Dawn Thoughts – June 29, 2014


backache and neck pain
a slight headache and I’m late
got so much to do
shaking my head I think that
these distractions – are arse pains

Japanese Poetry – Reflection

The Japanese are an extraordinary folk!  They have a variety of poetry forms, but they all physically look the same!

Take a haiku, which was once just a fragment of a bigger collaborative poem known as a renga and went under the name of hokku.  It’s all prim and proper with just so many onji (17 to be precise) about nature or something spiritual – has a kigo or seasonal word and then a cutting phrase to top it all off.  The first and last 5 syllable phrases can be inverted.  The middle 7 syllable phrase creates a sort of evolution in the poem.  One shouldn’t use the “ego” in it, it’s always in the present and one shouldn’t give an opinion … just the scene.  It can be very complicated to write.

The senryu which has the same structure 17 onji was born as a parody of the haiku.  I used to be a bawdy addition to a party and poets (who actually weren’t considered such by the more intellectual spiritual haiku masters) were paid to come up with something funny, maybe even following the haiku form with kigo et al … but you could use whatever popped into your head including ego, rhyme, conclusions, past tense punctuation all in 17 onji (for us syllables).

The kyoka therefore looks like a tanka, but tanka it ain’t!  The kyoka, historically was what the present senryu is now.  It was about the mundane … it could be comical or semi-serious with tongue in cheek humor.  It could be bawdy, it could be funny, it could be dead serious … but just for that reason, it could never be a tanka!  For more information about the kyoka and links to posts that specialize in the sort of poem follow this link to Poetry Forms!

8 thoughts on “Dawn Thoughts – June 29, 2014

    • Don’t take my word as gold as the Italians say … one of the reason I put up the link too. But speaking to my son this morning he said: well, so what’s the big deal … in prose we have science fiction and fantasy ect and they’re all in the same form, only the content is different. Sigh … cut right through my idea in a sec and demolished it!


  1. I have probably misnamed a good many of my efforts since I was unaware they had a true name!

    I’ll probably still get it wrong, but I’m not one to worry to much about rules or names.

    Feel better and thank you, my friend, you are a gem. This form reminds me just a tad of the Limerick. I am rhythmically challenged with the Limerick umpa-pa-pa – humor, though is not this issue 🙂


    • I’ve been scratching my head over the same problem, which had led me to look into different aspects of Japanese poetry in the first place. But I’m not going to worry about it, too much. I like limericks to a point and never had many problems with that particular form … but there are other that make me shiver … like Jen’s Ya Du!


      • Ah – I’ll have to look into Ya Du.
        There are some like sonnets that are just too complex for me. Though I did attempt a villenelle (something like that once). There was also another long verse one that was just too dark and deep. I can do deep, but I’m over dark.


        • Amen for the dark. I can’t really get my mind around dark … which seems is what “real poetry” is supposed to be about, sigh. I like to try forms for the hell of it. The villanelle as most sonnets certainly is one complex puppy! I have a terrible time with ballads and odes. Especially ballads.


          • I think dark can be Um… emotional and entertaining but not horrid and just plain gross. I don’t mind trying new things… but we don’t have to keep watching horror movies if they give us nightmares 🙂


          • I’m not much for horror personally. Of course not everything “dark” is horrid. I do like Neil Gaiman’s books very much. I don’t seem to have the knack for writing dark though and Tim Burton … but I don’t know if that is considered dark. 😉


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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