FGC #7 Tanka

This week’s Form and Genre Challenge is to write a Tanka. A Tanka is a five line Japanese poem which uses 31 syllables in all. This is my first attempt at writing a Tanka although I have tried my hand at the shorter Haiku form before. For this challenge I wrote several different Tankas. Below are the four I submitted to my beta readers. The top one, written in honour of my daughter’s 20th birthday, is my challenge entry.

Small and fragile in my arms
now small, not fragile
twenty years on still such joy.
Soon roles reversed as
me she cradles in her arms.


This one was written after last week’s Wales v France rugby match. Before the game I sang alone – I was the only Welshman present – the Welsh national anthem much to the surprise of most of the gathered Frenchmen:

My voice rings out, pride and joy
shatters silence, shocks.
Welsh you know, how can I ought.
Birds fly, lions prey,
Welsh, our song ne’er will fail.

And this one was written at the library contemplating the mass of books available to me and other hungry readers:

Big and small and fat and thin
novels, essays, more;
their voice rings out
t’is honey to my mind,
but to my heart, bitter herbs.

I’ve just finished reading a book by a friend about the experience of widowhood. Hence this last one:

One last time the flame climbs high
I hope vain, false hope
such hope betrays, lets me down.
And solitude reigns
as stiffened eyes I close

Please read the other entries in this week’s challenge and vote for you favourite on the Write Anything website.


About Welshman Paul

Welshman Paul loves playing around with words. One of his ambitions is to attempt a dictionary of short stories for words which have several meanings.
This entry was posted in Fiction, Welshman Paul, Words. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to FGC #7 Tanka

  1. Jan Brown says:

    Loved all your tanka. Believe you entered the best, and it is best because it is the most personal. A loving and joyous poem!

  2. Kate Sherrod says:

    Awww! Your daughter’s a lucky girl 8)

  3. Storm Dweller says:

    Beautiful, Paul. Simply beautiful. And I’m jealous. I have no Beta readers. Harrrumph!

  4. Pingback: Form and Genre Challenge #7 Submission | Write Anything

  5. An extremely potent thematic choice – the idea of growth and fragility and how this will reverse as you age. That will stay with me!

    -Barbara @ de rebus

  6. All are beautiful. I love the impact of your Welsh voice on the French, would have loved to have seen it. Your selection for the contest reminds me of a children’s book given to me on the birth of my first born: I’ll love you forever. It starts with the mother caring for her son, and ends with the son caring for his mother. Love this image in your Tanka.

  7. Thanks everyone for all your kind comments. I think I’m going to love this kind of short poem. I’ve included a few in my personal journal over the past few days. They seem so appropriate to journalling and capturing a moment.

  8. Stormdweller, I can’t promise to be available all the time, but if you want, I’d like to help you with some beta reading. Just get in touch.

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