Some Haiku and Tanka, posted for OneShotPoetry.


Dogwoods are blooming
The crucifixion appears
White moths in the night.

(Dogwoods are a Southern tree here in the South.  White blooms
having the form of the Christian Cross, with nail heads.  They bloom in the spring  right before Easter. They are a symbol of Christianity in Nature.)

Under the dark moon

I awaited your return

Only shadows came.

The moon, a ghostly

Sliver, sails on a jet sea

Wild dogs howl beneath.


The fire of life

Is love. No exact measure.

A whirling dervish

Hands in opposite display

Gathers in the miracle.


The sound of frog-calls,
In the pond floats a pale moon
Fresh life is stirring
An early owl goes hunting
Wise mice scatter for cover.

Thin, silken breezes

Float upon a green-ribbon

Of spring—pale season.

Scent of lilies, myrtle, plum

Arouse bees from slumber.

Restless and confused,

Birds cry out, sky darkening

Rain lashes, flooding

Freshly planted fields drown

Wind sails red tiles from  roofs.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

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32 Responses to “Some Haiku and Tanka, posted for OneShotPoetry.”

  1. Strummed Words Says:

    Very nice poems. I love “Under the dark moon…”


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you. Tanka and haiku are such interesting forms.

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo


  3. Katie Says:

    I miss the moon! The second one, waiting for the lover, makes me ache. I think we should do a Moon anthology-fiction and poetry. Once the nights are not so unbearablly cold I plan to renew my meditation with the moon out on my little deck. Lovely, lovely.


  4. bluebee Says:

    Beautiful, haunting haiku, Lady Nyo and inspiring tanka. Love the silk ribbon imagery and those bees 🙂


  5. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Bluebee….figured you would like those bees! LOL!

    Thank you, Bluebee…for reading and your lovely comment.

    Lady Nyo


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hey Katie!

    You lucky girl, with that deck to meditate with the moon….I am envious!

    I have been thinking….beyond “White Cranes of Heaven”….lol…of doing a collection of nighttime/moon poems…I even have the title! “Howling At The Moon”….LOL!~

    Started collecting those few I have already, mostly haiku and tanka, but a few freeverse, and seeing what I can do here. Actually, the price was so expensive with the full color inside of “White Cranes” I plan to do ink drawings, paintings…a la the Japanese. Then any publisher can’t get their pound of flesh because black ink isn’t color. I have already started playing around with this, doing some preliminary brush work. I know what , sort of…I want to do, but it’s so ‘down there’ I can’t reall access it yet..

    But~! I’m open to a Moon anthology-fiction and poetry work, including other poets, writers….Maybe this can come together??




  7. Mama Zen Says:

    So lovely!


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  9. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mama Zen.

    Lady Nyo


  10. marousia Says:

    I love the Spring tanka about the frog calls – it transported me to a tranquil place


  11. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Marousia,

    I think that is the sometimes trick of tanka….it can have that built in dreaminess.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  12. wolfsrosebud Says:

    I enjoyed this Haiku…

    Dogwoods are blooming
    The crucifixion appears
    White moths in the night.

    Nicely done.


  13. poemblaze Says:

    Beautiful work! I agree with your comment about dreaminess.


  14. poemblaze Says:

    Dreaminess, at least for traditional tanka.


  15. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Poemblaze,….

    some tanka lend themselves to a distance, a dreaminess. It’s all in the intent, I would suppose.

    Thank you for reading and your comments.

    Lady Nyo


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Wolfsrosebud.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  17. lifethroughblueeyes Says:

    ‘Spring’ is breath-taking. Thank you for sharing.


  18. The Fool Says:

    Really loved your haikus and tankas. Each one so alive with imagery. And thanks for your feedback on my Tanka. By the way I had a question for you. Does a Haiku also need to have 2 ideas like the tanka or does it have only one idea?


  19. ayala Says:

    Just lovely!


  20. brian Says:

    like the pop of the first one…and the imagery of that whirling dervish…nice bit of variety this evening….


  21. RepressedSoul Says:

    Nto, you always give us so many treats on ever visit I find something new to enlighten my day. Beautiful writing, I apologise for not being as active as I was, work at home etc etc, loved the tanka here. Sheer brilliance


  22. ladynyo Says:

    Hi RS: I certainly understand working from home and home/family activities. There were years I had to fit in writing between home issues. Now? Son is in the Navy, and I have time to write. It’s a trade off with life.

    I am so glad you find things you like. Tanka is a wonderful medium for poetry. It takes time and effort, and mostly study …but it’s something I have grown into.

    You are so gracious and kind. Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. It’s a treat for me that others read my tanka.

    Lady Nyo


  23. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Fool!

