December 2003, Volume 1, Number 6

Martin Lucas

Martin Lucas was born in Middlesbrough, England, in 1962, and currently lives and works in Preston. He has been writing tanka for about fifteen years and had his first tanka publication when Jane Reichhold selected three poems for inclusion in Wind Five-folded (Gualala, CA: AHA Books, 1994). He has included some tanka in his own haiku collections, Darkness and Light (Wisbech: Hub Editions, 1996) and Moonrock (Isleworth: Ram Publications, 2002). His tanka have been published in several journals internationally, but primarily in the UK journals Blithe Spirit and Tangled Hair. Two of his tanka were also selected by Brian Tasker for inclusion in the anthology, In the Ship's Wake (North Shields: Iron Press, 2001). He edits the haiku journal, Presence (founded 1996), which includes a selection of tanka in each issue. He is currently serving as President of the British Haiku Society. His own favourite tanka poets in the English language are: Brian Tasker, Helen Robinson, Tom Clausen, Cherie Hunter Day and John Barlow. His favourite Japanese tanka poets are the ancients: Saigyo, Fujiwara no Teika and Izumi Shikibu, and his favourite translator is Kenneth Rexroth.


in the hollow places
of a boulder:
the thin whistling
of woodland birds

in a book
on Zen gardens
the jagged edge
where a page has been
ripped out

those bitter words of yours
still burn --
a conversation
with a stranger on a train
heals my heart

whether I'm right
whether I'm wrong
I make my way
through the dawn streets
among gulls, scavenging

now that you've gone
the rose
that you planted
in the window-box
has flowered at last

Moonrock, Ram Publications, 2002

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