Haiku challenge: Gold & Sing

For Ronovan’s weekly challenge. Not exactly a haiku unless you chop off the last two lines. I know it’s not a kosher tanka either, but the number of lines/syllables is right.


Autumn sings the wind,

Robins call from every tree,

Red throat blazing bright.

Gold leaves on the river drift,

Golden notes defy the cold.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

10 thoughts on “Haiku challenge: Gold & Sing”

  1. I like to read your poetry, but I am perplexed that you call this tanka a “kosher”, meaning not genuine. The Japanese uses vowels sounds; we use syllables. They talked about seasons all the time; maybe nature too. In other words, the form and contents have evolved in creative writing. Like it or not, it has moved away from traditional Japanese haiku/senryu/tanka/cinquain. What then is “kosher”?

    1. I meant that in the tanka there is supposed to be a break or hinge word in the third line (I think) after which the direction of the poem changes from the general to the personal. That is the part that is hard to do so that the two halves don’t sound like unlinked images. It isn’t just about the syllable count, which I agree is an artificial method if you’re trying to write authentic haiku or tanka because Japanese doesn’t have the same sounds as our group of languages. So when I say this particular tanka isn’t a genuine one, I mean I haven’t tried to get any shift in emphasis in the poem, but have simply written a short poem using the accepted tanka syllable pattern.
      You make a good point about the subject matter where I totally agree. Nature, the seasons, emotions is what haiku and tanka ought to be about, and the humorous, non-natural poems or quips are not haiku at all. I’m pretty sure that kind of poem has another name.

      1. Thank you for the clear explanation. I might be wrong, but I think, what we are writing are no longer the same as the Japanese. Some Americans call theirs American Haiku etc; I label mine as Malaysian Haiku or Zen haiku , for there is evolvement in creative writing, yet we own that haiku label to the Japanese in a way.

      2. I agree, there’s no point trying to emulate the exact form used by another completely differently structured language. Adapting the form to the English language seems only sensible to me, but I do sometimes try to work in the original spirit of the Japanese short poem with its subtle shift in emphasis. It’s difficult to get it right, but it’s satisfying when I do 🙂

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