Poem a Day for April – Day 17 – Tanka

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.  This is day 17.

17th April


Today I’ve done 3 x Tanka. A Tanka is a Japanese form, of 5 lines, with 5,7,5,7,7 syllables respectively.  I moved into a new place about 3 months ago, not far from the Adelaide Hills. The wildlife has been active in my backyard recently.


Backyard Tanka

A blue tongue lizard

gazes from  under my shed

flickering, watching

awaiting my departure

to slink on his scaly way


a group of possums

nightly run over my roof

drumming a rhythm

that even Ginger Baker

might tip his hat and applaud


next door neighbour’s cat

smugly struts along my drive

I send it packing

with a carefully placed boot

up its hairy feline arse




copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

5 thoughts on “Poem a Day for April – Day 17 – Tanka

  1. love these; love the tanka as a literary form; have only written two successful ones, both published as childrens poems.

    • I’m always a bit reluctant to ‘dip into’ forms I don’t understand, and tanka is one such. I think adhering to the mechanics of the form is about all I’m achieving. I’m sure there’s a whole ‘spiritual’ dimension that I’m not even addressing. However, when you’re committed to a poem a day, you don’t have much time to think.

      • I have the same problem, Mike , with my vow of writing two short stories a month: if I get an idea, even a strong opening, I go with it and where the story takes me. haven;t much timew to deliberate

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