Tanka is a short form of Japanese poetry. It is a mood poem written in five lines that incorporates natural images and human emotions. It is traditionally written in 31 syllables of 5,7,5,7,7. Modern writing of tanka varies in both syllables per line and number of lines. Tanka don't usually have titles but they are used on this page to differentiate between poems.
The English translation of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu
Awards 1st World Tanka Competition
English division: Third prize: Neca Stoller (Georgia, USA) There is a sadness when after days of turning through fields of flowers that seem endless, suddenly the stream reaches the ocean. James Kirkup, Judge-Remarks. It is a lovely thought, well-expressed. My only criticism is of the word "turning" which I would prefer to be "winding". The expression of the logical poetic thought is well balanced through all five lines.
TANKA SPLENDOR AWARDS 2000
He stands at the front door hesitating- each way an arrival.
"The Blind" Shotguns flared like massing stars the noise, the smoke and through it all young Killingsworth sat crying. Back to Contents
Sijo is Korean Poetry. Sijo is written in 44-46 syllables on either three or six lines. There should be a shift in content between the second and third lines. Unlike haiku, various poetic devices, such as metaphors and similes are accepted. Sijo is not normally titled.
The spring breeze melted snow on the hills then quickly disappeared.
Last week a friend died, this week another. Is it like learning to daydream, when each cloud fills more of your mind until you taste the shape of Georgia clay and go earthward down a spiral road?
That dark feather which guided the trusting bird on his last flight, Now drifts in the waning wind, slowly settling on the current, To lead the poor, unsuspecting creek into the new dam.
Down around my bare toes, those ants move with such grand elan, Utterly determined, never doubting their choice of direction, While high above I dwell on my mountain of indecision.
Coming to a gladiola, where the briars flourish; Pink and yellow blossoms profusely traverse a trembling stalk To open imprecisely on hard clay, yet thrive, much like myself.
I pick my way through weeds and thorns that entangle the empty land. Silhouetted in the hazy twilight, a tall, stone chimney. Standing alone, I still wonder- Do you remember me?
The Sunday newspaper swung and blew as I stooped to read of a woman "who looked lovely in a dress of black velvet with an illusion top." With smothered sounds like wet laundry in the wind, the paper broke away, slanting in devious and hidden turns, as if an augury, over new puddles and me running after it. My corduroy coat spiraled, then clung, soft as an evening dress, beguiling and forward, to swirl about my thighs in gorgeous disintegration. I danced down the street's polished verse, one complete waltz after another, to ring in the last year of the 1900's. Hello to the mud-covered future, or whatever illusion the new year chooses to wear.
first day of the year the joy of illusion becomes a dance down the street in the arms of the wind- carpe diem
Sunrise Dirt, rocks, clay, the whole earth curves to the half-lit sky. A buzzard, weightless, rises on the updraft alone like a girl among strangers. Stars wash out as warmth colors the fields. My eyes follow blooms slipping off my shoe while I pause to breathe. The path turns quietly hillside. Without my arrangement, the earth curves and turns, and myself with it. Vines bend with dew fill to brim, yet don't spill they turn and frame the light of the contained sky.