Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Archive for the tag “Tanka”

Friday Fictioneers — Adrift Alone

Genre: Haibun (Japanese-style poetic prose)
Word count: 100


She sits at the end of the jetty penning a tanka poem to her lost love. Earlier attempts bob about on the seawater inside screwed up balls of paper; they slowly unravel into sodden single sheets with the words sucked out of them.

He sails away,
the figurehead of his boat,
captain of nothing.
In deeps, beyond redemption,
sink the wrecks of human dreams.

He floats becalmed in a rubber dinghy amidst flotsam. The sun beats down on him and cooks his brain, as he composes his epitaph.

Here lies a shark that ate a fool who died alone.


Photo Prompt: copyright © Fatima Fakier Deria
Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories

My Tanka Poetry Response to Cybele Moon’s Magical Photo Prompts

As you can see from the pictures below, my friend The Dune Mouse (Cybele Moon), who blogs at The Runes of the Gatekeeper’s Daughter, is a super-talented photographer. In fact she’s the queen of magical images, as well as the weaver of wondrous mythological tales.

To my delight, she agreed to select three of her creations for me to respond to with Japanese-style 31-syllable tanka poems. This is a great honour, so I hope to have done the pictures justice; it’s very much my interpretation, and they might mean something completely different to Cybele.



Storm clouds muddy dawn;
make an omelette of sunrise.
A hilltop tombstone…
Full of life, the girl races
to read her own epitaph.



 Peacock perched in shade,
mere hint of iridescence
in his silhouette.
He belongs to a proud earl,
who nicks feathers for his hat.



In the dark forest,
fraught birds exchange alarm calls…
human invaders.
A perfect day for walking;
how beautiful the birdsong.


Related reading:

To read more poems in this style, enter the word “Tanka” into Search on my blog’s sidebar (all about Japanese poetic forms)

An Interview With Poet Sarah Potter

For those of you who want to know more about Japanese poetic forms, do read my guest post on Bill Holland’s wonderful blog. Whilst there, perhaps you might like to have a go penning a Japanese-style poem of your own in “comments”.

Artistry With Words


Well, I always feel bad for the poets out there, because I feel like you get the short end of the stick on my blog.  Truth is I know next to nothing about poetry, so I figure it’s better that I just stay quiet about it rather than embarrass myself.

But today you poets are in for a surprise.  I have an expert in the figurative house, and her name is Sarah Potter, and she has agreed to discuss Japanese Poetic Forms with you today.

Let it never be said that I don’t care about all of you.

And now, here’s Sarah!

Sarah Potter “Waning” Lyrical About Japanese Poetic Forms

Thank you so much, Bill, for inviting me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I’m both excited and a bit daunted, as this is the first time a fellow blogger has asked me to write…

View original post 1,081 more words

#Tanka 31 — The Island

Yaverland Beach (V&M)

Wind and waves carve rock,
reshaping island coastline.
~Years become aeons~
Shadows, reflections, echoes
call to lovers across time.

#Tanka 30 — Currents

Fish rock

September tide leaps,
seawater swirls in sunlight,
rocks turn into fish.
Boy eats fish and chips on beach,
dive-bombed by swirling seagulls.

#Tanka 29 — Summer Moods

Garden bowl

Petals float in bowl
Portal to another world
~pink tranquility~
Children rush around playground
Crimson exhilaration

Tell 5 Secrets Blog Hop — Snapshots from Early Childhood

Many thanks to my dear friend, Sherri, who has tagged me for Tell 5 Secrets Blog Hop. Those of you who haven’t yet stumbled upon Sherri’s blog, do check out A View From My Summerhouse after your visit here, as it is a veritable treasure trove.

For the challenge, I decided to take five snippets from my early childhood and compose a 31-syllable Tanka poem for each of them.

Clipped copper beech hedge
divides half-acre garden.
~neat lawn, wild woods~
Small girl stands before curtain
watching midnight fairies flit.

Boy likes to show off,
“Insectivorous mammal”
his latest two words.
High-pitched squeaks ~ferocious beast?~
Shrew breaks out of cardboard box.

Never mind Dad’s lungs.
Cigarette cards stored in tins
*star collectibles*
bound to impress boy next door.
Bee stings boy’s bum. Bad timing.

Parental oddness
Off to hairdresser with Mum
~latest auburn tint~
Girl swivels around in chair,
awaiting the rising sun.

Girl climbs up high tree,
determined to outdo boy.
On ground, far below,
cracked cases of horse chestnuts
remind her of broken skulls.



And now who’s the lucky person I’m going to tag for the Tell 5 Secrets Blog Hop? No less than the indomitable Blondeusk at Blondewritemore, who blogs every day and manages to make me smile often, with her wonderful turns of phrase and her ability to laugh at herself.

#Tanka 28 & 5 — Positive Pink

Early this morning, a force eight gale chucked drizzle about, slammed gates, broke fences, snapped branches off trees, and threw refuse bins about. To counteract the melancholy that threatened me at sight and sound of the mayhem, I donned my favourite bright pink raincoat and took my dog on an energising walk.

Immediately we returned home, the wind dropped, the sun came out, and it seemed I’d even managed to cheer up the weather with my dazzling gear! This led me to wonder if people call bright pink “shocking pink” because it shocks them out of their gloom.

Seeing how this colour has had such a positive effect upon me up today, I’ve decided to share two tanka poems: one new and one old (both related to pink), as well as some random photos of pink flowers.


~Artificial light~
Reflection of hydrangeas
in dark window glass.
After midnight, party girls
stagger home, petals faded.

Winter Rhododendrons

Metallic winter
enhanced by rhododendrons
— rejuvenation –
an old woman with grey hair
wearing neon pink lipstick.

Fuchsia in Rain


Pink Rose


Tanka #27 — Winter Solstice

Sun Through Winter Trees

Sun cuts low through trees
Squirrels burrow under roots
People chase daylight
Winter solstice then Christmas
Hibernation ~ if only ~

#Tanka 26 — Oblivion

Busker plays bagpipes;
man lies on pavement nearby,
comatose with drink.
Lullaby, sweet lullaby.
Sink into oblivion.

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