Three Tanka

I
plucking strings
the player feels each note,
his eyes closed
he lets himself be surprised
by vibrations of bone or soul

 

II
the butterfly
splays its wings and holds,
in that stillness
it becomes a flower
’til it must butter-fly

 

III

wind tousles
the grain-weighted heads
of ripe wheat
the sway is erratic
the sound is subtle

Rainy Day Tanka [Day 10 of NaPoMo: Tanka]

[A tanka is a Japanese form closely related to the shorter form, haiku. In fact, a haiku can be thought of as the upper phrase of a potential tanka. Traditionally, the tanka (a.k.a. waka) is a 31-syllable poem. In modern notation, the additional 14 syllables are  put into two seven-syllable lines below the three haiku lines, i.e. 5 – 7 – 5. (That said, there are many — myself included — who feel that the 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7 approach applied to English language poetry loses the sparse, Zen feel of Japanese poetry because English syllables can be — and frequently are of — much longer duration. Personally, I’m more partial to the 2 – 3 – 2 stressed beats approach.) Historically, a haiku presents an image devoid of analysis or commentary. In Tanka, there is a pivot and the lower phrase often presents a response to the image.]



dry season
afternoon downpours
come daily
like one bird nesting
in another’s nest


soggy forest
oppressed smoke hangs low
unseen, but smelt
bone dry wood exists
but only within flame

 

drippy garden
a bright orange flower
hangs its head high
you warm my mind,
if not my bones



POEM: Three Tanka City

Stiff iron trusses
skeletonize a building
outlining order
wind whistles over I-beams
flexing,  moaning, and rising


Steel lugged upward
welded into false order
chaotic city
don’t pretend order reigns here
litter skitters on the wind


From: the Butterfly
To: the city residents
Sorry my flapping
caused the storm that destroyed your
lovely burgh. I didn’t know.