Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #6 WIND & GRACE

Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome to the TANKA CAFÉ. Are you ready to get groovy with your poetry? Then, you’re in the right place! Pull up a chair, order some coffee or tea and let’s write some TANKA poetry.

(Please note: I changed my blog name and address to will be discontinued in the next few months)

It’s November 1st! 2016 is almost over!


I have received many questions about how to write a Tanka poem. It is worth taking a moment to check the best way to create a Tanka.

At, there is an excellent discussion on how to write a Tanka. This is part of a lesson you would have to pay for so I have quoted the best part of that site. I color coded the things for you to consider when writing your own Tanka:

“Tanka poems are a traditional Japanese style of poetry that follows a set pattern. In this lesson, you’ll learn the structure of the tanka, be introduced to its subject matter, and be presented with examples of this type of poetry.

Tanka Poetry Example

the color of the cherry blossom

has faded in vain

in the long rain

while in idle thoughts

I have spent my life.

– Ono no Komachi (circa 850) Original Japanese Tanka

You may be familiar with haiku, a traditional style of Japanese poetry containing only three lines. The poem above is a tanka, another style of Japanese poetry. Tanka poems are quite similar to haiku, and in this lesson, you’ll learn how they are structured and what you might expect to find in a tanka poem.

Tanka Structure and Content

Tanka poems, when written in Japanese, follow a pattern of syllables 5-7-5-7-7. In other words, the first and third lines contain only five syllables each, while the second, fourth, and fifth lines have seven syllables. When translated into English the syllable count is usually thrown off, which is why our example has nine syllables in the first line. There would only be five in the original Japanese version.

Additionally, each tanka is divided into two parts. The first three lines are the upper phrase, and the last two lines are the lower phrase.

The upper phrase typically contains an image, and the lower phrase presents the poet’s ideas about that image.

Many traditional poetic forms have a turn, a place where the poem shifts, and for the tanka, this happens between the upper and lower phrase. In our example, the poet presents an image of faded cherry blossoms, and after the turn, she compares her own life to the wasted beauty of those blossoms.

While haiku poems are usually about nature, tanka is often personal reflections on love and other strong emotions. Tanka also uses figurative language. In the example, above, the poet creates a metaphor connecting the wilted cherry blossoms to her life.”

My example:

Writing a Tanka is like writing a Haiku (5/7/5) and adding two more lines. See how much more of a “visual image” you get in your mind’s eye? You end up with lines of syllables totaling, 5/7/5/7/7.

Did you recognize the pivot in the third line? We start talking about my solitude, and then we switch to talking about the leaves of red and gold. The words are all connected and are talking about my response to autumn. It is important to try to join your feelings into your Tanka.

Visit Jean Emrich at She gives excellent instructions on how to write your feelings into this poetry form.

I hope this helps to explain the “TURN,” or “PIVOT.” Remember: create an image in your mind with the first three lines, and then in the last two lines give us your opinion or thoughts about that image.

Here are some great sites that will help you write your Tanka.

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site for all my Haiku and Tanka poems. Click on the “Poetry Workshop” tab to create your Tanka. Here are the rules for the Tanka form:

I will publish the Tanka Tuesday prompt at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Denver
Time). That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world.

How Long Do You Have and Your Deadline: You have a week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Monday at 12:00 P.M. (noon). This will give me a chance to add the links from everyone’s Tanka post from the previous week, on the new prompt I send out on Tuesday. I urge everyone to visit the blogs and comment on everyone’s Tanka poem.

The rules are simple.

I will give you two words that you need to use (in some form) in the writing of your Tanka.

The two words can be used in any way you would like to use them. Words have different definitions, and you can use the definitions you like. Feel free to use synonyms for the words.

To do a Ping Back: Copy the URL (the HTTP:// address of my post) for the current week’s Challenge and paste it into your post. You may also place a copy of your URL of your Tanka Post in the comments of the current week’s Challenge post.

People from the challenge may visit you and comment or “like” your post. I also need at least a Ping Back or a link in the comments section to know you participated and to include you in the Weekly Review section of the new prompt on Tuesday.

BE CREATIVE. Use your photos and create “Visual Tanka’s” if you wish, although it is not necessary. You can use FotoflexerPicmonkey, or, or any other program that you want to make your images. Click the links to go to the programs.

I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your TANKA.

