September 2016
Contest Winners


UHTS collected works

2016 Fleeting Words Tanka Competition

It has been an honor for me to judge this competition. As a judge and as a person, I still look to the original spirit and embodiment of court tanka, ie: communication between lovers, secret desires, nature, and beauty of thought. However, I also consider "real life" happenings, although not negative subjects such as war, religious smears, medical procedures, racial slurs, rape, propaganda, politics, personal problems, and other similar subjects.

I feel these offensives belong with the news media as we are not reporters or journalists. We are the admirers, philosophers, the romantics, lovers of this natural world...poets are the carrier pigeons of lofty yet simple down-to-earth thoughts. Having said this, here are my choices for the UHTS Fleeting Words Competition.

—UHTS Contest Judge: an'ya cattails principal editor


Selected for the first place in this competition, is this tanka by a well known author from Canada, Debbie Strange. Smoothly composed, the words "mute swans" in line 1 and "under a moon bridge" in line 2 starts it off beautifully. Debbie creates a distinct pause before she goes into lines 2 and 3 which juxtapose with a human relationship. This tanka then finally spills over to line 5, in a flowing crescendo and the moment of closure. Simple images, and straightforward words make this tanka work for anyone and everyone who reads it.

—UHTS Contest Judge: an'ya cattails principal editor

mute swans
under a moon bridge
the things
I should have confessed
make no difference now

Debbie Strange



In Second Place is this lovely tanka by Shirley A. Plummer from the USA. Written from the heart it depicts a current state of loneliness as well as past memories at the same time. The author is alone "often now", and "shivering", but still warmed by the fond recall of a touch. Thanks to Shirley for sharing this one with cattails readers.

—UHTS Contest Judge: an'ya cattails principal editor

now often alone
in late summer's cooling breeze
no one brings my shawl
shivering I'll wait for you
warmed by recalling your touch

Shirley A. Plummer



Chosen for Third Place in this competition, is this metaphoric tanka entered by Eduard TARA from Romania. It's main point happens in line 4, and is about "release" in whatever form to whomever or however it may come. Eduardo manages through multiple nature images and various words such as "old forest", "trees/branches", "blizzard/snow", and "birds" to metaphorically compare to relationships of human nature.

—UHTS Contest Judge: an'ya cattails principal editor

in this old forest
all the trees are so silent
after the blizzard—
the birds begin to release
the first branches from the snow

Eduard TARA



Last but not least in any manner, is his interesting tanka written by Slobodan Pupovac from Croatia. What a wonderful repetition of word thought in the last two lines! Normally a comma disrupts the flow of a tanka, however in this case, it enhances and adds a perfect pause. This is a beautifully written tanka in this judge's opinion. Hvala lepo (thank you very much) Slobodan!

—UHTS Contest Judge: an'ya cattails principal editor

morning sun
shyly peers into
our room
the fog descended
upon our bed, the fog

Slobodan Pupovac