“Twelve Random Tanka”…..



….maybe. I struggle with caesuras, enjambment, strope-antistrope as it (hopefully) applies to tanka. As I study more poetical terms, I get clearer on some things and more confused on others. Right now I’m I’m attending on getting at least one tanka ‘rule’ right: the pivot line which falls here on the third line. Otherwise, everything seems up for grabs. And of course, my format, what I wanted to do, isn’t doing so on WordPress today.

Lady Nyo

Twelve Random Tanka


The fire of life
Is love. No exact measure
A whirling dervish
Hands in opposite display
Gathers in the miracle


Sound of frog-cries heard
A pale moon floats above pond
Fresh life is stirring
An early owl goes hunting
Wise mice scatter for cover


Cranes wheeled in the sky
Their chiding cries fell to hard earth
Warm mid winter day–
A pale half moon calls the birds
To stroke her face with soft wings


A cat sits dozing
Beneath a thorny rosebush
No foot can reach him
His paws retract the sharp claws
With a deep purr his eyes close.


Human frailties
wounds that bleed such heated blood
leave a dry vessel
Without the moisture of love
the clay reverts to the ground


Glimpse of a white wrist
Feel the pulse of blood beneath-
This is seduction!
But catch a wry, cunning smile
One learns all is artifice.


Overhead! Look! cranes,
Sandhills– swirl in broad circles.
Broken GPS?
No matter, their cries fall like
Celestial chiding rain.


The futility
Of love should queer the seeking-
But it never does.
Hopeful, yearning, we are fools
Ignoring our history.


The truth of longing
Has nothing of nice logic.
A matter of hearts
So uneven, exciting!
But most painful, nonetheless.


Presence of Autumn
Burst of color radiates
From Earth-bound anchors
Sun grabs prismatic beauty
And tosses the spectrum wide!


Glimpse of a white wrist
Feel the pulse of blood beneath-
This is seduction!
But catch a wry, cunning smile
One learns all is artifice.


So much bitterness
Between two who lusted so deep.
What happened to love?
— One word could change night to day.
— One word could unbind my soul.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2008-2013

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4 Responses to ““Twelve Random Tanka”…..”

  1. Yousei Hime Says:

    Number 3 is my favorite of the bunch.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! That was fast….I just finished posting it, Yousei Hime. WordPress won’t let me post it in the forms I wanted….indented, etc.

    Thank you. I like that one too. I am doing more research on this tanka issue because it’s a lot deeper than at first glance…and second, and third. It’s like fallijng into the rim of the Universe. This is going to take years….

    Lady Nyo


  3. Ram Krishna Singh Says:

    Enjoyed reading your tanka once again. Very soothing effect. God bless
    R K


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hello RK!

    I’m so glad you stopped by and read these tanka. I love the form, as you know, and know it holds a place in your own heart.

    My problem is those who ‘love’ the idea of tanka, but refuse to study the classical form to understand the ‘why’ of all of it. I wrote what I called tanka for years and it was just free verse. People who refuse to study these things lose out on a lot of good cultural stuff.

    I hear the excuse all the time: I don’t want to become a cookie cutter poet. LOL! Perhaps that would be better than spreading your poetry all over the internet and calling it tanka and especiqlly, haiku. But people will continue to do as they please.

    Tanka and haiku takes study, and years of it, as you know. People spring up from their mushrooms thinking they have grasped it, when they hadn’t done any study…or god forbid, have learned everything they know from FB. That is just sad.

    So, thank you, RK, for coming by and reading these twelve tanka.

    Banji wa yume.



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