Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #7 – CELEBRATE & WATCH

Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome to the TANKA CAFÉ. Are you ready to get groovy with your poetry? Then, you’re in the right place! Pull up a chair, order some coffee or tea and let’s write some TANKA poetry.

(Please note: I changed my blog name and address to will be discontinued in the next few months)

Have you been looking for me? I’m working on my second book, The Meadow Fairy. During my first week, I’ve written a total of 8,373 words! I’m a bit behind but no matter – I’m going to keep writing!

LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO CREATE THIS EXCITING POETRY FORM. Did these instructions help last week? Here they are again, as a reminder:

I have received many questions about how to write a Tanka poem. It is worth taking a moment to check the best way to create a Tanka.

At, there is an excellent discussion on how to write a Tanka. This is part of a lesson you would have to pay for so I have quoted the best part of that site. I color coded the things for you to consider when writing your own Tanka:

“Tanka poems are a traditional Japanese style of poetry that follows a set pattern. In this lesson, you’ll learn the structure of the tanka, be introduced to its subject matter, and be presented with examples of this type of poetry.

Original Tanka Poetry Example

the color of the cherry blossom

has faded in vain

in the long rain

while in idle thoughts

I have spent my life.

– Ono no Komachi (circa 850) Original Japanese Tanka

See below for more directions

You may be familiar with haiku, a traditional style of Japanese poetry containing only three lines. The poem above is a tanka, another style of Japanese poetry. Tanka poems are quite similar to haiku, and in this lesson, you’ll learn how they are structured and what you might expect to find in a tanka poem.

Tanka Structure and Content

Tanka poems, when written in Japanese, follow a pattern of syllables 5-7-5-7-7. In other words, the first and third lines contain only five syllables each, while the second, fourth, and fifth lines have seven syllables. When translated into English the syllable count is usually thrown off, which is why our example has nine syllables in the first line. There would only be five in the original Japanese version.

Additionally, each tanka is divided into two parts. The first three lines are the upper phrase, and the last two lines are the lower phrase.

The upper phrase typically contains an image, and the lower phrase presents the poet’s ideas about that image

Many traditional poetic forms have a turn, a place where the poem shifts, and for the tanka, this happens between the upper and lower phrase. In our example, the poet presents an image of faded cherry blossoms, and after the turn, she compares her own life to the wasted beauty of those blossoms.

While haiku poems are usually about nature, tanka is often personal reflections on love and other strong emotions. Tanka also uses figurative language. In the example, above, the poet creates a metaphor connecting the wilted cherry blossoms to her life.”

My example:

Writing a Tanka is like writing a Haiku (5/7/5) and adding two more lines. See how much more of a “visual image” you get in your mind’s eye? You end up with lines of syllables totaling, 5/7/5/7/7.

Did you recognize the pivot in the third line? We start talking about my solitude, and then we switch to talking about the leaves of red and gold. The words are all connected and are talking about my response to autumn. It is important to try to join your feelings into your Tanka.

Visit Jean Emrich at She gives excellent instructions on how to write your feelings into this poetry form.

I hope this helps to explain the “TURN,” or “PIVOT.” Remember: create an image in your mind with the first three lines, and in the last two lines give us your opinion or thoughts about that mind-picture.

Here are some great sites that will help you write your Tanka.

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site for all my Haiku and Tanka poems. Click on the “Poetry Workshop” tab to create your Tanka. Here are the rules for the Tanka form:

I will publish the Tanka Tuesday prompt at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Denver
Time). That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world.

How Long Do You Have and Your Deadline: You have a week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Monday at 12:00 P.M. (noon). This will give me a chance to add the links from everyone’s Tanka post from the previous week, on the new prompt I send out on Tuesday. I urge everyone to visit the blogs and comment on everyone’s Tanka poem.

The rules are simple.

I will give you two words that you need to use (in some form) in the writing of your Tanka.

The two words can be used in any way you would like to use them. Words have different definitions, and you can use the definitions you like. Feel free to use synonyms for the words.

To do a Ping Back: Copy the URL (the HTTP:// address of my post) for the current week’s Challenge and paste it into your post. You may also place a copy of your URL of your Tanka Post in the comments of the current week’s Challenge post.

People from the challenge may visit you and comment or “like” your post. I also need at least a Ping Back or a link in the comments section to know you participated and to include you in the Weekly Review section of the new prompt on Tuesday.

