This is my playground for poetry written for children with ideas and inspiration for writing your own poems. Come on in. Sit for a spell, have a cup of words to swirl around and make your own cup of poetry. I'm so glad you are here. I hope you'll find the Kingdom of Poetry a fun place to be.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Desert Ocotillo

Ocotillos bloom
in spires of red, hot pokers
your birthday candles
everywhere the flames burning
too quickly they are blown out

      This poem is a tanka.  I haven't written many tankas so I did have to go back to one of my form books to check that I had done the syllables correctly.  Tankas were made popular by Chinese courtesans who published books of tanka written to their sponsor.  Those books are some of the first poetry books published of poetry by women.  The tanka has 31 syllables, five lines long in a 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 pattern.  It is like a haiku 5-7-5, with two extra 7 syllable lines.  Also, these poems encouraged the use of reference to the lover or sponsor.

    Your challenge for today is to try writing your own tanka.  Have fun.

     And here is a thought, if you get stumped in writing.

"The poet doesn't invent.  He listens."    Jean Cocteau


  1. Joy,
    I love the comparison to birthday candles being blown out. It could be a birthday card greeting. Oh my!

    1. Oh my goodness, Linda, I'm glad you got the metaphor, but the theme is dying or the fleeting aspects of life, so I don't think it would make a great birthday card. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. I do like writing Tankas and Haikus, but nothing is coming to mind at the moment. Maybe I'll come back later and drop one in here. But this did remind me of a book I read not long ago that some here may enjoy. It is Cool Melons--Turn to Frogs: the Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub. I had a much greater understanding of the Haiku after reading it, and it is a lovely book. I don't remember how I heard of it. Maybe it was here!

    1. Rosi, you are right about COOL MELONS. It is a delightful book and I did enjoy reading it. I'm so glad that you suggested it. Issa wrote some incredible things. Thank you for the suggestion and I do hope that you will write a tanka and bring it to share with us.