Archive for the ‘Tanka’ Category

Sundry Haiku and Tanka

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Prompted to write a school-related haiku, I ended up with a tanka. I just couldn’t seem to fit this true tale into a mere seventeen syllables:

Classroom clock won’t move,
its hands dulled by droning prof,
who catches my stare
and yells, “If you’re bored, then go.”
Lesson learned — I take my leave.


Continuing with an education theme, I’ve used Three Word Wednesday’s drag, mumble, penetrate prompt in this haiku:

Penetrating mind
who mumbles at his lectern —
a scholarly drag.


Drop the “f” from “flaws”
and you’re left with the word “laws,”
most of which are flawed.


What greater pleasure
than a standing ovation
from the man you love.


Tanka Tuesday

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I took a break from limerick writing to write this pair of tanka:

When haiku won’t do,
when thoughts defy compression
and can’t be contained
in seventeen syllables,
give thanks to plus-sized tanka.


Some art inspires
tears, joy, admiration, love.
Some awakens thought.
And some makes one want to ask:
“Whatever were you thinking?”


Nigh Not Nearly My Forte

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Today I have a bit of fun with two pairs of synonyms:

The words nigh and near
synonyms, and yet just one
sizzles and sings.

Near merely describes,
while the soaring nigh evokes —
close but no cigar.

But don’t pity near
it verbs — something nigh can’t do.
This verse now burned out.


Metier, I hear,
is a forte synonym.
What a grand duo —
one traded for the other —
pianometier music.


(Pompted by nigh from Haiku Heights and Weekend Theme’s metier.)

Undecorated (Haiku and Tanka)

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Blank slate office walls —
Decorate? No one tempted —
temporary work.


Nakedly ringless,
undecorated fingers
robbed of wedding bling.
Married still, but ringed no more.
Replaceable … and yet not.


(Prompted by decorated)

Squirrel Limerick (Tanka Too)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

From time to time, sundry animals (squirrels, raccoons) find our New York City home alluring. While these incidents provide great fodder for poetry and prose, I could live without them. If only…

Our latest animal invasion involves a stubborn squirrel who has taken up residence in an upstairs window AC — the AC that cools my tiny writing-room. Consequently, Mrs. Squirrel (I fear it’s a she) has become a constant companion.

The good news is that our squirrel nuisance has given birth to two poems — a limerick and a tanka. Both poems were also inspired by Big Tent’s prompt to write about being scared of an animal. (I’m more annoyed than scared, but close enough.)

The limerick pretty much wrote itself, but the tanka was a bigger challenge. Why? Because I felt compelled to use the three words (loud, persuasive, riches) dictated by today’s Three Word Wednesday prompt.

First, my limerick:

Dear Squirrel
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Squatter-squirrel, please scat — go away.
This is my house — no wildlife! Okay?
And stop building that nest
In my AC, you pest!
It isn’t a squirrel chalet.

And now my tanka:

Loud screams and clamor
unpersuasive to squirrel,
planting nest riches
under my window AC,
her womb, I fear, rich with life.

(Also posted at I Saw Sunday and Write A Letter Wednesday, which asks for letters to a pet. Once again … close enough.)

Author’s Note: You can find more of my animal humor here and my squirrel humor and verse here.

UPDATE: Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day, January 21st!

Tastes and Sounds (Haiku and Tanka)

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Feverish hostess
serves chickpeas dropped on the floor—
a guest spills the beans.


Sick party-goer
coughs and sneezes on buffet—
chilly reception.


The corner bakeshop
seems a buttery temptress,
but smells can deceive.
Pastries seduce, disappoint—
buttery temptress no more.


My first memory:
the sound and the vibration
of a freight train’s roar.
Budding logic says, “Can’t be.”
Sensed pre-birth within the womb?


(My second haiku was inspired by Haiku Heights’ cold prompt. My first memory tanka was inspired by Free Write Fridays and Monday Memories.)

It’s Time To Tanka Beethoven (Tanka)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

It’s Time To Tanka Beethoven
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The King’s Speech film score
gets Desplat an Oscar nod,
but poor Beethoven
is overlooked once again—
He needs a new publicist.

NOTE: Alexandre Desplat’s Oscar-nominated score for The King’s Speech is dominated by the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, specifically Beethoven’s 7th Symphony and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor Concerto. For more information on Beethoven’s frequent appearance in film scores, read Why Beethoven Deserves An Oscar.

Acidic Tanka

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Every so often I break into tanka:

Acidic Tanka
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Pithy recipe:
Turn lemons to lemonade.
Don’t mean to be tart,
Acid, ill-natured, sour—
But sugarcoating’s tasteless.

(Prompted by lemon prompt over at Poets United.)

UPDATE: August 20th is National Lemonade Day.

Epiphany (Tanka)

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Epiphany (Tanka)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

My muse teases me,
Awaiting epiphanies
That never arrive.
So I must go it alone,
Writing until I’m amused.

(Note: Tanka is five line Japanese poetry which pre-dates haiku and whose syllabic form is 5-7-5-7-7. I usually think of it as haiku plus two more 7 syllable lines. My Epiphany Tanka was inspired by the Writers Island epiphany prompt.)

Tempo, Tempo

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Prompted to pay special attention to tempo and pacing, I’ve written a tanka made up entirely of Italian musical tempo terms. (At long last my Cal Arts BFA in Music Performance pays off.)

Tempo, Tempo
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Largo, andante,
Allegro ma non troppo,
Vivace, rallentando,
Allargando al fine.

(You can find more of my musical verse and humor here.)

Ode To A Letter Opener

Monday, June 16th, 2008

This poem started out as a senryu. But 17-syllables weren’t enough to say what I needed to say.  So I added two 7-syllable lines, turning it into my first tanka:

Letter opener
Nearly cast aside as trash
Now my salvation,
Soothing, becalming the itch
That haunts my encasted arm.