(T) Tanka

The tanka is a Japanese poem consisting of 31-syllables, following the 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 form. Some describe the tanka as similar to a haiku (5, 7, 5) but with two extra 7-syllable lines, allowing it to be a less concentrated, more casual poem.

The tanka was once used as a way for lovers to communicate, serving as a written gift or intimate correspondence while courting. Sometimes the final two lines of a tanka serve as a shift in mood or subject, with this “shift” making it comparable to a sonnet.

I devised a tanka for today’s post, titled “Beloved Honeysuckle”:

clean, sugar fragrance
beloved honeysuckle
erases worry
filling this moment, these thoughts
with much perfume, and sweetness

Written by Jennifer Fifield

More about poetry: a to z.