Polychrome Interest

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A Tanka Attempt: My First Try on Old Japanese Poem

As I said before, I like writing short stories but I have been trying to challenge myself to write something else. I have tried writing poems, both rhyme and non-rhyme. I guessed it’s time to increase the challenge a little by writing old style Japanese Poem.

There are 2 old style Japanese poems known to the world, Haiku and Tanka. I tried writing Haiku for this week’s picture in Creative Writing Ink…but Haiku is too short and I couldn’t manage to deliver the message. So, I tried Tanka with five chouka (long poems composed of 5-7 syllable phrases repeated any number of times and closed with 7-7 syllable). This tanka of mine was using 5-7-5-7-7 syllable, same with what Shiki Masaoka was using.

However, Tanka and Haiku have certain rules where we should include nature or season in the beginning and give conclusion in the last line….this I couldn’t do (yet). My tanka probably would end up being a laughing stock by real Japanese…at least I have tried tho it was more like a short poem in Tanka syllable.

I wrote this tanka in Japanese and gave the translation below. I called this tanka attempt as:

Embrace The Future


Hashire ike
Kako o hanarete
Sekai to mirai
Te de tsukami toru

Let’s run
Let go of the past
With these hands
Let’s embrace
A wonderful world and future

Note: I know my tanka isn’t exactly match with the picture, I merely take the fact that the  man is running. Plus my Japanese is still rusty, I most likely did a lot of grammatical mistake there.

Critiques are always more than welcome 🙂

You can read my other writing stuff here.

This tanka has been updated a few times because of my limitation in Japanese, I am very grateful to Kate who has helped me a lot in correcting my Japanese, ありがとう.

About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: http://kamekroten.wordpress.com

22 comments on “A Tanka Attempt: My First Try on Old Japanese Poem

  1. Wanda
    August 31, 2011

    it is great you posted both the Japanese and English text. Thanks, Novroz:)

    • Novroz
      August 31, 2011

      You’re welcome Wanda and thank you for reading it 🙂

    August 31, 2011

    I’m sure the Japanese would be impressed 🙂

    • Novroz
      August 31, 2011

      That’s very nice of you Dezz… I hope so too tho I have doubt 😉

  3. Caroline
    August 31, 2011

    I like the English one but I’m impressed that you also wrote it in Japanese.
    I love reading Haikus but didn’t know Tanka’s.

    • Novroz
      August 31, 2011

      Actually I wrote it first in Japanese and then translated it into English, that’s why the English one didn’t have the 5-7-5-707 pattern. Making poems in Japanese is a lot harder than I thought. Not sure if i want to try again in the future 😉

      Tanka is a bit longer than Haiku,both are equally old. Thank you for reading this,Caroline

  4. dhitzunako
    September 1, 2011

    So this is tanka? Thanks for sharing, Nov.
    Though I expect something mysterious in the last line, hehehehehe….

    • Novroz
      September 1, 2011

      This is tanka with 5 chouka, there is also tanka with 12 sedouka where the syllable becomes 5-7-7-5-7-7.

      Hehehe how could a tanka turns to something mysterious? Once in a while I have to write non-mysterious stuff 😉

  5. TBM
    September 1, 2011

    I like it!

    • Novroz
      September 1, 2011

      Arigatou TBM-san 🙂

      • TBM
        September 1, 2011

        🙂 I love it!

  6. Theresa
    September 3, 2011

    Creative approach to this week’s photo! I like the fact that you based it just on one detail of the image. That opens the writing up to many more ideas and interpretations. I can’t speak or read Japanese so thankyou also for the translation 😀

    • Novroz
      September 3, 2011

      Thank you Theresa.
      I have to focus on one detail because the picture was actually good for a short story but I promised myself to try old Japanese poem for this week.

      Thank you again for reading, my friend

  7. lifewith4cats
    September 4, 2011

    I love the positive message. To me it matches the picture because people who live in the past also have tunnel vision, and this man has let go, and is running to a new life outside of the tunnel.

    I like it. 😉

    • Novroz
      September 5, 2011

      I didn’t know that tunnel represent someone who lived in the past…what a nice coincindence.
      Thank you for liking this Tanka attempt, Sara

  8. jewel2
    September 11, 2011

    congratulations on this piece of writing! I am always interested in reading different styles of poetry. I need to explore other styles more in my writing!
    Well done!

    • Novroz
      September 11, 2011

      Thank you Jewel 🙂
      Trying to explore more writing style is fun even though a bit tiring

  9. si_ulil
    September 12, 2011

    I have NO idea what Tanka is, so I’m not sure if I’m a suitable person to comment on this. But I do have to say, I absolutely didn’t expect you to write something this positive from such a gray picture! This is a nice surprise!

    • Novroz
      September 12, 2011

      Hehehe that’s a fun notion…maybe I should do it all the time, write negative story from positive picture and write positive story from negative picture 😉

  10. Pingback: Who am I? « Polychrome Interest

  11. Wanda
    September 26, 2011

    Did you see, Novroz? The site is open, after several days break!

    • Novroz
      September 26, 2011

      Yeah I see it 🙂
      I have just put my link on Writing prompt for September 19

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