Tanka (短歌) is a 5-line lyric poem which has a history of over 1300 years. It literally means ‘short song’. In Japan, tanka is often written in one line with segments consisting of 5-7-5-7-7 sound-symbols or syllables. Here’s an example of one.
As Daniel is reading a Japanese tanka book at the moment, we thought we might start writing some in English for the fun of it. We don’t read any poems and are not tanka experts. This is written purely for amusement. But what I really enjoyed when writing this tanka with Daniel was how we tried to be as descriptive as possible while trying to keep to the 5-7-5-7-7 syllables even though it’s not necessary in English.
plucking up courage
I hiked up in the drizzle
I paused and glanced down
bitter chills ran up my spine
I descended head hung low
- Tanka (poetry) fun for the month of August (amusingspirit.wordpress.com)
- Trying my hand at Tanka (somewrittenthoughts.wordpress.com)
- Fun with Japanese poetry. (dreameatingdreamer.wordpress.com)