in the morning light
frost sparkles on the roof-tops
a barking dog
sound drifting on the chilled wind
this frosted morn
frozen autumn leaves
there is a different sound
walking in the park
line the streets and homes
carols on the wind
speak of good kings and shepherds
smell the chestnuts roasting
© G.s.k. ‘15
Someone recently asked me what I meant by “waka”. Waka, historically was the word used to distinguish the classical poetry written in Japanese in place of kanshi or Classical Chinese. It was swiftly extended to all Japanese poetry … later it was used more and more often to designate the tanka … which was a hokku with a two-line ending of 7-7 syllables (and also the five line ending of a choka).
I use it to mean any of the many classical poetic forms, now mostly forgotten, such as the choka, sedoka, katauta (etc.) and of course tanka – but I also think of kyoka and senryu as waka, though the Japanese do not consider these last two as proper poetry forms at all being considered spurious haiku or tanka as well as vulgar or too mundane.