as the sky
sips of bland tea
in the city winter
© Lori Ann Minor (USA)
Prune Juice, Issue 22, 2017
Ennui. I think at one time or another, we have all felt this way. Not depressed, not euphoric, just kind of blah. As we get older, become physically gray, are in a gray sky environment, those feelings do tend to come upon us. Ironically, as I began to respond to this, my wife asked if I would like some tea—she brought some to me, Earl Grey (decaffeinated). I like this tanka—it captures a human, most likely universal experience.
– Dana Grover (USA)
There’s a state called anhedonia that accompanies major depression and is indicative of that condition; sensations are muted and one can’t find pleasure in music, food, sex, or even the little things like a cup of tea. This tanka captures that muted, empty feeling quite well. In climates with long, dark winters, seasonal-affective disorder can be quite common. Here, the gray winter sky is an effective parallel to the ennui the speaker is confessing and the bland tea gives a vivid feeling of those January blues.
– Clayton Beach (USA)
To me, this feels a bit melancholic. “finding myself” plus “city winter” makes me feel that someone used to country life has to spend winter time in the city, perhaps due to an illness. Some people do develop ash-gray skin. Overall, I find this tanka a bit sad, but not overwhelming.
– Laughing Waters (Italy)
The content of this tanka has been sufficiently elaborated on, so I wanted to discuss the sound and pacing of the poem.
The most striking sound in this tanka to me is the use of “y” in “myself,” “gray,” “sky,” and “city.” The employment of “y” seems to point to the severity of the poet’s bland existence. There is also a heavy use of “i,” which slows the pace down, capturing the melancholic mood.
I feel lines 2-4, from the pacing, is the moment of “finding myself.” The last line appears to be an afterthought, as the poet introspects on her connection to her surroundings.
– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)
What do you think or feel about this tanka? Let us know in the comments.