Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #54 lost in the woods about tanka

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Recently we have decided together to open our Kai for other Japanese poetry forms e.g. Kikobun, tanka and kyoka and many more. In the upcoming Tokubetsudesu episodes I will try to tell you all more about the other Japanese poetry forms starting today with tanka, the grandmother of haiku, as Jane Reichhold calls tanka.

Tanka allows the author to play with time, it also allows one to move out of reality into fantasy, imagination, and other thought processes. In tanka one is not bound by just what is, but is open to the emotional life of the author. By being able to switch times, the author can work with memories, and memories are always loaded with emotion, so the following tanka by Jane Reichhold fits the genre perfectly:

too old for new love
the moon rises each night
as I remember
the backseats of strange cars
its helpful light afterwards

© Jane Reichhold

Tanka has five lines following the syllables count 5-7-5-7-7 and I think you all recognize this "sequence", it's similar with the Tan Renga, as we have here every Friday.
One of the "Ask Jane" episodes was about tanka. Let us look to that episode again. Jane calls tanka, the grandmother of haiku. I think she is right, because haiku once was part of renga, a chained poem, and as we look at renga we immediately are observing the "tanka"form.

Recently I started to write/compose tanka myself, because there are several haiku poets (including Jane) who are saying that I could be a tanka poet. I don't know that for sure, because my first love is for haiku and tanka, a very nice poetry form too, isn't really my kind of poetry, but ... I have tried it of course.

departing geese
King Winter is on his way
snow and frost will come
cherry blossoms bloom again
the sound of geese returning 

© Chèvrefeuille (from my archives)

Ot this one, also from my archives:

lost in the woods
desperate and anxious
elderly people
just seeking for a bit of privacy
to live their newly found love

© Chèvrefeuille

Ok ... another one .... I am going to love the tanka, can that be true? Am I starting to become addicted to tanka?

after the rainstorm
reflections of blue sky and clouds
in muddy waters
raindrops - rhythmic art of nature
in the pond circles fade

© Chèvrefeuille

And to close this Tokubetsudesu episode I found a really nice haiga with a tanka:

As I re-read this Tokubetsudesu episode I realize that I have written several tanka ... and that it maybe will be my second love ...

Share your tanka inspired on this post with us all here at our Haiku Kai. I am looking forward to all of your wonderful responses on this Tokubetsudesu episode.

This Tokubetsudesu episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until July 31st at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, goraikou or sunrise seen from a mountain top, later on. For now ... have fun!


  1. Yes, i think you could get addicted to tanka, Chèvre...you do them so well! I like them all but especially the final one as "pond circles fade"...lovely.

    (just a note: in final line of your first tanka, you could delete "back" since "returning" covers that idea...otherwise a bit redundant, in my opinion)

  2. Oh yes - he's growing to love tanka! How wonderful, Chevrefeuille! The pond circles - gorgeous :)

  3. Love your tanka, Kristjaan, especially lost in the woods one...so many underlying meanings can be interpreted there...makes me think of times I worked in homecare and now I am nearing that phase.

  4. Ah ... you are the master of the tanka already! Lovely lovely work here! Bastet

  5. Gorgeous tanka, Kristjaan. Well done.

  6. lovely tanka, Chev :)

  7. oh, this is lovely, Chev :)

  8. I am enjoying the inclusion of tanka very much.