Note:  Although traditional in our interpretation of English language tanka, Tanka Editor, Pamela A. Babusci, asked us to showcase Liam’s work in a separate segment, to give you a view of this poet’s skill and artistry.

Liam Wilkinson – Modern Free Verse Tanka


in the just enough

space of night

I ask myself

what I’m doing

     and the sun rises    



I rush into decisions

like cold empty rooms

the faint outline

of myself

                          in broken windows                           



trying to talk

to you

my voice clutched

by a need

                          to cry                          



there must be

ways of waking

my faith in things

a line of zeds

                                   around my neck                                   



no news

is good news

red ripples

cross the surface

                                         of my wine                                          



morning light

on the chaise longue day 

to be fifteen again

and just a handful of books

                                        into the world                                           



that faint stink

of cheap cigarettes

on the pages

of an old journal

                             I let the words blur                             



white as waiting

these fields of snow

I lift

the startling lightness

                                            of my load                                             



nailing down

a sigh of relief


not one moment

                            will escape me                              



perhaps the awesome

is nothing but

something different

snow in the grooves

of old footprints


Liam Wilkinson was born in South Yorkshire, England. For the last ten years his poems, including haiku, senryu and tanka, have been published widely in print and on the Internet.
He is the founding editor of 3LIGHTS: Journal of Haiku & Related Forms and the current editor of Prune Juice: Journal of Senryu & Kyoka. In 2009 he was editor-in-chief of Modern Haiga and, between 2007 and 2009, curator of the 3LIGHTS Gallery. His debut collection of tanka, The Darkening Tide, was released as an ebook in 2007.
Liam lives with his wife Diane in North Yorkshire, England. His website is at http://sites.google.com/site/liamwilkinsononline