Tanka #3: a brief guide to the 31-syllable poetic form

OldChristmasTree

once crowned with a star
it glittered in the firelight
last year’s Christmas tree
dumped forgotten and homeless
its chocolate coins melted

Anyone else out there with a seasonal tanka in them, bursting to get out, if only they understood a little more about this poetic form?

Here are the absolute basics: a tanka is a five-line poem of 31 syllables shared 5-7-5-7-7, so it’s just a longer version of a haiku, which is three lines of 17 syllables shared 5-7-5. Lines 1 and 2 of the tanka usually represent a moment or thought in concrete terms. Line 3 is the pivot. Lines 4 and 5 are your reflection upon that moment or thought.

Sometimes I punctuate my tanka, but the one above called for me to leave it as bare and unadorned as the dead and abandoned tree. There is no hard and fast rule about punctuation.

For more on writing tanka, have a look at http://www.tankaonline.com/Quick%20Start%20Guide.htm

There’s also a comprehensive history of tanka at http://www.tankaonline.com/About%20Tanka%20and%20Its%20History.htm 

Looking forward to seeing your compositions, and please do paste a link to them as a “comment” to this post.

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And now for something completely unrelated to this post — today I received this message from WordPress:

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 1 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

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AND WHAT A YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

A GREAT BIG HUG AND THANK YOU TO ALL MY WONDERFUL BLOGGING FRIENDS 🙂