The Trouble with Tanka-7

the ancient night
crumbles in her delicate hands
stars turn to silver dust
and dawn waits as a lump in her wordless throat
aching for its return


crushed silk clouds
like yellow chrysanthemums
strung on sunshine thread
you stretch softly as you come awake
they fall, one by one, into your limpid eyes


in a web of silken lace
she lies, curled like a sleeping wing,
a butterfly on a petal bed-
a shuffle of colours, a flicker, a gasp,
then me, alone, in the emptiness

Fujiwara no Teika’s Tanka Technique 7: Clever treatment – omoshiroki tei – A witty or ingenious treatment of a conventional topic.
The Trouble with Tanka-6 

11 thoughts on “The Trouble with Tanka-7

  1. Your first haiku is..”éblouissant” – a French word without direct translation, meaning blossoming, magnified intensely many times over.

    Its not that you place the words so carefully, or that you KNOW the internal rhythm by instinct, but the magic you infuse those words with, to intensify them.

    I felt that ache.

    The third did what your poetry does to me, taking me through such a gamut of emotions I feel almost addicted to them after your last syllable reverberates. So much power in your commas! Each one like a gentle hand, pausing, to let the feeling make its mark.

    I grew to enjoy your second tanka very much, with its lighter taste and softer emotion.

    In haiku I think similes are dedundent, and have not quite come to terms with tanka yet, so viewed your “like” with questioning eye, but found it did and does fit, and with that enjoyed the tanka very much.


    1. Similies, punctuation…Tanka is like an unsolveable puzzle to me. Also am never sure if the first three and last three lines are meant to read as separate haiku as well. I think am just writing from instinct right now, not following any rules. This is a great challenge Kristjaan has put forth. Thanks so much for your support.


  2. These are all beautiful but I love the:
    ‘crushed silk clouds
    like yellow chrysanthemums
    strung on sunshine thread’.
    And I agree about the feeling of melancholy – bittersweet.


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