Opaque Reflections

I’ve still not caught up from the two weeks off. On Monday, the bathroom renovations kickoff… I’ll sneak in this haiku for #TankaTuesday which features a color and weather! “Opaque reflections” refer to hazy skies… it’s a stretch for weather, I know. See what happens when you get out of practice? 💜

opaque reflections
echoes of a summer sky
purple iris bloom

© Colleen M. Chesebro

“Summer Scents,” haibun

Frank J. Tassone is hosting dVerse today. Here’s what he’s looking for:

Let’s join in the celebration of Summer! Write a haibun that alludes to this hottest of seasons.

New to haibun? The form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.

New to dVerse? Here is what you do:

  • Write a haibun that alludes to Summer.
  • Post it on your personal site/blog.
  • Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
  • Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky.
  • Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • Have fun!

During my walk today, I note the bite of the wind, as if spring somehow could rebuff summer’s torrid advances. To be fair, spring only arrived two weeks ago in my part of Michigan. She’s not had much time to show off her verdant beauty. Yet in this morning serenity, the summer humidity hovers like the finest spiderweb silk grazing my shoulders.

fragile blooms
sweet honeysuckle
summer's bee balm

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Kigo: Japanese Season Words for Crafting Haiku

Kigo (季語, “season word”) is a word or phrase associated with a particular season, most often used in traditional forms of Japanese poetry such as haiku, renga and renku.

Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

Wikipedia provides an excellent definition of haiku:

Haiku is a short verse genre written in one line in Japanese and commonly three lines in English and other languages. It has achieved significant global popularity, having been adapted from Japanese into many other languages. Typical of Japanese haiku is the metrical pattern of 5, 7, and 5 on (also known as morae). Other features include the juxtaposition of two images or ideas with a kireji (“cutting word”) between them, and a kigo, or seasonal reference, usually drawn from a saijiki, or traditional list of such words. Many haiku are objective in their depiction of personal experiences.”


Most haiku written today still follow the ancient tradition by including a kigo. Be aware that most haiku groups and editors of haiku publications insist that haiku should include a kigo. I’m a traditionalist, so anything that does not have a kigo is something else, either senryū or zappai (miscellaneous haikai).

A saijiki (sigh-gee-key) (歳時記, lit. “year-time chronicle”) is a list of kigo (seasonal terms) used in haiku and related forms of poetry.

The following list has been quoted from: Yuki Teikei Haiku Society. I’m not sure that this site is still functional, as many of the site links go to 404 pages. The links below will take you to the site.

The Yuki Teikei Haiku Season Word List

Haiku Seasons

“These season words or kigo are from the 1977-78 Haiku Journal. Originally the list was selected from Japanese saijiki (kigo “dictionaries”) and translated by Kiyoko Tokutomi. Over time words have been added that have seasonal resonance for our predominantly North American members. We present these lists as a guide and aid to English-language writers who want to think about this aspect of haiku in their own writing, as well as in appreciating the haiku of other poets.”

Copyright 1997-2019 All rights reserved.

