Tanka by Kala Ramesh in India
On May 20, 2010, Kala Ramesh sent me an e-mail as follows:
Dear Hidenori Hiruta san,
Sending my work for your site.
Please take time over your translation, because I’ve sent tanka and Haibun too, which might need more time for proper translation, I feel, since they are longer.
I’m given you many poems, please choose whatever you like from each genre.
According to her self-introduction, Kala Ramesh has long had a fascination for Indian classical music and is an exponent of both Carnatic and Hindustani Classical Music styles. She was fortunate to undergo vigorous training from leading musicians. She has worked extensively on Pandit Kumar Gandharva’s compositions and Nirguni bhajans along with the paramparic bandishes of the Gwalior Gharana, under the guidance of Vidushi Smt Shubhada Chirmulay, Pune.
Kala has made a concerted effort to understand the ‘spirit’ behind Kumarji’s gayaki – incorporating the vigour and the vitality, which is so inherent in his style of singing and she has performed in major cities in India.
Coming from an extremely artistic and culturally rich South Indian Tamil family, Kala believes, as her father is fond of saying, “the soil needs to be fertile for the plant to loom”. She also feels she owes this poetic streak in her to her mother. Kala is keen to see children in India take to haiku and its genres.
Kala is the deputy editor-in-chief of The World Haiku Review; is a member of the editorial team of Modern English Tanka Press’s new anthology, Take Five: The Best Contemporary Tanka 2008/2009/2010, is on the panel of the literary e-journal Muse India, for the areas of haiku and short verse [http://www.museindia.com/feature17.asp]; and was the in-house editor for Katha, New Delhi for the book Seeking the Beloved: The Poetry of Shah Abdul Latif (2005). Since April 2009, she has acted as Katha’s Poetry Editor and, in this capacity, edited an e-book of haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, and haiga encompassing the work of 35 Indian haiku poets–the first such book to come from an Indian publishing house!
Currently, she is also the lead poet (sabaki) of a Kasen renku with six other international renkujin: experimenting, discovering, and incorporating the traditional renku with the Rasa Theory of India (which consists of nine rasas or emotions, namely erotic, comic, sorrow, anger, valour, fear, disgust, wonder and tranquillity, traditionally known as the nava rasas). Kala heads the World Haiku Club in India. As director, she organised the World Haiku Club Meeting at Pune in December 2006. The four-day 9th World Haiku Festival she organized at Bangalore in February 2008 was sponsored jointly by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji and Sri Ratan Tata Trust
Here I present some tanka by Kala Ramesh with my Japanese interpretations.
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading her tanka and appreciate them.
is an oasis
or does our thirst
play tricks on us?
channels of thought
I tune into
the lingering memory
of mother’s favourite saris
the bronze lamp
a new day for mother to love
her Goddess, all over again
a hundred lies
just to cover
allowed him to say
my family wept
over our dog’s death
for those days I grudged him
his early morning walk
draped in fragrance
the jasmine withers . . .
through the flute, cherishes
each note as it fades
a fork in the road
worn out sandals
the cobbler finds them
difficult to mend
and I find them hard
rain in the city
through the long night
my life hangs
on your laboured breath
over old stories . . .
I feel that mother
is young again
for eons, waves
have danced the pebbles
to perfection . . . still
it’s the sand between my fingers
that leaves me spellbound
it is possible
I tell myself
the depth of the sky
from within me . . .
love (Nov 2009 Simply Haiku)
surfing through(Nov 2009 Simply Haiku)
she lights (Nov 2009 Simply Haiku)
a hundred lies (Fall issue of Ribbons, 2009)
my family wept (Nov 2009 Simply Haiku)
draped in fragrance (Eucalypt May 07)
autumn fields (Magnapoets July 09)
worn out sandals (Loch Raven Review Fall 05)
rain in the city (Streetlights: Poetry of Urban Life in MET. summer 09)
laughing (Notes From the Gean – Sep 09)
for eons, waves(Simply Haiku – Spring 07)
it is possible (Tanka Online Jan 2010)
The next posting ‘Haiku by Michael Dylan Welch (2)’ appears on August 14
― Hidenori Hiruta