“Day Dreams,” #tanka

The Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge asked us to write about “dreams” this week.

I wrote a tanka poem:

Image by Michael Grey from Pixabay

Day Dreams

 blue sky, cloud watching
 under the green canopy,
 opaque day dreams build
 poetry and story plots,
 fashioning magical worlds

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The tanka is one of the most popular forms in our challenge. Let’s review a few of the characteristics of the tanka.

The 5/7/5/7/7 syllabic form is written from the perspective of the poet. Japanese poetry has stricter rules than other poetry, although the tanka is the most forgiving of these forms.

The first three lines of your tanka should convey a specific theme. The last two lines of your tanka are usually where the pivot occurs. The pivot should change the course of your writing with an implied metaphor, or some kind of comparison. You want to link the two parts of your poetry so the reader can connect to your meaning in fresh ways.

Don’t end your lines with articles and prepositions. Always use precise language: verbs, adjectives, etc. Use your five senses when writing tanka poetry.

Compose, read, and write your tanka poems to be read forward and backward. Often, the meaning changes or becomes more impactful to the reader when read backward.

Have fun writing tanka poetry!

16 thoughts on ““Day Dreams,” #tanka

  1. End words are like a poem unto themselves: Watching canopy build plots, world. That is part of the beauty of the form – like a puzzle within. The contrast of your two pictures is stark and gripping – makes the daydream so much more evident. Opaque is a unique choice for describing day dreams. Thank you, also, for the reminder on Tanka style – it reminds me of the need to be terribly intentional in my writing. Have a great week, Colleen! ~Z

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Zander. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too literal or too liberal with the tanka form myself. I try to stay true to the Japanese version. However, I love your creativity with the form. It’s one thing to write for enjoyment and another to write for publication in a literary journal. Poetry should be fun to write! ❤

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      1. Poetry is a strange combination of discipline and an intentional unhinging of the soul from the restraints of the body; I try to find a way to do both through form and then call the words out from the rooftop across a clicking metal city without ears. <<< wait… there's a poem in that… (copy/paste).

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    2. Zander, I actually wanted to reply to your second comment to Colleen, but there isn’t a reply available to that one…
      I often end up writing a comment that someone (sometimes myself even) finds poetic. I take rules of form as guidelines. I am perhaps not a purist when it comes to following forms, but I’d like to think I get my ideas across.
      Perhaps I should be concerned about publishing (in journals) but I’m not. I wish to continue to have fun writing.
      And while I understand the need for certain disciplinary actions in regards to writing… I’m not fond of editing after the fact. I write because I breathe. I just wish I had more time to visit other writers like yourself! 😉

      We are lucky to have a few different communities on line to both entertain and continually inspire us!

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  2. Love your poem, Colleen. I took a deep breath and remembered summer days cloud gazing with all the imagination through a child’s eyes.

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