Season: spring months: late February, March, April, and May; beginning of spring, early spring, departing spring, late spring, lengthening days, long day, mid-spring, spring dream, spring dusk, spring evening, spring melancholy, tranquility, vernal equinox.
Sky and Elements: balmy breeze, bright, haze or thin mist, first spring storm, hazy moon, March wind, melting snow, lingering snow, spring breeze, spring cloud, spring frost, spring moon, spring rain, spring rainbow, spring sunbeam, spring snow, slush, warm (warmth).
Landscape: flooded river/stream/brook, muddy/miry fields, muddy road, spring fields, spring hills, spring mountain, spring river, spring sea, spring tide, red tide.
Human Affairs: balloon, closing the fireplace, kite, shell gathering, grafting, planting or sowing (seeds), plowing or tilling fields, soap bubbles (blown from a pipe or wand), sleeping Buddha, spring cleaning, swing, windmill, April Fools Day/April fool, Boys Day/ carp flag, Dolls Festival, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter ( ~ bonnet/clothes, ~ eggs, coloring/hiding ~ eggs, ~lily, ~ parade, ~ rabbit/chicken/duckling), May Day ( ~ basket, ~ pole), Memorial Day, Mothers Day, Passover, Saint Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day.
Animals: abalone, bee, baby animals (nestlings, fledglings, calf, colt, kitten, puppy, fawn, lamb, etc.), butterfly, bush warbler, cats in love, crane, flying squirrel, frog, horse-fly, lizard, pheasant, robin, mud snail, soaring skylark, stork, swallow, tadpole, whitebait (a fish), hummingbird, nightingale, wild birds’ return (geese, etc.).
Plants: anemone, artichoke, asparagus sprouts, azalea, bracken, bramble, camellia, cherry blossoms, cherry tree, crocus, dandelion, daphne, blossoms or leaf buds of trees and shrubs (almond, apple, apricot, maple, oak, pear, peach, pine, wisteria, etc.), forget-me-not, grass sprouts, hawthorn, hyacinth, lilac, lily of the valley, mustard, pansy, parsley, plum blossoms, plum tree, California poppy, primrose, seaweed or laver (nori), sweet pea, shepherd’s-purse, tulip, violet, willow, pussy willows or willow catkins.
Season: summer months*: June, July, August; beginning of summer, end of summer, midsummer, summer evening, summer morning, summer solstice, short night, slow day.
Sky and Elements: calm morning/evening, cumulus/billowing cloud, cloud peaks, coolness, drought, heat, hot, lightning, ocean fog, rainbow, sea of clouds, south wind, scented breeze, scorching/blazing sun, sudden shower, summer dew, summer fog, summer rain, summer sky, summer sun, summer wind, thunder.
Landscape: clear water, deep tree shade, summer grove, summer hills, summer lake, summer moor, summer mountains, summer sea, summer river, waterfall.
Human Affairs: awning, bare feet, beach umbrella, camp, cooling oneself, fan, fly swatter, fireworks, fountain, ice house, ice water, iced tea, mosquito net, midday nap, mowing grass, nakedness, parasol, perfume, prayers for rain, rattan chair, summer concert/opera, summer hat, summer house, summer vacation, sunburn, sunglasses, sundress, swimming, swimming pool, sweat, wind chimes, weeding, Armed Forces Day, Fathers Day, Fourth of July (Independence Day).
Animals: ant, bat, caterpillar, cicada, cormorant, crab, crayfish, firefly, flea, goldfish, heron, house fly, jellyfish(medusae, Vellella, comb jelly, etc.), kingfisher, louse, moor hen or coot, mosquito, mosquito larvae, moth, silverfish, slug, (garden) snail, snake, spider, summer butterfly, termite, toad, tree frog, trout, silkworm, water beetle.
Plants: amaryllis, barley, summer bracken, bamboo sprouts, cactus flower, carnation, summer chrysanthemum, (blue) cornflower, dahlia, dill flower, foxglove, fuchsia, gardenia, geranium, gerbera, gladiolus, summer/rank grasses/weeds, hibiscus, hollyhock, honeysuckle, hydrangea, iris, lily (calla, daylily, etc.), lotus, marguerite, marigold, mold (mildew), moss grown (mossy), oxalis, peony, phlox, pinks, evening primrose, rose, salvia, silk tree (mimosa), snapdragon, sunflower, summer thistle, yucca, zinnia, summer fruits/vegetables (apricot, banana, blackberry, cucumber, cherry, eggplant, green grapes, green (unripe) apple, green peas, green walnut, melons, pineapple, potato, strawberry, tomato).
*In Japanese haiku, the word for July is a summer kigo, even though Tanabata (in early July) is an autumn kigo (see the note under Autumn). August is an autumn month to some poets and summer to others; it is most in line with North American views to put it in summer .
