Five Tanka….maybe.

My beautiful picture

photo of the morning east, 2012


Like the lithe bowing

Of a red maple sapling

My heart turns to you,

Yearns for those nights long ago

When pale skin challenged the moon.


Autumn wind startles–

Lowered to an ominous

Key—Ah,  Mournful sounds!

The fat mountain deer listen-

Add their bellowing sorrow.


Mist drifts in waves

Ribbon-ing maple branches

The rising of moon

Make Egrets shimmer silver-

Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.


The moon floats on wisps

 Of clouds that extend outward

 Tendrils of white fire

 Burn up in the universe–

 Gauzy ghosts of nothingness.


The full moon above

floats on blackened velvet seas,

poet’s perfection!

But who does not yearn for a

crescent in lavender sky?

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016

Tanka and free verse were the earliest forms of poetry I wrote.  Now?  I don’t think these poems above are tanka.  Perhaps a few.  There are so many rules and different techniques in tanka and I have been away from the study for years.  I found a site on Tanka forms that I will study.  I remember the different ‘sentiments of tanka from a 10th century document from Japan of course, but vaguely.  So, soon I hope to be able to ‘reform’ my own work and learn the different techniques.  So look up[pn these pieces as just attempts at poetry and dubious tanka.

Lady Nyo







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22 Responses to “Five Tanka….maybe.”

  1. Brian Says:

    Whether they are ‘real’ tanka or not, they are all lovely and evocative. Personally I think that rigid forms of poetry may be interesting to read but often lack the spark of soul.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Brian, that is so nice of you! I am coming around to your trend of thought on these things. About 4 years ago, I wrote a two part presentation on Tanka for One Stop poetry, and though it was received favorably, I now wonder if what I was pushing was rather dogmatic? Perhaps within our western culture there is something that is missing….concerning tanka, haiku, etc. There is a particular ‘twist of mind’ in Japanese poetry that takes a while and study to understand and reproduce. Perhaps there are better ways to form poetry than such strict guidelines? I wrote so many tanka a few years back, and as I look at them…I am now doubtful that they are formal tanka. Perhaps a few. But they are also immediate expressions of observation, sentiment, etc. And perhaps that is enough, regardless the form. Thank you, Brian, for reading and also your very encouraging comment. I could live a week on that alone!


  3. Sherry Blue sky Says:

    These are so very beautiful. Such lovely images.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hello, Sweetheart Sherry! So good to hear from you. And thank you….I;m dedicating Thanksgiving days to finish your wonderful book! I love it!


  5. Mother Willow Says:

    Lovely chained tanka. Many are going the route of untraditional syllable count in haiku and tanka. It is true that some expression is better written when not having the strict count. Not always easy to say it as you want when you have to add another syllable or omit one.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hello, Mother Willow. I try to stick to the syllable count, just because I believe that beginning poets like me need to learn the rules and the particular aesthetics. Also these are challenges for Westerners because I believe we think and write verbosely. Perhaps these tanka, haiku teach us some discipline and to be mindful of the intentions of the poem?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mother Willow Says:

    you are right Jane. I too stick to the syllable count. Trying my best to make it readable so it makes sense….hehehe….


  8. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Does poetry ever make sense?? LOL! Mother Willow, I just posted a haibun (to lighten the air) and I thought about you when I wrote it at 2am last night. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mother Willow Says:

    I must go and read it then. You don’t sleep anymore…..hehehehe.
    Thank you , will comment on it when I get there to read it.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mother Willow. And no, unfortunately I don’t: diabetes little effect.


  11. Mother Willow Says:

    Sorry about that. You get little naps here and there hopefully.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ladynyo Says:

    yep….or I don’t. Have been running on empty for about 10 years now. Exercise helps but I’ve had some mobility issues for the past few years. Fell off the back porch (dogs pushed me) and broke my writing hand…and broke a bone in my shoulder that was never discovered properly. But I survived where many don’t. Dogs still trying to kill me…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mother Willow Says:

    Bad dogs….lol….think of sheep….hehehe…second thought, they don’t work for me either. My merry-go-round mind keeps me awake. See you around at 3 AM.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ladynyo Says:

    gotcha! 3am it is! LOL! Sheep don’t work for me anymore….I keep seeing the same sheep jumping over the hurdle getting madder and madder. LOL! Actually, lately I have been counting breaths. Sometimes works but our minds are too damn busy at that hour. go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mother Willow Says:

    Crammed mind with taking care of my husband and myself at the same time. Though my challenges and handicaps and my husband dementia, it is worrisome for me at times. Night time is the worse if I start thinking…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo Says:

    Yes, I can well understand. We have our own challenges here, too. Not dementia yet, and I am 9 years older than mine, but health problems nonetheless. Night time is definitely the worse….You have my deepest sympathies.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Mother Willow Says:

    Husband is 10 years older than myself…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ladynyo Says:

    Ah….I understand. Mine is still going strong but I see him lessening over the years. He does physical labor…set fabrication for movies and the hours are so long.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mother Willow Says:

    Busy man and it looks like you are too…good to keep busy, out of mischief…lol


  20. ladynyo Says:


    Liked by 1 person

  21. phoartetry Says:

    Very nice. My favorite is the first tanka.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. ladynyo Says:

    Mine, too. Thank you, Connie for reading and leaving a comment. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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