Tuesday, November 02, 2004

To write a tanka

To write a tanka
under a tamarind tree,
leaves falling on me--
for this alone I would go
back to Santa Lucia.


It seems that I'm hooked on writing tanka since I joined an e-group of tanka poets, which is a very active group. In contrast with haiku, tanka allows for an explicit expression of emotion. On All Saints'Day, all I did was to surf the internet for tankas.

The poem above, which is my tenth tanka, is an attempt to write tanka in the traditional 5-7-5-7-7 form. Not just to follow the rule, but because of the beautiful, musical rhythm it evokes. Santa Lucia, by the way, is a (still) rustic coastal town, north of the Philippines. We have our ancestral home there, at the back of which is an old tamarind tree where I sit every sunrise or sunset, to view the ricefields, the distant mountain slopes, the passing vehicles in the distant highway, and the dome of an old church. It's been a long time since my last visit there. The house is practically abandoned.

My interest in writing tanka according to its traditional form was sparked by a "discovery" of the website http://www.japanpoem.com which offers a greeting card service, where each card features a tanka by a japanese poet of choice. The poetry there are excellent!




5 Comments:

Blogger mael brigde said...

i like the tankas--very different, eh? but i must say that every time i read about your empty old home i feel a greater wish that i could go there and sit beneath the tamarind, watch the moon through the old window, and rest my weary head in a quiet room.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Stan said...

Such a beautiful poem, Roh. It makes me feel the same ar mael. Shall the three of us wander there together and sit under that tree. And maybe, for Mael's sake, doze off for a while.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love the poem. i'm not much into poetry other than that written by pablo neruda but this one is beautiful.

jey
http://spoonfuls.blogdrive.com

8:30 AM  
Blogger Stan said...

Hi Roh, just to remind you in case you forgot that you asked me about the face on Mars some time ago. I put a response in after your comment.

9:09 AM  
Blogger pureplum said...

Thanks for the introduction to tankas. I really like your writings and thoughts. I'll be back to visit!

3:37 AM  

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