Haiku, Tanka

The conjoined ripples

Reflecting the water’s edge

The glare laughs and sings

A forsaken leaf

Wading underneath the stream

Meandering still

In ripples of smoke

Hides beloved illusion

Beneath sun-baked logs

The embers succumb to rage

They warm my uneasy soles

The ghost of the rain

Speaks to the cloud, from the mud

Missing her dearly

On a rotting log

Keeping track of flames gone out

Three matches lie spent

Cloud and dust and mud

travel down the riverbed

settle down to sleep

From the Author

I. Love. Haiku.

I. Love. Tanka.

There’s something about 5-7-5 and 5-7-5-7-7 that just… feels right. I’ve dedicated much of my vacation to learning more about this word-form in order to write in it. When you write Haiku or Tanka (but especially Haiku), you force yourself to truly appreciate a moment. Those of you who know me personally know that “appreciating moments” is not something I excel at. At all.

But those three lines cannot sustain high-concept or deep introspection; they excel at emphasizing these small, beautiful images that we often take for granted. The five-lined Tanka can hold the writer’s personal experience in relation to that image, but only a candle’s worth.

Again. I love Haiku and Tanka.

If you don’t know what Haiku or Tanka is- I’m not gonna tell you and deprive you of your educational journey (Also, my grasp on it is in its fledgling stages). However, I will make a recommendation: I stumbled upon a book of (mostly)Haiku on the drive up that immediately captured my heart. Japanese Death Poems is a compilation by Yoel Hoffman full of poems “written by zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death.”

Already my favorite book!

People. I love this book. I know it seems a rather macabre concept, but I’m telling you: I’ve never read such beautiful, inspiring, life-giving poetry as what I’ve read here. Yoel also does a great job of giving not just historical/narrative context, but context for the word-forms themselves. If you’d like to read some good good haiku- I’d start with this book.

F.Y.I. this is not sponsored content, cause I’m not at all big enough for people to want to sponsor me! I just love this book!

Thank you for reading my stuff. Stay well. Kiss your cat/dog/human. Try to love strangers.

Published by The Poetry of Ants

I've been writing poetry since I was little. These poems have always been my means of resolving the world as it is against the world as it should be. Writing has been my great catharsis. I hope that you and I may be able to share in that.

2 thoughts on “Haiku, Tanka

  1. Hey man, I was nudged to this post from a recommendation at the bottom of one of my haikus.

    I see it’s from a while ago, so I hope this comment reaches you by the power of technology!

    I really enjoyed the poetry, it was fantastic; but also the commentary. Both flowed together thoughtfully.

    I’ve been branching out on my poetic forms recently, and have been loving writing haibuns; prose, plus haiku. Tanka, and haiku, seem like peas in a pod – I will have to give it a go.

    The book you mentioned looks interesting, I assume you’ve probably read it by now. If this gets to you, let me know any you in which found especially profound?

    Thanks for the inspiration. Great post. Keep it up.


    1. By the power of technology, I have indeed seen your comments. I appreciate the feedback! I can’t recommend enough: sitting by a stream or forrest or whatever you find beautiful while composing haiku and tanka is one of the most restorative and satisfying things you can do.

      One of the things with reading haiku is the joy of reading slowly and contemplating the work, so im glad to report that I’ve got a lot left of that book to read. Definitely recommend you pick it up yourself, but ill send you my current favorite in a bit

      Liked by 1 person

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