Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 27 – “Light & Dark”

Happy POETRY Tuesday everyone! We’ve changed our name to include three poetry forms!
Are you ready to get groovy with your poetry? Then, you’re in the right place! Pull up a chair, and let’s write some poetry.


It’s week 2 of our NEW poetry challenge. You can write your poem in one of the three forms defined below:

HAIKU in English



You can do one poem or try to do one of each. It’s up to you – YOUR CHOICE. The instructions follow below:


The haiku is a Japanese verse in three lines. Line one has 5 syllables, line 2 has 7 syllables, and line three has 5 syllables. Haiku is a mood poem, and it doesn’t use any metaphors or similes. 5/7/5.

Wikipedia explains:

“”Haiku” is a term sometimes loosely applied to any short, impressionistic poem, but there are certain characteristics that are commonly associated with the genre:

  • a focus on some aspect of nature or the seasons[1][2]
  • division into two asymmetrical sections, usually with a cut at the end of the first or second section, creating a juxtaposition of two subjects (e.g. something large and something small, something natural and something human-made, two unexpectedly similar things, etc.)
  • a contemplative or wistful tone and an impressionistic brevity[3][4][5]
  • elliptical “telegram style” syntax and no superfluous words
  • imagery predominates over ideas and statements, so that meaning is typically suggestive, requiring reader participation
  • avoidance of metaphor and similes
  • non-rhyming lines

Some additional traits are especially associated with English-language haiku (as opposed to Japanese-language haiku):

  • A three-line format with 17 syllables arranged in a 5–7–5 pattern;[2][a][6][7][8] or about 10 to 14 syllables,[9][10] which more nearly approximates the duration of a Japanese haiku[11] with the second line usually the longest. Some poets want their haiku to be expressed in one breath[12][13][14]
  • little or no punctuation or capitalization, except that cuts, are sometimes marked with dashes or ellipses, and proper nouns are usually capitalized.”


Tanka poems are based on syllable structure much the same way a Haiku is written in the 5/7/5 format.

The Tanka form is easy to create: 5/7/5/7/7 and is a Haiku with two extra lines, of 7 syllables each consisting of five separate lines.

What makes a Tanka different from a Haiku is that the first three lines (5/7/5) are the upper phase. This upper stage is where you create an image in your reader’s mind.

The last two lines (7/7) of a Tanka poem are called the lower phase. Now here is where it gets interesting. The lower stage, the final two lines, should express the poet’s ideas about the image that was created in the three lines above.

Visit Jean Emrich at Quick Start Guide
CLICK THE LINK TO SEE THE EXAMPLES and to learn how to write a Tanka poem

HOW TO CREATE THE HAIBUN POETRY FORM shares how to write a Haibun poem. Please follow the rules carefully.

Writing Haibun

“The rules for constructing a haibun are simple.

  • Every haibun must begin with a title.
  • Haibun prose is composed of terse, descriptive paragraphs, written in the first person singular.
  • The text unfolds in the present moment, as though the experience is occurring now rather than yesterday or some time ago. In keeping with the simplicity of the accompanying haiku or tanka poem, all excessive words should be pared down or deleted. Nothing must ever be overstated.
  • The poetry never attempts to repeat, quote or explain the prose.
  • Instead, the poetry reflects some aspect of the prose by introducing a different step in the narrative through a microburst of detail.
  • Thus the poetry is a sort of juxtaposition – seemingly different yet somehow connected.

It is the discovery of this link between the prose and the poetry that offers one of the great delights of the haibun form. The subtle twist provided by an elegantly envisaged link, adds much pleasure to our reading and listening.

Some Common Forms of Modern Haibun

1. The basic unit of composition– one paragraph and one poem

We guide our canoe along the shores of beautiful Lake Esquagama. It is nine o’clock at night on this evening of the summer solstice. As the sun begins to dim the lake becomes still as glass. Along the shore, forests of birch are reflected in its mirrored surface, their ghostly white trunks disappearing into a green canopy. The only sound is a splash when our bow slices the water. We stop to rest the paddles across our knees, enjoying the peace. Small droplets from our wet blades create ever-widening circular pools. Moving on, closer to the fading shore, we savour these moments.

as a feather
on the breeze
the distant call
of a loon

2. The prose envelope – prose, then poem, then prose

Echoes of Autumn
I walk quietly in the late afternoon chill, birdsong silent, foliage deepened into shade, a rim of orange over darkening hills.

through soft mist
the repeated call
of one crow

Reaching the gate then crossing the threshold I breathe the scent of slow-cooking, the last embers of a fire, red wine poured into gleaming crystal, the table – set for two …

3. Poem then prose

(Rather than begin with a single tanka, I wrote a tanka set or sequence, followed by the prose. In contemporary haibun writing, the poems are occasionally presented in couplets or in longer groups).