Season: autumn months*: September, October, November; autumn equinox, autumn evening, autumn morning, beginning of autumn, chilly night, departing autumn, long night, lingering summer heat, mid-autumn.
Sky and Elements: autumn rain, autumn sky, autumn storm, autumn wind, long night, Milky Way/river of heaven/river of stars, moon (understood to be the full moon), night of stars, sardine cloud.
Landscape: autumn moor, autumn mountains, autumn sea, autumn woods, leaves turning, reaped or harvested fields, stubble fields (corn, pumpkin, etc.), vineyards.
Human Affairs: autumn loneliness, end of summer vacation, gleaning, harvest, hunting for red leaves, mushroom gathering, raking/burning leaves, scarecrow, school begins, Tanabata /Star Festival, Obon Festival/dance, Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Halloween (jack oÍ lantern, trick or treating, witch, black cat, ghost, haunted house), Thanksgiving.
Animals: autumn mackerel, bagworm, bird of passage, clear-toned cicada, cricket, deer, dragonfly, red dragonfly, grasshopper or locust, ground beetle, insectsÍ cry, katydid, monarch butterfly, migrating geese/cranes/storks, praying mantis, quail, salmon, shrike (butcher bird), siskin, snipe, wild geese, woodpecker.
Plants: apple, wild aster, autumn leaves, banana plant, buckwheat, bush clover, chamomile, chestnut, chrysanthemum, corn, cranberry, dried grass or plants, fallen or falling leaves (e.g. fallen willow leaves), gourds, grapes (except green grapes), huckleberry, maiden flower, morning glory, mushrooms, nuts, orchid, pampas grass plumes, pear, persimmon, pomegranate, pumpkin, reeds, reed flowers/tassels, rose of sharon, squash, vines, weed flowers.
* In Japanese haiku, many phenomena of July and August are traditionally considered autumnal: for example,Tanabata (in early July), Obon (in early August), the Milky Way, and morning glory are autumn kigo. In the Haiku Journal, they were listed in both seasons in consideration of non-Japanese poets for whom these topics unambiguously evoke summer feelings. In this list, we defer to the traditional category, to avoid confusion.
Season: winter months: December, January, early or mid- February; start of winter, depth of winter, short day, winter day, winter morning, winter night.
Sky and Elements: frost/hoarfrost, freeze, hail, ice, icicle, north wind, sleet, snow/first snow, winter cloud, winter moon, winter rain/first winter rain, winter solstice, winter wind.
Landscape: winter creek or stream, winter mountain, winter sea or ocean, winter seashore, winter garden, withered moor.
Human Affairs: banked fire, bean soup, blanket, brazier, buying a new diary, hot chocolate, charcoal fire, cold or flu, cough, foot warmer, gloves/mittens, grog, heater, hunting, falconer, fish trapper, ice hockey, ice skating or skates, ice fishing, old diary, old calendar, overcoat/fur coat, popcorn, quilted clothes, shawl, skiing/skis, sleigh ride, snowshoes, snowman, snowball fight, winter seclusion, winter desolation, winter vacation, whale watching, Chanukah, Chinese New Year, Leap Year Day, Groundhog Day, Christmas Eve or Day (Christmas tree, tree decorating or decorations (lights, glass balls, etc.), wrapping gifts, wreath, cutting greens, gingerbread men, holiday shopping), Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Twelfth Night.
Animals: bear, codfish, fox, hibernation, marten or sable, oyster, owl, perch, rabbit, reindeer, sardine, sea slug, swan, weasel, wild duck, winter birds, winter bee, winter fly, winter sparrow, winter wild geese, wolf, whale, wren.
Plants: carrot, celery, dried persimmon, (dried) prunes, early plum blossom, holly, heavenly bamboo(Nandina), pine nuts, poinsettia, radish, scallion,tangerine /mandarin orange, turnip, winter camellia, winter chrysanthemum, winter grass, winter narcissus, winter peony, winter quince, winter tree or grove, withered or frost-nipped plants (tree, grasses, leaves, twig, etc.).
New Year’s*
Sky and Elements: first morning, first sunrise, new years’sun.
Human Affairs: first day of the year, first dream of the year, first writing/poem/brush painting, new diary, new calendar, New Years’ Eve or Day, year of the (Zodiac) animal (Rooster, Horse, Rabbit, etc.).
*January 1; but late January or early February according to the lunar calendar formerly in use.

