The Tanka is a Japanese poem of five lines. The first and third are composed of five syllables, and the others seven. In Japanese, tanka is often written in one straight line, but in English and other languages, we usually divide the lines into the five syllabic units: 5-7-5-7-7.


Crucified with Christ

A thief on each side –
One mocking; hurling insults.
One repentant heart
Recognized his Messiah
… and that’s all it took.

In honor of Good Friday. Inspired by Luke 23:39-43.




I walk with my sheep,
it’s always just me and ewe.
It’s my firm belief,
as I get to know my sheep,
all my sheep will know me too!

133 thoughts on “IN-FORM POET – TANKA

  1. Now Showing, In a Shoe Near You

    In Technicolor!
    I’ve an arresting array
    of colors on me
    but it’s not from a tattoo:
    it’s my lovely broken toe.


    • a-w-w! o-w-w! I feel for you. I stubbed my toe the other morning while turning off my alarm clock! It still hurts! Here’s to two technicolor toes…well, mines mainly purple:)

    • Ooo, ouch. Did that once. Hope to never again. Commiserations, RJ. Hope you can hop around again soon. Love the way you dealt with it here.

  2. In the throes of life
    you yearn to find yourself, but
    the genius of death
    is in the interest of time
    and that’s when you lose yourself.

    • I wonder if we all have those days of imaginative pondering, feeling a bit adrift, a bit lost, a bit unnecessary.

      Good one, Andrea.

  3. …A Tanka…


    My name fell swiftly,
    from lips, lingering wing tips,
    whisked into being,
    sound in eternity’s ear;
    whispered by spring-loose-petal.

    © H.G. @ P.B. 4/4/12

  4. Such Love

    Nails through hands and feet
    A crown of thorns on His head
    Weighted with our sins
    Hung from an ugly cruel cross
    Through it all, He still forgave

  5. Four Easter Tankas

    While I chose my pride
    He chose three nails and a cross
    A spear in his side
    While rivers of holy blood
    Poured in streams of redemption

    While I stood with them
    Scoffing to hide my just fear
    He gave perfect love
    As He bowed His thorn-crowned Head
    Declaring, ‘it is finished’


    While I stood condemned
    Jesus signed my redemption
    With His sacred blood
    And now all who will believe
    May have everlasting life…
    (I was going to stop here, but how can I? One more tanka of humble grateful praise)

    Sing hallelujah
    Lift your voice in joyful praise
    Christ reigns forever
    This King calls us His children
    All we must do is believe

  6. The Way It Is

    One hundred percent
    Mom, I say. Though my daughter’s
    thirty, my desire
    for her well being and bright
    future never goes away.

    • Totally! I remember a DJ saying he asked his mom how old he was when she stopped worrying about him so much (he was in his mid-50’s) She smiled at him and said ‘I’ll let you know’…100% mother, it’s just the way we are.
      Beautiful take on both prompts, my dear.

  7. Granddaughters

    Little, sweet bunnies
    Springy, little, flower cups
    Sprinkled on dresses.
    Sensible shoes to run and
    Seek Easter eggs for baskets. :)! :)!

      • Oh, I know… and my heart melts to see my precious, little Granddaughters enjoying Life’s rituals…! Thank you, Janet.

      • Thanks, Clauds, I could write all day long after observing children living life… just sooo Precious!

  8. Apologies to real Tanka lovers/writers. I’m sure I’m breaking many, many rules with this one, with all the rhyming…but it wanted writing. 😉

    (It hits her like a Tanka)

    An innocent man
    stubborn, crossed arms, took my place;
    born, torn, scorned and thorned
    so that I might be set free
    adorned in his perfect grace.

  9. Posting mine and will return later for commenting.

    Music’s Power

    Strains, soft with whimsy,
    Sliding behind closed eyelids,
    Relax and write now.
    Muse sends song’s delicate voice
    To woo the vision within.

  10. Driver’s Mess

    When sight fails for speed,
    Events scream for attention.
    Metalic paint scrapes,
    Tempers flare for all to see,
    Solving problems with nonsense.

  11. Following the theme of my offering over at PA this morning is this one.

    Dancers’ Prayers

    Drum beats bring dancers,
    Prayers rise to Heaven’s gate.
    Rain’s presence called forth.
    Supplication pleases God
    Who delivers needed rain.

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  13. In Concert

    I hear the music…
    and that’s when I’m transported
    to another place
    where the flutes and trumpets sing:
    I become the melody.


  14. Daily Ritual

    Morning zumba hurts
    Exhausts us both, our bones ache
    Knees and ankles swell
    But we still dance our dance to
    Earn our coffee and bagels

    • !!! 🙂 :)!!! WONDERFUL!!! I start my days with Dancercise and/or jogging on a mini trampoline (to preserve the ankles, feet and knees)! Sooo much FUN!!!

  15. The Economics of Prayer

    She prayed that God would
    spare her family hard times.
    Every day she prayed.
    She did not pay her mortgage
    or insurance, but she prayed.

    Money management
    is not my thing, she confessed.
    Miracles happen!
    I ask God to pay my bills!
    God saves, I spend, no worries.

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  17. Canyon Echoes

    upon high plateau
    Northern lights greet laughing deer
    ancestors whisper
    goddess breathes the morning bright
    by spitting out the sunrise

  18. Calle Berry’s Night

    hazel staff unlocks
    the forest hearth disappeared
    weaving white widows
    braid ambrosia honeycombs
    dancing pucks snatch cedar crown

  19. so many theories
    about “in the beginning;”
    more numerous are
    speculations of the end;
    some mysteries shall remain

    P. Wanken

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