Morning Tanka #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018

national poetry writing month 2018

Sunrise on the Plains
Flute song of the meadowlark
Band of pronghorn browse
A rafter of wild turkeys
Traffic jam on the prairie

tim ellis pronghorn

Photo Credit: Tim Ellis,


A tanka is a short poem with thirty-one syllables divided among five lines with a 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count. 




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8 responses to “Morning Tanka #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018”

  1. Glenda M. Funk Avatar

    I love the imagery here. Up in Yellowstone we see buffalo jams. I think I’m going to have to try writing a tanka. I was thinking about how I can write about the mountain view on my drive each morning. I’m inspired.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I live just a few miles from Custer State Park, where you can get stuck in a buffalo jam any time! It’s marvelous. I actually really enjoyed this form. It’s supposed to have the turn at the end too, preferably (I think) in the final two lines. Putting this together sent me down many an Internet rabbit hole that I hope to mine for future pieces! I hope to see your mountain view tanka soon! You’re in Idaho, right? SO beautiful! One of my favorite states to drive through.

  2. Amanda Potts Avatar

    “A rafter of wild turkeys” – Is it really a “rafter”? Oh how I love the names of animal groups. Great imagery here – and I’d nearly forgotten about the tanka.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, isn’t that so wonderful?! One of my many Internet chases this morning was bird group names. I was quite charmed by “a bouquet of pheasants.” I copied an entire page of the things into my notebook because they were too fantastical to believe. I am sure I will write some future pieces based off the wonderful language I discovered. The tanka was a little more challenging than I thought it would be, but I really enjoyed playing with it. Will definitely try another.

      1. Amanda Potts Avatar

        A bouquet of pheasants?! That’s just amazing.

  3. carwilc Avatar

    I love all the peaceful, quiet imagery, and then the twist on the last line. This is beautiful!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Carol. Super fun to work on and sent me down many an Internet rabbit hole!

  4. Grocery List #NPM2018 | readingteachsu Avatar

    […] A tanka is a Japanese poem consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the other seven, making 31 syllables in all and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.  Thanks Elisabeth Ellington for this amazing example. […]

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