#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 280, 7/12/22, #SpecificForm: Lanturne or Lanterne


Last month, I asked Lisa, the VerseSmith to select a syllabic form for us to learn more about. Her choice was the lanturne or lanterne. The lanturne is a kind of shape poetry. Many say it originated from Japan, but I found no evidence to support that claim.

The lanturne is a five-line verse shaped like a Japanese lantern with a syllabic pattern of one, two, three, four, one. (1, 2, 3, 4, 1).

This week, write a lanturne poem or a series of lanturne poems. (A series gets you extra credit, by the way). The only thing I ask is that you do not use “ing” ending words to satisfy the word count.


Wikipedia.org shares:

“A lanterne is a cinquain form of poetry, in which the first line has one syllable and each subsequent line increases in length by one syllable, except for the final line that concludes the poem with one syllable (1-2-3-4-1). Its name derives from the lantern shape that appears when the poem is aligned to the center of the page.

Each line of the lanterne is able to stand on its own, and while the poem may or may not be given a title, the title of a lanterne sometimes functions as an integral part of the poem, working as a ‘sixth’ line.”


Antonia Sorin, from The Pen & the Pad, shares a detailed post on how to write a Lanterne poem:

The lantern is a short shape poem from Japan describing a specific one syllable noun, such as a feeling, a thing, or an abstract idea. The lantern poem takes the form of a hanging lantern, going from short to wider as the poem goes on, and then becoming short again in the final line. The purpose of the lantern poem is to illuminate the subject and re-imagine or personalize it for the reader, not just to simply define it.

Make the paragraph center-aligned, in a word processing program. If using pen and paper, write in the middle of the page.

Choose a one syllable noun. This will serve as both the topic of your poem and the first line. For example, “Bed.”

Describe the noun in two syllables for the second line. It can be be either one word or two words. In my example, it could be “gentle.”

Describe the noun in three syllables for the third line. The lantern shape should start becoming noticeable, with the poem getting slowly wider with each line. For the sample poem, I’ll use, “Soft pillows.”

Describe the noun in four syllables for the fourth line. This is the widest line in the poem. For this line in the sample poem, I’ll use, “Sleep, jump, play, love.”

Choose a one syllable noun that is a synonym or a reinterpretation of the original noun for the fifth and final line. If the original noun was “bed,” the final noun could be “rest,” and thus the poem redefines a bed as rest. Note our finished example poem would look like this (although it would be center-aligned) (I can’t center align selected text in the quote block):



Soft pillows

Sleep, jump, play, love


The lantern shape can also be thought of as a bell shape.

Don’t be afraid to use a simile in the second, third or fourth lines. A simile is a comparison using “like” or “as.”

Sorin, Antonia. “How to Write a Lantern Poem” last modified July 11, 2022. https://penandthepad.com/write-lantern-poem-4928414.html

This is the example poem below. I see where the addition of a title would give this lanterne poem more punch. So keep that in mind when you craft your own poetry. Also, I prefer syllabic poetry to have each line “un-capitalized,” unlike freestyle poetry which capitalizes each line to separate thoughts. The syllable count per line defines the poem’s flow. The capitalization is unnecessary.


soft pillows 
sleep, jump, play, love 

© Antonia Sorin

Here are some sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables:

Not sure how to write syllabic poetry?

READ THIS FIRST: How to Craft Syllabic Poetry

Tanka Tuesday Cheat Sheet






Word Craft: Prose & Poetry – The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry


  • Follow the directions above. Write your syllabic poem. Try not to use “ing” ending words to satisfy the word count.
  • Post it on your blog. Include a link back to the challenge in your post. (copy the URL: https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Copy your link into the Mr. Linky below (underlined with a hyperlink). You might have to delete your previous entry.
  • Please click the small checkbox on Mr. Linky about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.

The screenshot below shows what Mr. Linky looks like inside. Add your name, and the URL of your post. Click the box about the privacy policy (It’s blue). As everyone adds their links to Mr. Linky, you can view the other submissions by clicking on the Mr. Linky link on the challenge post. All the links will show in the order of posting.


Follow the schedule listed below:

Now, have fun and write some lanturne poetry!

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 Poetry.com 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.

59 thoughts on “#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 280, 7/12/22, #SpecificForm: Lanturne or Lanterne

  1. Thank you, Colleen. I’ve added my contribution — a first time at trying a lanturne. 😊


      1. Also it’s not letting me like any post or comment (either here or at Carrot Ranch… I think it’s my internet browser) 😦 so this is just to say I do see them! Thank you!


  2. Lovely, Colleen. And forgive what I said about looking for Mr. Linky in your other post. I seem to be a tad bit lost these days. Forgive. Like you, I could not follow the part about making the first line a single word noun. And I liked what resulted. Thanks for having me. All the best to you this summer.
    (My next door neighbors are in your neck of the woods for the next ten days… there to take part in their daughter’s wedding– just sharing– imagining they might just bump into you).


  3. Thank you! I love your Prosper series. I didn’t go with Antonia’s structure either. I tried to title mine so it goes with the poems. Summer.


    1. Margaret, Mr. Linky is on the challenge post under the purple arrow. Click the link and follow the directions. I loved your Lanterne series!! It’s well done and you should add a poetry category to your blog so you can participate in the weekly challenge. You never know… you might find a new calling. 💜


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