Wikipedia.com also has a kigo word list with the Japanese names HERE. This is an amazing list!

This should be enough to get you started on your haiku writing journey. ~Colleen~

Haiku & Zappai

Haiku is a form with three or more lines following the short-long-short, 3-5-3, 2-3-2, (5-7-5 traditional) of approximately twelve syllables. Haiku are written about nature, the seasons, a beautiful moment in nature, an emotional experience while in nature, or change. No title. (Kigo required). No rhyming. Season word list: https://yukiteikei.wordpress.com/season-word-list/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kigo. 

My version of How to write haiku HERE.

Photo by Bagus Pangestu on Pexels.com

Let’s talk about haiku… What should haiku contain?

  • Choose a single moment. What is the significance of that moment?
  • When we write haiku, we share two interdependent images. Do these images have a cause-and-effect relationship? Did you only write half a haiku by sharing only one image?
  • Suggest a season. A haiku is not a haiku without a season word. When we write haiku without a season word, our poem becomes less a haiku and more pseudo-haiku.
  • Don’t say too much. Provide what is essential, but leave the rest up to your reader.
  • Follow the order of perception. Check how you’ve presented the images. You might need to rearrange them.
  • Engage the senses. Show don’t tell. Haiku should never explain or draw conclusions.
  • Use internal comparison. How do your images interact?
  • Use the power of suggestion.
  • Haiku is the poetry of nouns… but check to see if you have added verbs. Verbs give your haiku movement. Cut unnecessary words.

This list comes from Lee Gurga. He states:

“Haiku is… about discovery, not invention. It is about what is essential, not what is entertaining. Haiku is about sharing, not persuading. Haiku is about showing, not showing off.

Haiku—A Poet’s Guide, pg. 116


Some of what I’m seeing lately is called zappai, or pseudo-haiku, which is not truly haiku. Just because a poem has three lines and twelve to seventeen syllables, doesn’t make it a haiku. If your poem does not feature a season word, it’s not a haiku. It’s haiku-like or pseudo-haiku.

Zappai means miscellaneous haikai verse in Japanese. Some of these poems are written as a joke—think spam haiku, gothic haiku, sci-fi-ku, etc. Zappai is closely related to senryu, featuring a touch of humor. Zappai are not senryu! Senryu features irony in its structure.

If a poem sounds like an aphorism, epigram, proverb, or fortune cookie wisdom, it’s usually a zappai.

Don’t be fooled. Zappai are not haiku. We should not aspire to write zappai.

Gurga states, “while zappai were recognized as a form of poetic entertainment, they were not recognized as being as high an art as either haiku or senryu.”

Zappai are controversial. The Haiku Society of America refers to zappai as “miscellaneous amusements in doggerel verse,” although a more accurate definition to me is syllabic poetry that “includes all types of seventeen syllable poems that do not have the proper formal or technical characteristics of haiku.”

READ: What is Zappai?

READ: The Distinct Brilliance of Zappai: Misrepresentations of Zappai in the New HSA Definition

More Haiku Definitions

In the world of haiku, there appears to be little agreement about the zappai form. The only genuine statement is that you aren’t writing true haiku unless you use a season word. For all other haiku-like forms, they seem to break down into:

Branded haiku — is a kind of haiku that tries to follow the Japanese rules as much as possible.

Generic haiku — means that by popular usage, the word haiku evolved to cover all three-lined poems written in seventeen syllables or less.

For our challenges, we write haiku or senryu because we desire to write the way the ancients taught. And, as poets and haijin (haiku poets), we take our craft seriously. <3

Many thanks to David of The Skeptic’s Kaddish for asking the hard questions. He gets a ⭐️ for his question. I’ll continue to research pseudo-haiku and let you know what I discover.

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 256 | #SpecificForm: haiku

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars’ celebration. This week’s challenge was to write a haiku. I shared the basics of how to write a haiku and gave you some visual and musical inspiration.

I was totally in awe of all the great poetry you all created. I shared some additional information about writing haiku vs. senryu on colleenchesebro.com, which created some excellent discussions.

If the subject of your poem is nature, it’s a haiku. If the subject of your poem is a human, it’s usually a senryu. Now, that’s pretty generalized, so read the cheat sheet to understand the differences between haiku and senryu. I also go over those differences in my book, Word Craft: Prose & Poetry.

I’m a purist or traditionalist when it comes to Japanese poetry, so for the challenges we will stick to the basic forms. However, explore all the different ways of writing haikai poetry through your own research.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

1.Reena Saxena10.Greg G19.kittysverses
2.ben Alexander11.Sangeetha20.Colleen Chesebro
3.Veera12.Sri21.D. L. Finn
4.willowdot2113.Jude22.D. Avery
5.Gwen Plano14.Harmony Kent23.anita dawes
6.Laura McHarrie15.Selma24.Elizabeth
7.Trent McDonald16.Yvette M Calleiro25.Kavya Janani. U
8.Annette Rochelle Aben17.Kerfe26.Ruth Klein
9.Jules18.theindieshe27.You’re next!

