The Toronto Tankas

Church Street shop window
“Balloons Roses Funerals”
Clearly lays it out
How our passions parade us
From our birth into the grave

Vase with Ten Thousand Shou Characters x       An emperor’s gift
xNine-hundred seventy-five
x   Ways to write “long life”
Repeated ten thousand times
Blue and white wishful thinking






Fairy Luck Funerals Bates & Dodds Toronto May 2014Facing trees in bloom
Bates & Dodds Funeral Home
Sign with Chinese words
“仙福—Immortal Good Luck”
Necessary denial

Hanafuda in High Park under the Cherry Trees Toronto 2014





A Flower Card game
In High Park that makes us choose
To go on or not
The cherry blossoms though frail
So far are holding their own

(for George)


Depth Charge: The vase (青花万寿字尊/青花萬壽字尊/Vase with ten thousand shou characters) is part of the Forbidden City exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum and was a birthday gift to Emperor Kangxi on his 60th birthday. The characters that are written on the Bates & Dodds Funeral Services sign, 仙福, may be roughly pronounced like 仙—shenn (or like the French word for dog, chien) and福—foo: shenn-foo, rhymes with chien-poo. The Flower Card game is Koi-Koi, played with Hanafuda, or Japanese Flower Cards. In the game when you score points, you must decide to risk them all and continue on the promise of an even higher score, or to settle for the smaller amount and call it quits.

This year for my birthday we are having fun with Hanafuda and Tarot cards. (Another Exploded Tanka: exploded like a bursting cherry blossom.)

To see all the Hanafuda/Tarot tanka posted to date, click here.

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s