You’re probably thinking to yourself: “NOT ANOTHER JAPANESE SHORT FORM???”

Sure, why not. Today we’re presenting the RYŪKA.
The RYŪKA is an untitled poem usually consisting of four units
(often treated as separate stand alone lines when romanized or translated)
standardly with the following pattern of onji (sounds, syllables):
where as, the Japanese Tanka is 5-7-5-7-7. 
There are other variations of Ryūka such as
7-5-8-6 or
5-5-8-6 or
longer Ryūka with 8-8-8-8-8-8-8…-6.

SARA’S SELECTION:  (three different examples):

Petals of apricot roses
texture of velvet puppy ears
fragrance floats, scents air around you
spring turning to summer


Stormy blue ocean, whitecaps
air is thick with salt
seagulls squawk, flapping wings fill sky
thunder blasts warning


Neon whizzes past
green, blue, and ruby
hummingbirds discover feeder
needled beaks poke nectar



WALTER’S WORDS (three separate Ryūka):

Witness the beauty of nature
in boundless glory we behold
created to be cherished; loved
worshiped above all else

in the clearing herons land
long flight has ended
rest has come to wings of passion
soon to resume journey
(7, 5,8,6)
serenity lives
beneath the bright sun
lovers find strength in her warmth; light
caresses touch their hearts

192 thoughts on “INFORM POETS – RYŪKA

    clouds float in otherwise blue sky
    Sun hides behind the moving clouds
    Seagulls dive for scurrying crabs
    Beach combers amble on.

  2. Walt & Sara, Thank you for the fun form and the wonderful examples. Was not sure how to go ’til I read yours. 🙂 Will have to try the other variations later.

  3. Thank you for an enormously fun poetic form. I didn’t know about this one, and although it seems slightly nude without a title, I do think I’ll try more of these. Possibly adding a title – just as I feel slightly nude without wearing a belt.



    The sky is too small for thunder
    The trees are too heavy from leaves
    Wind blows, and rain falls in a fist
    There’s a spot on the sun


    Taking a drive in my home town
    Spied rusty shell of red sports car
    Once the envy of all students
    Value more the unseen

  5. the RYŪKA.

    Fear mocks in cold and bold attire
    But He, above life’s tearful care
    Is there: higher and greater than
    Mankind’s despair: gentle, the Hand
    That some misunderstand and hate
    But God is great and He is love
    While man debates vast galaxies
    Beneath His whispers move


    Velvet vespers tickle trees
    Waft, silk-soft, aloft
    Clothed in mist-mauve benedictions
    Over dusk’s stilly croft


    White caps stun green sweeps
    Robin rogue protests
    This crest of crystal confusion
    A snow day in mid-May

    Aligning myself with nature,
    I step outside humanity,
    leave behind all human deceits
    and warble with the birds

  7. If I were to title this one, it would be 11-12-14.

    Repeated events cause worry
    Test after repeated test failed
    Further measures necessary
    With concerns, family gathers
    Prayers to the Heavenly Father
    Tears shed for possible letdown
    Patient ready for whatever
    The surgeon’s knife awaits

    © Earl Parsons

  8. This also goes with PA napkin prompt

    Scribble some words on a napkin
    Tuck it away in your pocket
    It might become a published poem
    Or dissolve in laundry

  9. Pingback: Peace found in a RYŪKA | echoes from the silence

  10. 5-5-8-6

    She does not see him
    She does not hear him
    She acts as if he isn’t there
    Yet her father loves her


    The magic’s in the moment
    The moment is now
    Don’t dare miss this magic moment
    It won’t happen again


    It followed me around for years
    I ignored that still quiet voice
    Then one day the volume increased
    That day I met my Lord

    in folds of milky white linen
    single sooty smudged fingerprint
    tears spilled from mascara’d lashes
    you tried for composure

  12. 5-7-5-7-7.
    there in candlelight
    smiling you lift fork to lips
    take a dainty bite
    tongue running across your teeth
    a soft breath before you speak

    There are other variations of Ryūka such as
    7-5-8-6 or
    5-5-8-6 or
    longer Ryūka with 8-8-8-8-8-8-8…-6.

  13. ~
    there in candlelight
    smiling you lift fork to lips
    take a dainty bite
    tongue running across your teeth
    a soft breath before you speak~


    the flame flickers as you exhale
    nonchalant I wait
    in the far too dark dining room
    your fork clinks on your plate


    darling – been thinking
    been thinking my dear
    click of crystal shattering
    heart cracking softly


    there at our candlelit table
    you place your napkin on your plate
    arrange your frozen face, pat your hair
    perfectly ending us



    After school, two five-year-old boys
    Hug and cry in the parking lot
    As one is moving far away
    And how would it be possible
    To span that large of a distance
    When you are two five-year-old boys
    Whose parents are not acquainted
    And all there is left to do is
    Hold each other and cry

  15. Here are three more, and that’s it for now, or I’ll have to consider admission to the Betty Ford Clinic. These little guys are addictive!

    Three Variations on a Ryūka


    I made wishes on mindless stars
    The full moon pulling song from me
    But words died in my throat that day
    My face was stained with tears


    A robin’s singing to me
    Such a sturdy song
    A simple summer memory
    A sharp and broken tone


    The sun has its ways
    A flat-footed chase
    I’ve left you for the sea again
    I’ll meet you in the wind

    I. (form constraint: 8/8/8/6)
    II. (form constraint: 7/5/8/6)
    III. (form constraint: 5/5/8/6)

  16. Thanks Sara and Walter for starting us on this journey with wonderful examples. Here is mine. I think I’ll just call it:


    Parched earth, perilous dust to dust
    Scorching mockery, pain and loss;
    Upward lament, Elijah prayers.
    Breathe! Petrichor–then rain.

    Daunting clouds fill the graying sky
    Air builds to pulsating substance
    Trees shimmer, commence ballet dance
    Branches sway to silent rhythm
    Flowers dip their bright showy heads
    Swirling leaves ape downy feathers
    Birds seek nests, rabbits find burrows
    Others head for sheltered retreats
    Gate pounds like a big bass drum
    Door, windows secured, wind-chime sings
    Hovering lines hold billowing clothes
    Blue ball skitters across parched lawn
    Lightning flashes, low thunder rolls
    Eerie quiet settles on land
    The awaited rain falls.


    the sun rises to greet the day
    a grand display filled with promise;
    hope. We cope with life’s obstacles,
    the speed bumps we must all traverse.
    But the worst mistake we can make
    is hiding ourselves from her light,
    choosing to fade into darkness.
    Night is just the shadow of day.
    It refreshes us, gives us pause.
    We revel in her cause.

  19. Thanks Walt and Sara for this fun form. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the blooms. Late posting but wanted to share these from my beach week.

    Hypothesize, hypothesize,
    I ponder on the line that lies,
    hypotenuse, from me to sea.
    My thoughts are caught and freed.

    “Cut your bait in two,” his face frowned.
    “and you can fish all day. If not,
    you waste your bait,” the old man said.
    “As well as time”, I smiled.

    I fed a thousand fish today
    I fed them bait and time and mind
    I fed them cries and frowns and sighs
    but none replied in kind.

    The green line slackens, catches wind,
    then tightens with waves in the surf.
    However Ocean answers me,
    calm and peace are my catch.

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