This week, I’ve selected D. Avery’s haiku to feature. This poem memorializes the poet’s view of an owl at night.

The kigo is “moonlight frost” which means it’s winter, or at least that it is cold outside.

What a great pivot (kireji) her last line gives us. D. compares the “breathless night” to the silence of the owl flying overhead. What great imagery. I guess that’s why the owl is such a great night hunter—you don’t hear them coming!

Haiku does not deal with generalizations. Haiku is not philosophical; they are stark, disciplined, and to the point.

moonlight frost feathered 
breathless night brushed by shadow—
how silent the owl

© D. Avery

Next month, I’ll select another syllabic form for us to practice. I’ll also give examples of how to write the specific form and tell you what I can find out about the form’s history. As a bonus, I’ll provide a song or another piece of poetry to inspire your own poetry creation. Occasionally, I’ll include information about a literary poet who also writes this form.

Thanks for writing syllabic poetry with me. <3

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 256, Colleen’s Specific Form: haiku


This week’s form is:


I’ll pick someone to select a form for us to work with in February on the recap post next Monday.

Here’s a quick review of haiku:

Haiku is a form with 3 (or more) lines following the short-long-short, 3-5-3, 2-3-2, (5-7-5 traditional) form of approximately twelve syllables. Haiku are written about nature, the seasons, a beautiful moment in nature, an emotional experience while in nature, or change. No title. Kigo optional. No rhyming.

How do you write a haiku?

Here are a few suggestions to find your own poetic inspiration:

  • Get outside. I know it’s cold, but experience the moment with all six senses. Observe the world around you.
  • Take notes. Keep your observations and thoughts in a notebook or written in your phone.
  • Take photos. If you photograph your inspiration, you can write about how the photo captured the scene and memorialized it for that moment in time.
  • Write about your own experiences.
  • Read other poetry written by the greats and new poets.
  • Free-write your thoughts for five minutes and see what inspires you.
  • Create a vision board!

Yes… create a vision board for your poetry. This is a fun exercise. If you love to take photos, create a vision board for your poem.

I used a vision board to create this haiku. I went through a bunch of photos on Canva.com for inspiration. You might want to use your own photos.

Things to note:

  1. Haiku are untitled.
  2. My syllable count for this haiku is 3-5-3.
  3. My kigo is loud thunder—which signifies a season (really any season). It can thunder in all four seasons depending on where you live in the United States. I enjoy using a kigo, so I guess I’m a traditionalist when it comes to writing haiku.
  4. The ending should be a surprise. This is the pivot. That is when you talk about one thing and then switch to talking about another thing. In my haiku, sunshine rain is the pivot.
  5. The pivot is where we create that juxtaposition of divergent or convergent images that complement each other. We recognize this reaction as the “aha” moment.

We hear the thunder and see the clouds swirling. Then, the sun breaks through and the rain falls. It looks like it’s raining sunshine. It’s a magical moment, one that we can remember by immortalizing it with a haiku.

Here’s music that might inspire your haiku:

Here is my haiku inspired by this musical piece:

winter winds echo
throughout the snow-covered woods...
owl answers the call

© Colleen M. Chesebro

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


  • Write your haiku and pay close attention to the rules on the cheat sheet. Remember, try not to use “ing” ending words to satisfy the word count. If you need additional inspiration, use the musical piece above to inspire you.
  • Post it on your blog before noon on 1/16/2022, so I have enough time to compile the recap.
  • Copy the link of your published post 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.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.

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 haiku poetry!

#TankaTuesday #Poetry Stars No. 248 | PhotoPrompt

Sorry, I’m late this morning! I had scheduling woes! <3


Pure Haiku OPEN to submissions! Pure Haiku is once again OPEN to submissions on the theme of Ghostlight. The deadline is midnight (UK Time) on 31st October 2021. Please use the image on Pure Haiku to inspire you to write a maximum of 5 traditional haiku! Don’t miss this opportunity to get your poetry published on Pure Haiku! Please read the submission requirements carefully. Good luck!

Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse (Kindle) purchase link

The Moons of Autumn: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse (print) purchase link

Tilini – The Himalaya, 2021 photo credit © sangeetha

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars’ celebration. This week’s challenge was to write our syllabic poetry based off the photo above from Sangeetha, (MindFills), using one of these forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, solo renga, chōka, cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger hexastich, Abhanga, diatelle, the Kerf poetry, and any of the syllabic forms from the Poetscollective.org.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

2.The Versesmith8.willowdot2114.Ken Gierke / rivrvlogr
3.Reena Saxena9.Jules15.Balroop Singh
4.D. L. Finn10.sangeetha16.Ruth Klein’s Scribbles
5.Padre11.Gwen Plano17.theindieshe
6.Laura McHarrie12.Elizabeth18.You’re next!

This week’s poetry inspired by cherry blossoms was a welcome change from autumn here in Michigan. I enjoyed how you all explored the use of your senses in your poems. Check out this poem from Ruth Klein’s Scribbles. After reading, I swear I could smell and taste my own grandmother’s cherry pie! This is a wonderful haiku!

I selected Lisa Nelson’s (The Versesmith) haiku this week because I was taken with what she saw in those gnarled cherry branches. I immediately thought of an old woman’s (crone) arthritic hands, adorned with a pink topaz ring. The imagery in this poem really spoke to me!

gnarled fingers
adorned in jewels
pink topaz

©2021 Lisa Smith Nelson. All Rights Reserved

This week, I’ve asked Lisa Nelson to choose the photo for next month’s challenge. This can be a photo or a piece of artwork. Please include the image credits. Email your words to me at least a week before the challenge to tankatuesdaypoetry@gmail.com. Thanks.

I’ve done the work of researching these syllabic forms for you. Word Craft: Prose & Poetry is available as an Ebook and a Print book. mybook.to/WordCraftProsePoetry Let’s write syllabic poetry together! <3

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!

How to craft Syllabic Poetry

Are you new to crafting syllabic poetry and don’t know how to start? Let me show you two syllabic poetry forms to get you started on your poetry writing journey now…

Let’s start with an American form, the Crapsey Cinquain. The Crapsey Cinquain is a five-line, non-rhyming poem featuring a syllable structure of 2-4-6-8-2. Choose words that create drama that builds into the fourth line. The turn occurs on line five, the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way. Cinquain poems need a title.

Use a syllable counter as you compose your poetry. I use sodacoffee.com/syllables/. See my example below:

"Day Dawns"

pink blush—
fairy sunshine
smudges morning's gray clouds
dew sparkles against the grasses

© Colleen M. Chesebro

In the Crapsey cinquain above, I described a morning sunrise. True to the form, I pivoted in line five. My last two-syllables are where I turned away from the beauty of the scene and added the word “thunder.” This gives a hint that not everything is as it seems in the idyllic scene I described.

LEARN more about the Crapsey cinquain form at cinquain.org.

If Japanese poetry intrigues you, start with the haiku. Haiku contains three lines following the short-long-short, 3-5-3, 2-3-2, (5-7-5 traditional) syllable count. Your haiku should contain approximately twelve syllables. We write haiku about nature, the seasons, a beautiful moment in nature, an emotional experience while in nature, or change. Haiku are untitled. The use of a Kigo (season word) is optional. Haiku do not rhyme. Do not use metaphors or similes in haiku.

(When you’re first learning how to write haiku, use the 5-7-5 syllable structure until you’re ready to embrace the shorter formats.)

When we write haiku, we’re sharing an encounter between nature and ourself as a human. We describe our experience at that exact moment. These are the moments that stand out and grab our attention in unexpected ways.

clouds stitched together
against the blue cloth of sky
summer's heat rises

© Colleen M. Chesebro

In the haiku above, I describe the clouds, and how they look against a blue sky. Notice my choice of words. I also used a kigo or season word, which is summer. Now, you’re experiencing the moment with me…

Break your haiku into two separate word images:

clouds stitched together against the blue cloth of sky

against the blue cloth of sky summer’s heat rises

This is a great way to check your haiku when you’ve finished writing. Combine the first and second line of your haiku. Does a mental image appear? In this example, you can see the clouds contrast the color of the blue sky. Remember the brevity of words.

However, when you take the second and third line and combine them, you receive another mental image. Now you see the heat shimmers against the blue sky.

