The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Taking a Swing at a Tanka

I know those who read this blog come for the education. And since I value your patronage and believe in your potential, I'm going to review those wonderful poetry forms you've forgotten.

Today's is a japanese short poem called a "tanka"—pronounced like Tonka trucks! There are five lines in a tanka. You can remember this because there are five-letters in the word "tanka." Like its shorter, more famous—and more arrogant—sibling, the haiku, the tanka has a syllable pattern. The first and third lines have, you guessed it, five syllables, while lines 2, 4, and 5, have seven. Traditionally, tankas address subjects like nature, seasons, and intense emotions and use similes (like or as), metaphor (this is that), and personification (or more simply, anthropomorphism).

Two valueable websites are available for the tanka lover in you: great examples on this blog's archives, and this website.

Here's an example I whipped up that fails miserably at talking about nature, seasons, or emotions, and doesn't use similes, metaphors, or personification (well maybe it does use that). But, it does follow the 5-7-5-7-7, form strictly! Enjoy!


Muhammed Ali,
the greatest boxer ever.
Parkinson's Disease.
It could not match his quickness.
He could not match its patience.


This picture was my inspiration.

Now, it's your turn! Post your own!