Four Tanka

she says to copy

the night’s assignment

in my diary

a girl flies off

the point of my pencil

she says to read

the next twenty-eight pages

in the book

he tips on the edge between

tables in the lunchroom

leaving the orbit

of desks, white boards, and coat hooks,

he waves, explaining

black holes are extremely dark

but you can still survive them

raindrops spot the glass
with tiny gray-skied planets
one by one they fall
my outdoor voice is too big
for recess in the lunchroom
© 2012 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved
I’ve spent the week exploring tanka. I’m drawn to the idea of two resonating images. I think perhaps tanka lend themselves to expressing some of the dilemmas of being a kid in a grown-up world.

I think it might be fun to do a tanka activity in a class of older elementary or middle school students. I can imagine giving everyone the same first three lines (maybe the first three of the last tanka above) and asking the kids to write the last two. It would be so interesting to see what everyone came up with.

2 replies
  1. Linda says:

    Hi Liz- I enjoyed your tanka! There is a journal called Ribbons that publishes tanka. Have you heard of them? You shoud submit your poems to them. : )

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