ...

all dandelions await

the right wind


Daniela Rodi, Finland



a velvet-red rose

the sun’s energy rays

multiplies its thorns


Dakota Williams, USA



world news

tansies freckle our way

with light


Debbie Strange, Canada



mackerel clouds                

whipbirds loudly alert

each other


Barbara A Taylor, Australia



tree pruning

the blackbird searches for

his favourite branch


Julie Adamson, NZ



temple visit …

the pooja basket heavy

with hopes and wishes


Kavitha Sreeraj, India



fog lifts

over the sea strand

steeping tea


Neal Whitman, USA



white cumulus clouds

white lilies of the valley …

an all-white English spring 


Anna Maria Mickiewicz, Great Britain




the language of rain—

blackbird’s song


Adele Evershed, USA



slim moon …

admiring the old cat’s


Keiko Izawa, Japan


chalk doodles

along the sidewalk



Joseph P. Wechselberger, USA



another winter ...

this oleander tree too

is bent all the time


Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta, India



cackling winds

lake effect witch hats

hushed by ice


peterB, USA



island causeway—

a summer tide washes out 

the bridge of stars


Pippa Phillips, USA



dawn chimney

a hooded crow steals the dregs 

of last night's heat 


Mike Gallagher, Ireland



surprise rain

autumn colors flowing

to the sea


Eavonka Ettinger, USA


park bench

the quiet spot found beside

a spring crow

Elancharan Gunasekaran, Singapore


care home window

the songbirds are counted

as visitors too


Tony Williams, Scotland UK



calm bay waters

splashing pelicans

stir up trouble


Elaine Whitman, USA



mom's garden

goldfinches devouring

bits of cosmos


Tomislav Sjekloća, Montenegro


baby's breath bouquet

rooted among the walkway

my children grown-gone


Dakota Williams, USA



dawn beats 

the eternal shine 

of dew 


Ernesto P. Santiago, Philippines



a lone crow ...

its eyes are full

of autumn

Dubravko Korbus, Croatia

gnarled apples

forgotten orchard

feeding deer


C.X. Turner, UK

a stroke of wind

brushes across the sky  

horse now a whale


petro c. k., USA



literary day—

a goldfinch compensates 

for bad poetry


Aljoša Vuković, Croatia



autumn dusk …

rotting lemon thrown

in the dustbin


Bipasha Majumder, India 



too late for frost

too early for the mud

a smell of peat


Neal Whitman, USA



the matriarch leads

her herd of elephants

puddle to puddle


Keitha Keyes, Australia

the ringing of bells

an echo of blessings

over a mountain


Gordana Kurtović, Croatia



fetal ultrasound

when shadows move apart

the baby's smile

Silva Trstenjak, Croatia



in the curve of a pine

blood moon


Joseph P. Wechselberger, USA



old scarecrow

with a new hat—

hunting style

Štefanija Ludvig, Croatia




the winter moon

a mushroom

Vani Sathyanarayan, India


just bloomed rose—

the butterfly lands gently

on a petal

Vladimir Ludvig, Croatia



a call to roost

each rook gathering

yet another rook

Alan Summers, England


harvest moon—

a cicada chorus

rubs my nerves

Don Baird, USA



of the effect on me

a singing thrush


Vandana Parashar, India



spring's arrival

new life awakes like

never before


Maid Čorbić,  Bosnia and Herzegovina



hill country—

I trace the curvatures 

on a toad’s back 


Chris Langer, USA


morning field—

grasshoppers jump over

sleeping refugees

Vladislav Hristov, Bulgaria

the wartime …

a soldier from the tank

watches pigeons in flight


Gordana Vlašić, Croatia


passing storm

i touch a rainbow

on a rose chafer

Meera Rehm UK

alarm clock

the Koel’s coos pour

into my cup

Minal Sarosh, India

feeling the wren's song

unfurled from a great distance

my own folded wings


Shelli Jankowski-Smith, USA


mountain trek

my name heard among 

bleating sheep


Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana/New Zealand


river's bend

a robin's cry fills

the willow


David He, China


winter dusk

crows screaming insults

each to each


Susan Nordmark, USA

ahead of me

a rabbit leads the way

fallen leaves


Jenny Pratt, NZ

to the last leaf  

a fig tree by my window

keeps autumn colors


Nevenka Erman, Žminj, Croatia


the eye of the storm

rogue wave


Cynthia Anderson, USA

spring cleaning

the dust of winter dreams

leave the dream-catcher


Dubravko Korbus, Croatia

misty daydream

Vikings land on the shore

of my childhood


Michael Dudley, Canada

Good Friday

at the end of our procession

first swallows


Mihovila Ceperić-Biljan, Croatia

night nursery—

through a sleepless window

tiny stars


Robert Witmer, Japan

autumn day 

chestnuts being taken 

by squirrels 


Valentina Ranaldi-Adams, USA

thawing pond

a frog croaks once

and naps again


Charles Harper, Japan


the froth

atop my morning coffee—

tui song


Margaret Beverland, NZ


a pinecone

high above still water …

lets go


Vibha Malhotra, India


moving on

from barely to plenty



Luminita Suse, Canada


train whistle

the loneliness

of old age


Maureen Sudlow, NZ


broken cloud

the golden seams

of sunset

Gavin Austin, Australia

the sparrow

lands on a bush before …



Gordana Vlasić, Croatia



spider silk bridging the tree

and the vine


Govind Joshi, India


closed window

only light shines through

the settled dust


Dimitrij Škrk, Slovenia



my pocket full

of wishes

Birk Andersson, Sweden


one sunbeam

after another

cat napping


Eavonka Ettinger, USA


nice neighborhood—

they intertwine their boughs

a cherry and walnut tree 

Vilma Knezević, Croatia

bottlebrush in bloom …

about the red flower spikes

birds busy themselves

Rob McKinnon, South Australia


my breath curls, curls 

and uncurls 

Minal Sarosh, India

mountain temple

a bag of chestnuts

from the priest


Keiko Izawa, Japan

early blackbirds

giving color to the garden

still without snow

Michael Lindenhofer, Austria

climbing beans 

with the help of two poles

and a staircase

Marija Maretić, Croatia

false dawn 

a purple martin’s chortle

out of tune


Judit Hollos, Hungary



maple leaves hiding

the singer


Nada Jačmenica, Croatia


blackbird´s song

the first snowflakes to land

on a rusty fence

Mircea Moldovan, România



me home*

Helen Buckingham, UK

dark mountain path

lost sheep witness their shepherd’s



Richard Arriaga, USA


* Helen Buckingham Haiku previous published

(BHS Annual Haiku Anthology: Temple, 2021)


* Richard Arriaga Haiku The Transfiguration Matthew 17:2


Note: please let me know if you find any errors or omissions

and I will correct or add them.