The Road to Longreach
the coastal fringe
of green and blue
behind the gateway
to the outback

wheat, sorghum
and cotton stubble
in the autumn sun
as hawks patrol above

faces to the sky
the last blaze of colour
in the dryland’s
barren outlook

brown soil
of the rural strip
surrenders to
brick red, burnt ochre
of the open range

and further out –
in orange dust
a single cornstalk
displays its tassel

Days pass as we move through the desolate landscape, carved into two parts by the road we travel on, a continual ribbon drawing us straight ahead into its vanishing point, where only spinifex grass and saltbush lies between us and our destination.

4. The verse envelope — poem, prose, then poem

Winter Magic
silver light
thick hoar-frost
covers the window

Ice shapes resembling small fir trees stretch across the glass, while delicate snow flowers sparkle around them. Lost in its beauty, I move through this crystal garden as my warm fingers trace up and down, leaving a smudged pathway.
Mother’s voice interrupts, “Susan, come away from that cold window and get dressed or the school bus will leave without you!”

burning hoop pine
scent of a warm kitchen
oatmeal with brown sugar

5. Alternating prose and verse elements

The Sentinel
I climb round and round close to the outside wall, to avoid the railing where the stair treads narrow about their central post. A semi-circular platform rests high above. Its glass windows provide a sweeping view. Counting the last few steps, I finally reach the top of the Moreton Bay Lighthouse, where I gaze in awe at the ocean below.

the rising sun
an endless pathway
of molten gold

Outside the lighthouse, lamp is rotating. I disengage it as there is no need for its warning light. Now the bold red and white stripes of the lighthouse itself will become the beacon. I study the turbulence of the deep waters churning the rocky shore below. The subtle changes in the wind, waves, and tides are entered in my log book – these brief markers of the ever-transforming seascape that surrounds me.

ebb tide
a foot print shelters
one tiny crab”

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables.

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 Haiku or Tanka.


I will publish the Tuesday prompt post at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Denver
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)
Denver time, U. S. A. This will give me a chance to add the links from everyone’s poem 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 poem.

The rules are simple.

I will give you two words that you need to use (in some form) in the writing of your poetry. This will be a challenge in writing your Haibun poem. Follow the rules carefully.

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 when the poetry form calls for it.

LINK YOUR BLOG POST TO MINE WITH A PINGBACK. To do a Pingback: 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 post in the comments of the current week’s Challenge post.

Because of the time difference between where you are, and I am, you might not think your link is there. I manually approve all links. People participating in the challenge may visit you and comment or “like” your post. I also need at least a Pingback or a link in the comments section to know you took part and to include you in the Weekly Review section of the new prompt on Tuesday.

BE CREATIVE. Use your photos and create “Visual POETRY” if you wish, although it is not necessary. Use whatever program you want to make your images.

As time permits, I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY

If you add these hashtags to your post TITLE (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often:

#Haiku, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose

If you haven’t set up your blog to share to Twitter, you should. Click HERE to learn how to link your blog to Twitter. It is an excellent way to meet other poets and share your work.

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

HERE’S WHO JOINED US LAST WEEK FOR OUR 26th POETRY CHALLENGE USING THE WORDS – EARTH & WATER: (Please make sure to visit the other participants. We learn from each other. <3)

Reflections #WorldPoetryDay | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

The Elements – Reena Saxena

The cycle – Playing with words 

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge – Haiku – Tanka – Haibun – Mick E Talbot Poems

Along the stream – Jane Dougherty Writes

Sakura- Haiku #WorldPoetryDay – The Moving Finger Writes

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge #26 Earth & Water | Annette Rochelle Aben


