Writing with structure and rules is always a challenge for me.
I took some pieces of poems I haven’t been able to finesse yet and make tanka with them. The challenge is both the syllable count and the turning point line. Poets.org describes it this way,
“The Japanese tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form.
In many ways, the tanka resembles the sonnet, certainly in terms of treatment of subject. Like the sonnet, the tanka employs a turn, known as a pivotal image, which marks the transition from the examination of an image to the examination of the personal response. This turn is located within the third line, connecting the kami-no-ku, or upper poem, with the shimo-no-ku, or lower poem.”


Kentucky Warbler
trills and sways the coneflower
calling paler girls
and the memory of a boy
too pretty for me to keep

October that year
I missed the leaves turning gold
and never noticed
corn ripe for the harvester’s slice
just your cool breath on my neck

Coyote trots alone
her red bird meal softly held
limp now in her mouth
nodding our heads as we pass
dawn clocks the start of my shift