It sounded fun when we first discussed it; find a poem published previously in one of our poetry challenges, and write a tanka in response. Tanka, you will remember, is a Japanese poetry form consisting of seven lines. In Japanese the syllable counts are in the pattern 5/7/5/7/7. It's like an extended haiku where the last two lines dig a little deeper or extend the emotional impact of the images contrasted in the first three lines. Amelia Fielden explains it well in her blog Tanka as Diary. Kelly has a great explanation of tanka on her blog here. I don't like the awkward constriction of forcing the images into those syllable counts, so I agree with her that it should really just be short/long/short/long/long, and keep it as brief as possible with really clear, crisp images that snap.
So, the Poetry Sister's poem, going back 13 years (REALLY. We've been writing together that long!) I spent some time relishing their blogs and admiring their gorgeous work.
Mary Lee joined us in our writing prompts this year, and has been sharing her delightful poems. She wrote this one about a day on the water, and it really struck me.
My kayak slides
skimming over the clouds
reflected on calm waters.
No answer for the loon
crying down the bay
Sara wrote about a beautiful tree with twisted limbs in this challenge. That tree has stayed with me.
Always seeking sun,
a tree's determined pursuit
twists toward light.
She bears vigorous pruning
having pushed aside old ghosts.
Kelly wrote a lovely triolet about the amber glow of sunlight in fall. My tanka:
Fall's first days still green -
sunlight emerald through the trees.
One brief chill shivers
and now autumn glow descends
making the cherry leaves gold.
Laura wrote brilliantly about Fall in the style of e. e. cummings. I grabbed her words because I love them so much, and twisted out a tanka.
Summer's abrupt end
drops golden from that blue sky -
a brittle scurry.
Our bright, waiting earth
pauses for snap and winter.
Liz wrote a pastoral poem in Fall of 2019, with sunflowers. That image captured me.
Fields of sunflowers
facing the way the sun shines;
a blaze of hope.
Even when the heads hang down
the seeds ripen, bent towards us.
Trisha wrote a tritina last year that was a revisiting of an older challenge. I was inspired by her words and the image she chose for it.
The plinth of Jackson
bears another; he's replaced
with empty air.
Hope rides a horse of blue breeze
and graffiti claims this space.
Tanita wrote an etheree on the theme of her beloved California. I've only been there once, (I'm a Pennsylvania girl) and this is what I remember:
LA breakfasts were
a laugh; have a smoke or two
and Orange Juice picked
straight off your own tree,
but all the hills were burnt brown.
That was fun - responding to all my Poetry Sisters and looking back over their posts. Next month, for the last Friday Poetry in October we are going to meet the Challenge of writing Wordplay Poems, as invented by Nikki Grimes.Here is a description she gives for the form, in an interview on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ lovely blog. (scroll down through the interview for the poem prompts). Give it a try, write your Wordplay Poem and post it on October 29th! Share it with #PoetryPals if you post to social media, too!
Take a look at what the Poetry Sisters have published on their blogs:
and enjoy all the Friday Poetry goodness at Laura's blog this weekend!