Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poetry Challenge #10: Tanka

As always, before we get started, check out all the wonderful limericks submitted over the past week here

The Tanka is another Japanese form of poetry, popular among the noble class. Like haiku, it was a form popular for poetry contests, but it was also popular as a way for couples to express their affection toward one another. The tanka has five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables, respectively. Most tanka have a "turn" similar to a sonnet, where an image explored in the first three lines gives way to an exploration of the personal response evoked by the image. 

I have had a very difficult time coming up with an example I like of this form, despite reading from several sources that the terrific American poet Amy Lowell wrote several of them. Perhaps a reader will kindly point me in the right direction. Until then, I guess I'll move on to my example. 

Water curls around

like fingers of lovers’ hands

caressing the beach.

Combined with my family,

I can ask for nothing more.

You can read more about tanka here. Sorry for the lack of examples, but I didn't want to give you a bad one, and it's late and I need my sleep to chase after my toddler in the morning. Have fun!


Alicia said...

Dark grey clouds above
Produce a heavy rain fall,
Saturating me,
Cleansing my mind of concerns,
Wakening my heart to love.

Minerva said...

Alicia--I really like this one! Particularly fitting for your neck of the woods. :) 1,000 points for you!

Anonymous said...

Huge, jaw-breaking yawns.
Burning, gritty-feeling eyes.
No concentration.
I guess what I'm saying, here,
Is that insomnia bites.


Minerva said...

Cicely--sorry about your sleep problems. The only experience I've had with that was when my son was tiny and waking up multiple times per night...not fun! 1,000 points for your accurate description of your predicament.

Anonymous said...

May partly be to blame for
Nocturnal distress.
The allergen reports say
It's ragweed season again!
And I'd like to apologize for grumping all over everybody's parade. A longer, more successful night's sleep, and the world's a much brighter place!


Mimi said...

Long stem red roses
Tied wih ribbons bright blue
Lie on polished wood.
Goodbye dear, courageous Mac.
We miss your humor and joy.

Minerva said...

Mimi--1,000 points for a beautiful tribute to a great man. He was remembered today at my church.

Minerva said...

Cicely--apologies for completely forgetting to respond to your second tanka. 1,000 points for an excellent annotation of the reason behind your first tanka! I hope you are continuing to find better rest.

paige said...

sleep filled eyes open
resting on his broad brown back
still, he's slumbering.
awake, my heart beats in love
gratefully, i touch, he's real

Alicia intimidated me on this one, hers is so good. hehe. i'm all caught up now, right??!!

Minerva said...

Paige--gorgeous poem! Even late, it's worth 1,000 points. Is this about your husband or your son?