Tick Tock: A Tanka


Tick Tock: A Tanka
©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer

long when you’re waiting
short when you’re doing something
slow when earth’s freezing
fast when summer sun’s rising
time’s bending, warping.

Photo credit: Cliff Johnson

In response to Blogging from A to Z Challenge: T is for Tanka.


Tanka, 短歌 “short song” is meant to be filled with personal and emotional expression. The tanka expresses feelings and thoughts regardless of the direction they take. Originally there was also an attempt to connect these thoughts and feelings to nature. The tanka, unlike the haiku, may use figurative expressions such as metaphor or simile. The form is less rigid, more casual than the haiku. It allows the imagination to help the poet express feelings.

The tanka is:

  • syllabic, 31 or less syllables, most commonly 5-7-5-7-7, in variation the lines are best kept with odd numbered syllables.
  • normally but not always a 5 line poem, the 5 line pattern however does seem to prevail.
  • defined by content and style more than the syllabic prescription. But there is still a pattern of short and long lines rather than a metered equal length.
  • written as a personal or emotional expression of themes such as natural beauty, love, the impermanence of live, the activities of the common people
  • composed with the priority of “to be touched by things” “mono no aware” and use of concrete images.

Missed a letter/poem? Read all Poetry from A-Z here.

24 thoughts on “Tick Tock: A Tanka”

  1. Delightful verse, Rosema. Clever, compact, everything placed so well. Reads like an ancient riddle.

    Happy Shakespeare’s birthday! It’s his death-day, too, though I’d just as soon note his birth.

    Hope your weekend’s grand!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! thank you very much for your lovely words! 🙂

      Oh.. interesting to know it’s Shakespeare’s big day when you read this poem. 🙂

      My vacation was great, but work after vacation is chaotic. 😀 I will try to be back soon!


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