Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today I wrote a Tanka!

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." ~Robert Frost

"It's better to write about things you feel than about things you know about." ~L P. Hartley

"If you would write emotionally, be first unemotional. If you would move your readers to tears, do not let them see you cry." ~ James J. Kilpatrick

Tanka~ A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the others seven. In Japanese, tanka is often written in one straight line, but in English and other languages, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units: 5-7-5-7-7.

Today I wrote a Tanka.

The Tanka poem has long been considered the most important form and the oldest style of Japanese poetry. This form of poetry dates back to the 1300s. The Tanka poem is similar to the Haiku but it is a little longer. Over the years, the Tanka has changed a little but in some ways it has remained the same. It is written today as a five line poem usually having syllables as 5-7-5-7-7. Having a total of 31 syllables. In the original Japanese Tanka, it was written as a one line poem with 31 syllables.

Just as in Haiku there are many who dispute the original rules and now say that these poems should have less than 31 syllables altogether. Allowing shorter sentences but not longer ones.

The history of the Tanka is exciting because in Japan hundreds of years ago lovers used Tanka poems as a way of sending secret messages. After being together all night, it was their custom to have good manners and write a thank-you note for the night spent together. They used 5-7-5-7-7 onji in a poem to express their deepest feelings.

They sent their messages in paper containers or wrote it on fans. Then they knotted it on a branch or stem of a single blooming flower. A messenger was sent to deliver these things to the other lover's house. The messenger would wait, being given something to drink, and giving him a chance to rest. While he waited a Tanka would be written as a reply to the first note, which the messenger would then take back to his master. Back and forth the messengers would trot as their masters tried to come up with more and more words to entice their lovers to return for another night. It was said that a woman with a good head for words and a talented pen would have more lovers and money than the other women.

Tanka's are supposed to express one's deepest emotion.

Tanka may be beautifully written love poems, often about loss, longing, and similar aspects of our emotional lives, sometimes making a connection between an aspect of nature and some aspect of human nature. The resemblance of tanka to personal diary entries has also been noted. It is also said that they should not be the beginning of a story but should instead be taken from the middle. For example... in my poem of today.. I don't say why I need to pray, only that I am praying in my Garden. I leave the reader to wonder about many things. I have also posted a Tanka from an earlier class I took. In this poem we were instructed to write about a flaw in today's society. I chose the fact that people in today's world prey upon each other. Many times in the form of stalking. I did great in that class. I hope you enjoy my poetry today. Have a great day!


silent tears rain down
as upon my knees I pray
hands grasp the dark earth
tending the vegetables
as the master mends my soul

Written By: Patricia Sawyer

Summer Stalking

Yesterday at noon
I sat alone in the sun
afraid to be seen
at last you sat down nearby
I smiled at you ~ my PREY!

Written By: Patricia Sawyer


Mike Foster said...

You call it a tanka, while I say, "thank ya!" Very nice.


Anonymous said...

Just so you know when I view this post on Google Chrome it appears to be in Wingdings font.

Pblacksaw said...

Mike Foster~ and thank you as well..

Anon~ That happens every once in awhile I tried to fix it. Hopefully it is now normal.. Thanks for letting me know!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunshine said...

I couldn't read everything, but the gardening poem is wonderful. I go t a feeling of peace myself as I read the gardening poem. Thank you!

Pblacksaw said...

sunshine~ I am glad you enjoyed it..

PrettyFireFly said...

Hey Miss Patsy! I really admire your wisdom! I am a fan of yours. Hope this will gave you another rason to smile! A lil sumthin' sumthin' for you.You deserved an award. You deserved to be called "QUEEN of Blogs".Please get your code at Have a good one Miss Patsy!

Shinade said...

Wow this is very interesting. I am so glad I finally have my internet service back.

Happy weekend!!


Pblacksaw said...

pretty firefly~ thanks!

shinade~ thanks for stopping by.. Glad to have interested you for a few moments! also glad you have internet service back! welcome back!

I hope all have a great fay!