My initial reaction to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 229 #SynonymsOnly, where the words offered are dawn and twilight (to be replaced with synonyms), was to write a haiku.
Instead, I decided to write a chōka.
sailboats at anchor
in the waning evening light
long day on the lake
lapping of waves against hulls
sound of buoys rings
air of anticipation
to feel wind in morning’s light
light of setting sun
brings a night of quiet rest
morning light arrives
waves ripple in reflection
as the cycle continues
Chōka, a Japanese long poem written primarily from the 6th to the 14th century. Chōka have alternating lines of 5 and 7 syllables and an indefinite length (from 7 to 149 lines), ending with an added 7 syllable line. So, 5-7-5-7-5-7-…7, and a length allowing greater themes.
Chōka often were followed by one or more short poems called hanka, or “envoys,” summarizing, supplementing, or elaborating on, the contents of the main poem. Sometimes, a tanka would serve as an envoy, and that is what I have written here.
Man’yōshū (“Collection of a Myriad Leaves”) is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry (from some time after AD 759) and contains 4,536 waka (classical Japanese poetry). 265 of those are chōka (long poems). The 1940/1965 edition of The Man’yōshū: One Thousand Poems (a translation) is available for download as a PDF from Internet Archive and is some pretty interesting reading.
Image: sunset on the Niagara River at Lake Ontario, Youngstown, New York
(click image for larger view in new tab)
perception of depth
as moon swims
reflects on distance
depth of illusion
This tanka is my response to Sunday Muse #162,
with the image provided by The Sunday Muse.
listen to the night
as the tree frogs call out
children of the night
what music they make echos
a chorus that celebrates
This tanka is my response to Poetics: “Go Ahead, Make My Day,” the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem using one of several offered movie quotes. I chose “Listen to the night. Children of the night. What music they make.” from Dracula (1931).
Missouri Department of Conservation – Gray Tree Frog
ukiyo-e.org – Dancing frogs, by Tokuriki Tomikichiro
as water rises
spring rain continues
falls from my fingers
This tanka is my response to Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Swirling – March 25th, 2021 which asks that we respond with any variation of the the prompt and/or image (above)
– and –
to MTB: Coming full circle, the prompt from Peter Frankis at dVerse ~ Poets Pub,
which asks that we write a poem that circles around
with a repeat or variation of the opening line.
Image source: Arek Socha (qumono) at Pixabay
in afternoon sun
nights still cold
breath in the crisp air
fogging my glasses
see only shadows
in ice-jammed river
stray geese overhead
sparrows at feeder
still cold and hungry
This solo renga is my response to
Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #177: Still Cold.
Images ~ 18 February 2021
The Moreau River in Missouri (snow covered)
The Missouri River at Jefferson City, Missouri
harvest moon rising
a treat for the eyes
The first full moon (of two) this October is the harvest moon which typically
appears in late September. Many places (particularly in the northeast US)
are reporting fall colors weeks ahead of the norm.
This tanka is my response to three different prompts:
→ Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #158: Harvest Moon
→ Carpe Diem – 8th Anniversary asks for a festive haiku or tanka.
→ Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge
No. 197, #SpecificForm: Tanka
Also shared with Open Link Night #275 at dVerse Poets Pub
Harvest Moon, 01 October 2020,
Full Moon with Missouri’s Capitol, Jefferson City, Missouri – 01 October 2020
The dome is bathed in red light to honor the firefighters
who gave their lives to serve our community
(click on images for larger view in new tab)
such a hot day
my shadow needs to cool down
under the willow
dappled sunlight on the grass
beneath all-embracing arms
Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #17 asks us to use
a haiku by Kyoshi Takahama (in blue) to create a tanka.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
long beyond fledgling
one fall after another
from an empty nest
sometimes, ties need severing
a parent takes wing alone
The prompt for MTB: 5-Line Japanese Poetic Forms from Frank at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a tanka, kyoka, or gogyohka. Frank discusses each of the forms. I’ve tried to cover all three, in order. This series was a hard one to write.
bird with broken wing
beneath broken cedar branch
saved by helping hands
must be returned to the wild
before wild nature returns
in coming storm
only an illusion
everything is gray
a soul is troubled
looking for escape
safe haven offered
Image source: Wikimedia Commons (edited here)
sun rising due east
greeting vernal equinox
waiting for first buds
their color a welcome sign
end of endless tones of gray
This tanka is my response to Carpe Diem
Tanka Splendor 2020: Vernal Equinox.
Photo by Amanda Frank on Unsplash