You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Tanka Tuesday Challenge Post and place it in your post:

HERE’S WHO JOINED US LAST WEEK FOR OUR 5th CHALLENGE USING THE WORDS – SHAPES & HEART: (I hope you are visiting the other participants. We learn from each other. <3)

Tanka Tuesday: Shapes & Heart – Image & Word

neelwritesblog/poem/tanka/Silver’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #5 SHAPES & HEART/25/10/2016 | neelwritesblog

Shapes and Heart – ladyleemanila

Silver’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #5 Shapes & Heart | Annette Rochelle Aben

Creative day – My words, My life

Shapes & Heart | thoughts and entanglements

Tanka – Shapes/Heart | Mother Willow

Shape and Heart #Tanka | Potholes in the Road of Life

long distance longing | rivrvlogr

To Withstand the Storm – Leara writes and other creative things…

Shape of the Heart | imanikingblog

To Tell You – Naa Prapancham, My World

Lil Hearts – Naa Prapancham, My World

Silver’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #5 SHAPES & HEART – Always a Writer

Shapes & Heart – Thoughts & Entanglements

Creative Day – My Words, My Life


Echo – Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Love Shapes the Heart – Stutter-Stepping Heart

I am thrilled with the creativity you displayed in last week’s Tanka poems. Since you did so well last week, are you ready to have another go at it?

Here are our two words for this week’s challenge: WIND & GRACE

 (any forms of the words, AND don’t forget that you can use synonyms)

I got creative this week and used “serpentine” for the word wind (as in twist or coil), and I used the word, “adorned,” for grace. There are many different meanings to these words that you can tap into. Have fun and experiment.

The Magnolia

Serpentine limbs –
adorned with bright pink blossoms
beauty exalted.
A life lived with dignity
rooted benevolently.

Colleen Chesebro


First I created the image with the first three lines:

Serpentine limbs –

adorned with bright pink blossoms

beauty exalted.

In the last two lines, I gave my opinion or personal thoughts.

A life lived with dignity

rooted benevolently.

COME ON! Join in and share your Tanka poem.

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

53 thoughts on “Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #6 WIND & GRACE

      1. TY for taking your time and fishing me out of your spam folder. I still don’t understand why some of my comments are finding themselves there.

        I will try directly through my desktop and read/comment to your wonderful creations (postings). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Please let WP know this. They have some kind of a glitch. I’ve had a couple of you have this happen. Hugs my friend. ❤


            1. Go to your profile in settings. There is a place that you can send them a message. They will get back with you about the problem.


    1. It was the last two lines that made the Tanka, I think. I surprised myself, I can tell you! ❤


      1. Colleen–I was victim to some WP glitches, so I don’t know whether that accounts for the fact that it doesn’t appear I made your round-up list for the last tanka (heart and shapes). I checked to see if you’d left a comment on my post for that prompt, and I don’t see you. You’re under no obligation at all–I’m just trying to find out where I got lost in the shuffle 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep… you were in my spam folder. You should let WP know that. Sorry. What a mess. I will add you to the post.


          1. Glad you found me–thanks! In addition to advising WP, I had posted a note to readers to check their spam for me–so those who read me regularly knew right away 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marje. I like them because the last two lines give the author’s personal thoughts or observations. I give some instructions above. You might like it. ❤ Hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Neel. I love the Tanka because the poet can add their thoughts and observations. A really neat idea. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I would have loved to join this fun but with my life is so full these days that I am wondering how I keep up with it all.

    I would like to let you know that Bernadette and I have decided to pick up writers quote starting from this week and just wanted a clearance from you.

    Here’s Bernadette’s proposal below – I hope it’s okay with you and Ronovan that we choose to continue running with your idea?

    Jacqueline and I invite you to join in on our blogging event called The Writer’s Quote Challenge. We have decided to pick up the baton that Colleen and Ronovan have handed off.

    So for our inaugural week here is the prompt:
    “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca

    We are continuing the same format and here that is: there are no rules to follow. Either make up your own sayings or use a quote from a famous author that you find gives you inspiration.

    Each Thursday, we will post the prompt and all you have to do is participate!

    On your own blog post do a pingback to this post and make sure to “like” or “comment” on everyone else’s post. A pingback is when you embed (or copy) the URL of my weekly prompt into your own blog post.

    Make sure to check our weekly prompt to see if your entry is there. You can copy URL of your blog post and include it in the comments section of my original weekly prompt if that works better for you.

    Copy the badge above and include it on your own post. Tag your post on your own blog as “The Writer’s Quote Challenge,” so we can find the posts in the reader.

    Jacqueline and I are looking for more hosts to join in the fun. So if you would like to pick up the challenge of hosting, just let one of us know.


    1. That’s amazing news!! By the way, I found this message in spam. 😦 Yes, please go forward with Writer’s Quote Wednesday. I am excited to see you both make it a success. It makes me feel wonderful to know it touched so many people. I will try to stop by when I can. Hugs to both you and Bernadette! ❤ Love you guys!


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