“Telling Tales with Tankas” ~ Today’s poem is an ancient form of Japanese poetry, “Tanka,” which has been called, “The Grandmother of Haiku.” This is one of the oldest forms of poetry. It originated in Japan during the 7th century. Unlike Haiku, which we will do later on and which tends to focus on nature, these poems allow for emotional expression and were often written by both men and women as private messages to their lovers. Tanka poems usually tell a short little story about love, a moment, an event, a feeling, etc.
A “Tanka” poem
is an unrhymed Japanese poem
consisting of five lines ~ actually, it’s kind of like some crazy “run-on”
sentence as only the first
word of the first line is capitalized and the period goes at the end of the
very last word of the last line, with no need for commas along the way.
Tanka is generally written
in two parts or ideas. The first three
lines is one part, and the last two
lines are the second part; kind of the end result of the first three lines.
(The first three lines tend to describe what happened, what was felt and/or
feared, etc., while the last two lines tend to represent a resolution or lesson
This poem is distinguished by the number of lines and syllables
instead of rhyme. Please take care to COUNT the syllables in the poem you
create and only use 5 lines. Tanka poems consist of 31 syllables in the
Line 1 = 5
Line 2 = 7
Line 3 = 5
Line 4 = 7 syllables
Line 5 = 7 syllables
Be sure to COUNT OUT your syllables so you
get it right. This is a poetry form, not free verse so we follow the
instructions. J Here is that handy little syllable counter
if you need it: SYLLABLE COUNTER
You will probably have to go back
and turn the beginning of each line back into a lower case letter as your word
program is going to want to capitalize the first letter of each line.
And here are a couple of my past examples and a brand new one this year:
“Timing of Posts is EVERYTHING”
even when among my friends
I say clever things
but no one responds to it
darn that Facebook anyway.
(A Tanka poem doesn’t really need a title; up to you)
surrounded by family
I know I am blessed
could anything be better
than having a grandchild’s love?
© 2014 Stephanie Abney
and reflect on my blessings
I lead a charmed life
a grandchild climbs on my lap
that is all the proof I need.
PLEASE REMEMBER ~ any poetry
found on this blog, written by me, is my personal property and may not be used
without my permission, other than sharing it as an example in a lesson or to
read it to someone. The same goes for any poems that are shared in the comments
of this blog or elsewhere online as a result of this challenge. They are the
creative property of the person who writes them. These poems are their original
work and no one may use them without their permission. It is understood that
they own the copyright to them as soon as they create them and especially once
they post them. Thanks so much!
*** Also, if you choose to post your poems on
your own blog ~ that’s awesome. But PLEASE don’t just copy and paste my daily
instructions, but rather post your poem on your blog or your FB wall or
wherever AND LINK BACK TO THIS BLOG POST for others to come here to read the
instructions. I’ve spent considerable time researching the poetry forms and
writing them up to share with you. Thanks for respecting my work.