And so we have the results of our winter tanka competition! Dilip D’Souza, the author of The Curious Case of Binayak Sen, who kindly consented to judge the competition selected the following entries. In his words, his judging criteria were:
“What I was looking for in general: smoothness, imagery, something out of the ordinary.”
Each entry is followed by his comments. Congratulations to the winners!
Three winners (in sequence)
A flock of cranes
soaring back north, with gentle
flaps of white wings, what
seems the coldest of winters
must too, someday come to pass
(I liked the picture Shashank’s poem on cranes painted. Somehow I could just picture the birds, with those “gentle flaps” that suggest the coldest of winters.)
Sweater static sparks.
Touch your fingertips to mine;
Not cold suddenly.
Warm woollen intimacy.
Sheep hair electricity.
(Vaidehi’s poem appealed to me because of the mention of warm woollen intimacy, and the idea of sheep hair electricity. That seemed a nice compliment to the yearning I sensed in the second line “touch your fingertips to mine”. )
I am cold and weak,
I savour fruitful venom,
And I am neither,
blood brews underneath my skin,
‘Still hours’, be my winter’s guilt.
(Nikita’s poem suggests a certain menace that I found captivating. “Blood brews underneath my skin” -how delicious that is.)
I see the winter
In the frozen pools of eyes
And frigid replies
I watch the naked trees sway
Suddenly, I feel so cold
I watch him pile snow
Making a cute short walled fort
To hide from snowballs
Amidst the smell of pudding
Fighting the right kind of wars
(I actually liked the last line of Harshit’s second poem (“Fighting the right kind of wars”) but wasn’t happy with the use of “cute” in that one. But his first one caught my eye even more because of the way he sees a hint of winter and suddenly he feels cold. Almost made me shiver, too!)
A lover’s light touch.
Soft whispers caress the ears
and white blankets shroud.
Yet the mosquito dreams on
of hot blood, cold skin and life
(Ayushya’s entry stood out because of the sudden appearance of the mosquito, the real lover there.)
Half a cold bottle
of vodka doesn’t drown out
the gnawing of the
Christmas morning munchies and
the despair of life wasted
(This has that smoothness and a certain rawness I liked.)