This post is for the Write Anything Form and Genre Challenge: Write a Tanka Poem
Photo: Magnolia tree in my front yard. March 23, 2012.
sweet smells fill the air
pink blooms paint the bright blue sky
springtime storm winds blow
petals dance and fall like rain
renewal for weary souls
I wrote this poem while staring at my Magnolia tree. It has bloomed several weeks early this year, due to our unseasonably mild winter and early spring. The blooms only last a few days under the best of conditions, but with the wind, rain and cooler temperatures we’ve had this weekend, the ground has now turned pink from all the petals that have danced to the ground. My family has a tradition of carefully watching the flowers as they bloom and also the weather forecast to predict what we call Magnolia Day –the day where the blooms are best, the fragrance is intoxicating and the weather is nicest. We sit out under the tree and have a picnic. When the winds kick up, the petals fly around the yard, falling like rain. If you look carefully, you may see some petals raining down in this photo, as it was breezy when I took it.
Tanka is a traditional Japanese-style poem written with a 5/7/5/7/7 verse which focuses on love or nature. It is over 13 centuries old, and as a result the rules for it have changed many times. There are forms where titles are not allowed and others where titles are acceptable. There is a tradition of a ‘change’ or ‘pivot’ in the third line as well, though that does seem to be optional. Rhyme, even accidental, is apparently considered a flaw.