Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #8 – TIME & LAUGHTER

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 dropped in the next few months)

This election has been hard on all of us. I’m an empathic writer and just could not muster the strength to write last week. Good news… my fairy nymphs have begun whispering their tales to me once again, although, the story has changed. It’s time to forge ahead! I am going to use my NaNoWritMo time to flesh out the new book. It was never about word count for me. It was about writing daily. As we said in the Air Force – Onward and Upward! ❤

SO, NOW: LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO CREATE THIS EXCITING POETRY FORM. Did these instructions help last week? Here they are again, as a reminder:

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.

Original 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.

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 in the last two lines give us your opinion or thoughts about that mind-picture.

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 took part 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 Fotoflexer, Picmonkey, 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 7th CHALLENGE USING THE WORDS – CELEBRATE & WATCH: (I hope you are visiting the other participants. We learn from each other. <3)

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Poetry Prompt Challenge #7 Celebrate & Watch | Annette Rochelle Aben

Celebrate & Watch | thoughts and entanglements

Squirreling | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo 

Tanka – Celebrate/Watch | Mother Willow

Watching as you Celebrate | imanikingblog

Holiday Season Unfurling | Stutter-Stepping Heart

Celebrate and Watch #Tanka | Potholes in the Road of Life

patterns in the sky | rivrvlogr


What an excellent job everybody did this week.

Here is our Tanka Highlight for this week from Pat at Thoughts & Entanglements

bright lively colors
creeping across the garden –
celebrate autumn
sitting by the firepit
loosely lost in reflection

Each week I will highlight a Tanka to share with all of you. ❤

Since you did so well last week, are you ready to have another go at it?

Here are the two words for this week’s challenge: TIME & LAUGHTER

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

There are many different meanings to these words. Have fun and experiment.

Autumn of 2016

Autumn softly slips –
as time advances forward
countdown to the end,
laughter filled days of summer
suspended by winter’s woes.

~Colleen Chesebro~

Winter 2016



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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.

60 thoughts on “Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #8 – TIME & LAUGHTER

    1. Oh, good. I was at a total loss for words that were uplifting. We have enough dismal news, we don’t need it on our blogs too! 😀 ❤


    1. You’re welcome, Bernadette. Tanka poetry is like a mini story and the author gets to share their thoughts. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a child, I loved pictures of Colorado and dreamed that one day I could live there. Because of this, my sister arranged for me to visit 2 of her friends who lived on a mountain 8000 feet up (either June or July…too long ago to remember). They owned a cabin outside Denver and their view was magnificent. The first night I was there, I did all right. The second night I experienced altitude sickness. That’s when providence decreed they should be *blessed* with 4 feet of snow in 1 night. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL. YUP! Last year at this time we had just moved from Florida. We were in our new house one week and we got a blizzard that I haven’t seen the likes of in years. Ron and I looked at each other and wondered if we did the right thing. LOL. We will break records today – 70+ degrees for the next two days. Thursday, the bottom falls out. 😀


            1. I think I typed that wrong. 70 degrees, actually 78 degrees today. No, the coldest we got in Colorado was maybe 5 degrees last year. Now, in Montana we had -40 degrees ambient, not a wind chill. Sorry for the misunderstanding.


    1. Thank you, Erika. I just found you in spam! NOOOOO! Please contact WP and let them know your comments are going into spam. Hugs. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Teagan. I’m trying. I still haven’t got back to writing my WIP. 😥❤️


  1. Hi Colleen, I have made a huge mistake with my Tanka. For some inexplicable reason I have posted it on a different site ‘Potholes in the Road of Life’. Greg has kindly pointed this out to me, but how do I get it from his site to you? Should I just re-send the whole thing to you?
    Sorry, but I am nor that au-fait with technology that means more than clicking on a button! Very best wishes, Norma (Norma’s Natterings,The Lone Writer)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Go into your post and put the http address of my post into your post. You can delete Greg’s address. Then update the post. That should work. No worries. No stress. 😘


      1. Hi Colleen, thank you for the excellent instructions. However, I tried to do as you suggested but got into a hopeless mess. I (hopefully) have resubmitted my Tanka again.
        I am determined to master this technology thing, it is the future and I need to embrace it fully. Thanks for your help. Norma

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Norma. You can do it this way also… Here is the http address (the address that shows at the top of your web browser) of my Tanka Tuesday post: Go to this post and copy the http address of your post. Then, put that in a comment to me. That way I can find you. I haven’t been able to locate your tanka yet. No worries. I’ll help you. ❤


            1. OK. You must create a post on your blog just like you always do. Then copy the http address of my post and place it in your post. That is the problem.


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