BE CREATIVE. Use your photos and create “Visual Tanka’s” if you wish, although it is not necessary. You can use Fotoflexer, Picmonkey, or, or any other program that you want to make your images. Click the links to go to the programs.

I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your TANKA.

You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Tanka Tuesday Challenge Post and place it in your post:

HERE’S WHO JOINED US LAST WEEK FOR OUR 6th CHALLENGE USING THE WORDS – WIND & GRACE: (I hope you are visiting the other participants. We learn from each other. <3)

#Tanka Challenge Wind and Grace  | Potholes in the Road of Life

Tanka Tuesday: Wind & Grace – Image & Word

Wind & Grace | thoughts and entanglements

Colleens Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #6 Wind & Grace | Annette Rochelle Aben

Test of Faith – Leara writes and other creative things…

Winds of Grace | The Poetry Channel

Wind and Grace #Tanka – ladyleemanila

storm clouds approaching | rivrvlogr

Tanka – Wind/Grace | Mother Willow

Grace | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Wind of Grace | imanikingblog

#Tanka Challenge 6 @ColleenChesebro – MEANINGS AND MUSINGS

Windswept to Grace | Stutter-Stepping Heart

Test of Faith – Leara Writes & Take Pics

Tanka Wind & Grace – Neel Writes Blog

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #6 Wind & Grace – Two on a Rant

Waving With Grace – Naa Prapancham, My World

Last Dance – Naa Prapancham, My World

The Graceful Winds of Love – Chasing Life & Finding Dreams

She Deserted his World & Left – Life at Seventeen


Did those instructions help you to get the pivot last week? Here is a Tanka that was spot on!

Each week I am going to share a Tanka I thought was special BECAUSE it conveyed the author’s feelings.

The above Tanka is from Greg at Potholes in the Road of Life. I love how he got his feelings into the Tanka! <3

Since you did so well last week, are you ready to have another go at it?

Here are the two words for this week’s challenge: CELEBRATE & WATCH

 (any forms of the words AND don’t forget that you can use synonyms)

I got creative this week and used “applaud” for the word celebrate, and I used the word, “behold,” for the word, watch. There are many different meanings to these words. Have fun and experiment.

A seasonal change –
behold the cold winds blowing,
fingers of frost etched
against my dark window panes
I applaud nature’s artwork.

~Colleen Chesebro~



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About Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist & Poet who loves writing paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet. A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Faery Writer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams. Colleen won the “Little and Laugh” Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community on November 2017, and in 2018, she won first place for the “Twisted Travel” category. Colleen lives in Arizona with her husband. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. Learn more about Colleen on
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  1. Lovely post throughout!!

  2. Lovely indeed. And good luck with NaNoWriMo! In my case I tend to start slow and at some point the story gathers momentum and I’ll just holding on for dear life. 🙂

  3. Girl, did anyone ever point out… that you CAN write! <3

  4. Pingback: Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Poetry Prompt Challenge #7 Celebrate & Watch | Annette Rochelle Aben

  5. My short link, in case the ping back doesn’t work

  6. Pingback: Celebrate & Watch | thoughts and entanglements

  7. Hi Colleen,

    Here is my entry for this week, on this election night. What a night!!! A good week to all::))

  8. What a great take Colleen…

  9. Pingback: Squirreling | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  10. Pingback: Tanka – Celebrate/Watch | Mother Willow

  11. Pingback: Watching as you Celebrate | imanikingblog

  12. Pingback: Holiday Season Unfurling | Stutter-Stepping Heart

  13. I agree with you on Greg’s tanka. He got that pivot down and filled it with feelings.

  14. I really liked your tanka, makes me long for snow:)

  15. Your tanka is simply beautiful. Hugs

  16. Pingback: Celebrate and Watch #Tanka | Potholes in the Road of Life

  17. Pingback: patterns in the sky | rivrvlogr

  18. Pingback: Writing Links in the 3s and 5…11/14/16 – Where Genres Collide

  19. I’ve got to try another one of these. I like your blog url change. Very nice. Saw you talking about this on Sacha’s site. I think it’s a good change. 🙂 Good luck with NaNo and we’ll see you in December!

  20. Pingback: Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #8 – TIME & LAUGHTER – Colleen Chesebro ~ Fairy Whisperer

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