The Trouble with Tanka-1

The trouble with Tanka is that it is extremely hard to write it right. Even if you discount the syllable structure (5/7/5/7/7), the challenge of keeping the sensory experience of nature, the heart of haiku, in the first three “upper” lines and expanding the subject to include reaction/ emotion in the two “lower” lines, is formidable. Am experimenting with Tanka writing techniques this month through prompts at CDHK, mainly on twitter (tp_poetry), but will consolidate here periodically.

the leaves have fallen
the cold October light
has no place to hide
clouds weep
in the shade where we once sat

*

how easily
the sun lies
that the night is gone
inside the unwilling heart
there are still dark secrets

*

slowly in shades of green
the sun lifts the mist
from the valley floor
across cloud spilt mountains
the arc of a lost parrot

*

a fine shower
cooling the air
touching nothing
one rose brushes her satin gown
her eyes red with tears

Fujiwara no Teika’s Tanka Technique 1: Mystery and Depth – yūgentei – an image evoking ineffable loneliness.

Placeholder

How many emotions exist,
did I inherit them all?
how do I know which ones I got,
how do I know if they work or not,
and how do I find the one I missed,
the one I never felt at all?

For now this emptiness
persists;
like a flower that will not
bloom or wilt;

Why did it spring
after love and tears;
how did it come
after lonesome fear?
perhaps in place
of that one I missed,
the one I never got at all.

12/4/15: Linked to Poets United