The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Three Poems About Winter (#1)

with 2 comments

In case you haven’t heard, winter in Chicagoland totally sucks this year.  We’re already on record as having the 5th-most brutal winter, and we still have three weeks to go.  There have been more sub-zero days than I care to count.  Snow that fell on New Year’s Day is still on the ground.  I’m sick of wearing my winter coat.  I haven’t run outside in over six weeks.  I’ve had enough.

One benefit, though, is that I’ve been able to practice some poetry.  I was reading Poets & Writers while I was still on the holiday break two months ago, and came across a segment about a writer who practiced writing tonkas as a warm-up to writing.  The person got so good at them, and so comfortable with them, that he was able to publish a book of them.  Ooops…  my practice is publishable!  I got curious about tonkas.  I had never heard of them.  Turns out they are a bit like haikus in that there is a fixed pattern of lines and syllables (five lines; 5-7-5-7-7 syllables).  Also, the third line is supposed to be a “turn” from observing something to the personal reaction to it.  I had some fun producing this one, though my personal reaction isn’t what I did with the last half of the poem.  But hey–poetic license!

A neat trick I learned while experimenting:  The first three lines should be able to stand alone and make sense, as should the last three.  That makes that “turn” line in the middle pretty critical since it has to play both sides of the quintain.  Also, once I started working on this I decided to use what was right in front of me and literally in my lap.  The restraints made it easier to focus the poem.

Tanka by Jeff Burd

Winds howl.  Frost creeps and
crackles on the window sill.
Warmth is near heaven.
Kitty finds my lap and curls
into a purring cherub.

Written by seeker70

February 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. […] made use of it starting in the middle of the first stanza, and I borrowed from myself with “Frost crackles and creeps up the window glass.”  The closing lines aren’t quite doing what I want them to yet, but here they are […]

  2. […] a tanka and wasn’t too displeased with the results.  I’ve written these before and even posted them on The Seeker, so it’s not a strange form to me.  I missed the two-way flexibility the third […]

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