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By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Cooler than haiku, the tanka is a classical Japanese verse-form that predates its more famous friend. Flouting the oriental artistic maxim that 'less is more', it expands into five lines (adding a couplet to the haiku's three). That said, it still demands sufficient brevity and adherence to its syllabic rules (5/7/5-7/7) to make the writer work to achieve an effective poem.
Those of you kind enough to read my stuff with any regularity will know that my default style is what I term contemporary lyricism, poetry falling somewhere between a fixed rhyme scheme and free verse, employing variable meter and stress, internal rhymes and assonance to create a thematic and rhythmic flow. Writing a tanka for this week's blog proved an interesting discipline. I've created one, as you'll find below, but my notebook is scattered with a dozen attempts and alternate takes as I wrestled to make it both meaningful and succinct.
In classical Japanese verse, both haiku and tanka generally concerned themselves with observations on nature; the tanka, by virtue of its two extra lines, afforded some space for reflection on the observation. I've tried at least to adhere to the spirit of that tradition in my own composition.
In a week when scientists have once again issued dire warnings about the seriousness of greenhouse-gases and their impact on global warming, and as the political parties in the UK general election have been addressing the problem of climate change in their manifestos, I figured that is where my focus should lie.
This, then, is all about mankind's short-sighted fossil fuel foolishness which threatens eventually to make a funeral pyre of our pretty planet unless there is a concerted change of attitude and agenda.
Petrol Tanka
Sure is a stern test
of how mature a species
we may prove to be:
fossil fueled cinderball
or green paradise regained?
That's all folks, thanks for reading, S ;-) Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


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