“Awakening Dawn” – A Haibun #WorldPoetryDay – Colleen Chesebro ~ Fairy Whisperer

A New Day Dawns – A #Tanka – Colleen Chesebro ~ Fairy Whisperer

Planting Seeds (Haiku) | Darkness of His Dreams

Cycles (a tanka) | Darkness of His Dreams

Dusk (Tanka) – Thoughts of Words

Earth & Water | thoughts and entanglements

Haibun/ Earth and water Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge / week  – சுழல்கள்/Suzhalgal

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge #26 | K Y R O S M A G I C A

Tanka – Earth & Water | radhikasreflection

River to the Stars: #Haibun | Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings

Innovative Solutions | The Syllabub Sea

Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 26 – EARTH & WATER/DeepikasRamblings

Please let me know if you like the Poet of the Week section in the comments, so I know whether to continue it.

This week’s Poet of the Week is Jane. Her Haibun poem called “Along the Stream,” is an excellent example of a Haibun. Remember the prose part in always written in the first person. The Haiku or Tanka poem attached to your prose should reflect some aspect of the prose by introducing a different step in the narrative through a microburst of detail. Jane’s Tanka at the end illustrations this point.

For many of us, writing a Haibun was a new poetry form. Bravo to everyone who tried writing one. The key to writing these poetry forms is following the directions and finding the pivot (this includes Haiku and Tanka). WELL DONE!

There is deep earth here and running water and I understand only a fraction of its life. Here and there, from willow roots sunk in the damp soil, sprout clumps of purple flowers, leafless and stemless, with their mouths like a turtle’s beak. Feet sink into yellow tangles of celandine, and the wind cuts as sharp as new brambles. Overhead the sky is stuffed full of woolly grey cloud as thick and damp as an old mattress left out in the rain. The silence is full—running water, the mew of buzzards, woodpecker tapping, and the cry of the orioles weave a torrent of bright sound always in movement, never still.

Life teems in water and burrows, in earths and in nests. And so does death. Fox was hunting here last night beneath the moon, slipping through the mist. Blossom drifts now in the early morning rain, spent, white and pink, to lie in the wet grass. Spring, the turbulent season is here.

Dog whines in the night

sharp scents waft beneath the door

restless shadows creep.

A half-finished meal, was bird,

was mother, lies on cold stone.

© 2017 Jane Dougherty Writes

Here are the two words for this week’s challenge: LIGHT & DARK

(any forms of the words AND don’t forget to use synonyms)

There are many different meanings to these words. Have fun and experiment. If the prompt words don’t Inspire you… write a POEM based on the photo BELOW:

Image credit:



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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. Hi Colleen,
    Here’s my contribution for Light & Dark this week. Hope you have a lovely week ahead. Thanks.

  2. Pingback: Fairy Orbs Flicker – A Tanka – Colleen Chesebro ~ Fairy Whisperer

  3. Hi
    I am participating in this challenge for the first time. Here’s link to my post:

    Hope to continue to connect with all bloggers here:)

  4. Pingback: Snow White | The Syllabub Sea

  5. Pingback: The Echo of Mothers’ Cries: #Haibun | Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  6. Pingback: Haibun// Darkness of the soul. – சுழல்கள்/Suzhalgal

  7. Pingback: Angelic beings | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  8. Pingback: Shadow (Tanka) – Thoughts of Words

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

  10. Pingback: Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge #27 Light & Dark | Annette Rochelle Aben

  11. Pingback: Ignite my Soul | Faith Unlocked

  12. Pingback: Light Defeats Darkness | Faith Unlocked

  13. Pingback: Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge # 27 – “Light & Dark” – Mick E Talbot Poems

  14. I am thrilled that you have added haiku Colleen, I will definitely have a go, as I love writing them. Thanks for the great prompt words as well.

  15. Pingback: Candle light # Tanka – Uniquesus

  16. Pingback: LIGHT AND DARK – Reena Saxena

  17. Pingback: Light falling through leaves – Jane Dougherty Writes

  18. Thank you for poet of the week, Colleen 🙂 I much appreciate the encouragement.

  19. Yes I love the poet of the week section Colleen. Light and dark! Those words are right up my alley..

  20. Pingback: Sunlight (Haiku) | Darkness of His Dreams

  21. Pingback: Casting Shadows (Tanka) | Darkness of His Dreams

  22. Pingback: Horizons – Playing with words

  23. Ooh great prompt words this week!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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