    Thank you for reading and your comments. As to haiku, well, I am studying this issue right now. I will get back to you as I learn more. I think we go through phases where haiku is anything we think it is, but it’s probably not! I have some ideas as to what it ‘should be’….but I think someone like Shashi Sharma is the person to ask here. He did, a couple of months ago, a wonderful presentation on OneShot on Haiku. He writes a lot of it, and has the ‘spirit’ of it down.

    I could say a number of things, but since I realize that my struggle to learn tanka was so long and I was so far from the mark before, I am reluctant to say much about haiku.

    But! I believe haiku embodies two parts. In formal haiku, (Japanese haiku) there is a ‘seasonal’ word. It can be anything….like cherry blossoms, maple leaves, etc…but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the poem (haiku) is all about this season….the seasonal word can be an allusion to an emotion, characterization, etc.
    There isn’t such a formula now with either tanka or haiku, if you read modern Japanese poetry. There are so many forms, extended forms, upturned forms, radicalized forms, attempts to go beyond the traditional intent and style of both tanka and haiku.

    But yes, there are two parts to haiku. And figuring out what they are is in the study, and how they fit together. Somewhere I read there is a phrase and fragments….but I can’t remember much about this.

    I will say this: I find haiku much more difficult than tanka for a couple of reasons.

    Thank you for reading, Fool, and your comment and queries. I am in the middle of reading Basho, and later I will have a better idea of haiku. I hope.

    There are a lot of tutorials on the web about haiku. I recently came across one that had about 24 ‘rules’. Is this excessive? I think so. Haiku starts with an observation, an idea, and how that takes shape is the essence of haiku. Could this observation/idea be put into another and ‘better’ form for this idea? Would freeverse, etc. express it better? How strong, concrete are your haiku words? This is all to the study, and considering how long it took me to get my brain around tanka, I am having even more trouble with haiku!

    Lady Nyo


  24. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Brian.

    Lady Nyo


  25. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Ayala.

    Lady Nyo


  26. claudia Says:

    i esp. liked your spring poems now that spring is in the air and the cherry trees start blossoming, it’s just a perfect fit.
    we have this tree as well (very small one tough and not growing naturally over here) – it’s called Christusdorn and my grandma always used to have one


  27. hedgewitch Says:

    Beautiful, especially the first with it’s allusive dogwood bloom. I find it much more comforting as a flower than a crucifixion, but the symbol of rebirth each spring remains.


  28. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Claudia…

    you have a dogwood? I haven’t seen them out of the US south, but I am sure they exist. The first blooming tree…well, after the Bradford pears, and the plums….about the time of the wild purple plums…dogwoods are very beautiful.

    Spring: a week of rain here, and rather cooler than normal, but wait awhile, and it will be unbearable…around July.

    Glad you liked the spring poems….it’s all around, can’t avoid it! LOL!

    Thank you, Claudia, for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  29. ladynyo Says:

    Hiya Joy~!

    Yep, me, too. Crucifixion is serious stuff. I was reading this morning about a man in Japan who dared to push a petition into the litter carrying the Shogun, during the 17th century, and he was crucified with his whole family for doing so, down to the children. Jesu!

    Yep, the symbols of spring….right now we have horrible pollen, but it’s necessary if we want flowers, bloomings…etc.

    Now that the dogwoods are in beautiful, full bloom, it would be wonderful to see them against the rising, full moon.

    Thank you, Joy, for reading and commenting.



  30. The Fool Says:

    Thanks a lot for your lengthy reply, Lady Nyo. I have started writing poetry less than a month back. I am very eager to learn not just the form but the spirit behind each form. Thats why I was eager to know how a traditional Haiku works. I read a blog by someone called Nalini Hebbar that mentioned this rule of 2 ideas. So I wanted to check your views as you had compared Haiku and Tanka in your presentation. Will check Sashi for his views as well.


  31. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Fool~!

    I will have to be the first to say that I am very wanting in the issues of haiku.

    Shashi and so many others will have a deeper understanding and PRACTICE!! in this form.

    However, I very much applaud your spirit in finding out the ‘spirit’ behind each form. We can write haiku and tanka and be missing in this most crucial issue. To know this is to crack the nut of these forms. That is my struggle presently as it is other people. I can now look at my tanka and haiku and gasp.

    It takes a long while, Fool, because within these poetry forms, are a lot of ‘thinking’ that we are not familiar with, and also, there are many cultural ideas deep within traditional Japanese forms. Presently, when we first start out, we can only get a glimmer of these things, but by a broad study, we can come to some understanding. I do believe that this improves our work.

    The best for your poetry, regardless what form you use!

    Lady Nyo


  32. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Blueeyes….I think I didn’t respond to you.

    Thank you for reading and your lovely comment.

    Lady Nyo


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