The idea is to write about two contrasting or somehow similar images, and to connect them in unusual ways. Haiku are all about images. How does the haiku make you feel? Have you created emotion without telling your reader how to feel?

That’s it! You’re ready to craft syllabic poetry. Join us every Tuesday on wordcraftpoetry.com for Tanka Tuesday and get your poetry writing groove on!

I’ve done the work of researching these syllabic forms for you. Word Craft: Prose & Poetry is available as an Ebook and a Print book. mybook.to/WordCraftProsePoetry Let’s write syllabic poetry together! <3

#TANKATUESDAY #POETRY STARS | Poets choice No. 237

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars celebration. This week’s challenge was to write your poem using haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, solo renga, chōka, cinquain and its variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger hexastich, Abhanga, diatelle, the Kerf poetry, and any of the syllabic forms from the Poetscollective.org. Now, the first of the month challenge also includes prose poetry and freestyle poetry!

Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

1.Reena Saxena9.Tina Stewart Brakebill17.kittysverses
2.Jude10.anita dawes18.Elizabeth
3.willowdot2111.Marsha19.Ruth Klein’s Scribbles
4.D. L. Finn12.Colleen Chesebro20.Kerfe Roig
5.Donna Matthews13.Cheryl21.Sally Cronin
6.Jules14.Gwen Plano22.Annette Rochelle Aben
7.Myrna Migala15.Jaye23.Crazy Nerds
8.ladyleemanila16.Balroop Singh  

I was excited to read your poetry this week. Remember, if you’re having a hard time finding inspiration, the poetry Oracle (magnetic poetry) might be enough to get you started on writing your poem. With the introduction of prose poetry and freestyle poetry, this first of the month challenge is now more inclusive to poets who find that syllabic poetry stifles their creativity. <3

Submissions are now closed for the first edition of the wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. We will be sending out emails to the poets whose poetry was accepted. Stay in touch! Follow Word Weaving on Twitter @word_weaving.

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!

#TANKATUESDAY #POETRY STARS | #ThemePrompt: Expedition

Welcome to our weekly poetry stars celebration. This week’s challenge was to write your poetry using the theme of “expedition” chosen by Donna Matthews, using one of these forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, solo renga, chōka, cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger hexastich, Abhanga, diatelle, the Kerf poetry, and any of the syllabic forms from the Poetscollective.org.

I have a bit of news I thought I’d share. Sometimes the universe drops unexpected gifts or opportunities on your doorstep that you can’t ignore. At least, that is how it was for me. I’ve accepted a part-time receptionist position at my local hair salon. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find a job that I could work at without impeding my own creative writing endeavors! It’s truly a gift!

With that being said, for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working more hours in training than when the training ends. I’ll do my best to keep up with comments and approving linkbacks. Don’t panic if you don’t see your link back approved immediately. I’ll get there as soon as I can. <3

Many thanks to everyone who joined in below:

1.Trent McDonald 9.Laura McHarrie 17.theindieshe 
2.Gwen Plano 10.D. L. Finn 18.Donna Matthews 
3.Jude 11.Marsha 19.Vashti Quiroz- Vega 
4.willowdot21 12.Annette Rochelle Aben 20.Anisha 
5.Eugenia 13.Elizabeth 21.Ruth Klein’s Scribbles 
6.The Versesmith 14.Selma 22.
7.Reena Saxena 15.Sally Cronin   
8.Jules 16.Kerfe Roig   

This week, Vashti Quiroz-Vega’s shadorma leaped off the page! How many of us are armchair travelers, connecting with exciting expeditions through reading? Me, me… I know I’m one!

This shadorma flows with the natural rhythm of her chosen words. I like that one of Emily Dickinson’s poems inspired Vashti to write this shadorma. It’s a great message and sums up the theme of an expedition taken through the reading of books.


I opened
a book and entered.
The words spread
out their wings,
and took me on a journey
far from where I’ve been.

© Vashti Quiroz-Vega

This week, I’ve asked Vashti Quiroz-Vega to choose the prompt for next month’s theme challenge. Please email your choice of theme to me at least a week before the challenge to tankatuesdaypoetry@gmail.com. Thanks.

Submissions are now closed for the first edition of the wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. Stay in touch! Follow Word Weaving on Twitter @word_weaving.

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!