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What is Tanka?

tanka poem is a Japanese poem which can also be known as a waka or uta.

tanka poem is similar to a haiku but has two additional lines …but I am a modern American tanka poet who writes of many things.

Here are 34 of my Tanka Poems

There now dry your eyes
don’t be upset little man
things will get better
everything will be okay
Rome was not built in one day

I lived my life
the sun rises as usual
it is my last one
it is my last sunset—too
goodbye—I now leave this place

The kettledrums call 
you have to learn to play them
it just takes practice
just feel the beat and practice
Carnegie Hall is waiting

Across dewy grass
the slug trail winds like a snake
but no doubt lucent
—a slug path to be sure
it skips and disappears

Racing down through hills 
in southern California
come dry—hot winds
from the Upper Mojave
—the Santa Ana winds blow

He had no worries
without urbanization
in a simpler life
when he became a caveman
and drifted back into time

She may never know 
—she does possess a special gift
of giving kindness
those who know her feel blessed
—they know she’s better than the rest

Could be déjà vu?
I’ve got to be on my toes
—this closeness to you
—temptation comes to call
I’m back in the danger zone

Oh, medicine man
you and your feathered headdress
do you hear me call 
to you in your jungle home 
can you cure what ails me?

Echo Springs tells me
I am once again at peace
—in tranquility
—I’m back in nature’s spell
—my healing and needing place

Outlaws lie in graves 
with the good—the bad—and ugly
—and a few great men
—reading tombstones—he did the math
of when they had all come and gone

Hard labor he did
his life was a rocky world
he was a man lost—
he had no computer skills
—a man in a changing world

In the summertime
Okanagan sunflowers
bloom in the east cascades
—among the rolling hills
with yellow petals flashing

He learned from books
and he learned as he went
he kept on learning
—he learned from his lovers
—and from nature—his common friend

In fog—wind—and rain
the North Head Lighthouse stands
—lights on dusk to dawn
warning ships of sand and surf
at Columbia’s mouth

Dirty tramp at door
he begs for soap—not food
he wants to be clean
—with water hose and soap bar
—he scrubs himself in my yard

Oh, where might he be?
on a highway of cars?
he awakes in the dark
—or a rumbling train he hears
—maybe the ocean roaring near?

Along the river
tree leaves over rushing water
—they dance in the wind
—all a glitter with sunlight
—on this summer’s shinning day

Beggars and peasants 
the destitute and homeless
they go hand in hand
living life on a shoestring
nonmaterial to the max

Sunset Kalaloch
out beyond the driftwood beach
on the horizon
where the sky meets the sea
a fading sun disappears

He spoke his wisdom
—there is no beginning or end
just deeper contact
with the eternal beyond
and one’s love for nature

No water and weak
lips dry and parched from thirst
the sun beats—hot desert
—a blue wavy sea in distance
is that a mirage he sees?

Enjoy the moment 
nothing remains as is—for long
time frames jump quickly
all things are transitory
here today—gone tomorrow

I am thankful for
tiny animals transparent
in the deep blue sea
—all food for fish—whales—and me
—without them—I may not be

Not the cold far north
—he hungered more sunlight
and Mexico’s warmth
—he learned to speak Spanish
then he traveled south for good

At one with nature
in the middle of the night
—he crazy or not
under the moon’s reflection
—he swims naked with the fish

I’m in heaven 
everything’s copacetic
right where I’m at
I think I’ll just settle
—this place called satisfied

For perpetual help
don’t pass up this free offer
—eternal life policy—
one can be saved again
all that’s needed—honest prayer

Practice more practice—
guru—don’t hand me that jive
—meditations take time
I have family—I have wife
—how many hours—in my life?

Driving in thick fog
everything hides in my sight
undefined views
just silhouettes and shadows
—I can’t see distinctly

Inner self—my soul
my inner self—my real self
will not let me drift
—my inner self sustains me
—it is my faith within me

He cries to the trees 
to the animals he bawls
—shaman’s wailing calls
with his rattles and his moans
—he chants for higher wisdom

Sex—age—color—race
do not matter in any case
—when it’s death to face
—under sod—all dead will lay
unless be ash—and blow away

The farmers planted 
and the life of man went on
—the warriors killed
and more mayhem came about
—what is a warrior-farmer?

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