Tankas* for Earth’s Children

Volcanoes fester
seethe and boil beneath earth’s skin
like red hot anger
held within, spews forth fury
assaults all within its grasp.

Watch how the clouds fly
sometimes dark and threatening
often soft and light
retreat in black moonlit sky
promise always to return.

Oceans between lands
offer pathways to friendship
teem with life for life.
Waves ebb and flow to all shores,
assure life’s cycle anew.

Sun of mother earth,
shines her perpetual light
nurtures all children,
no matter diversity
prejudice vanquished for all.

Listen my children,
the earth shudders in anguish
sees your refusal
to step lightly on her soil.
Embrace your sameness and love.


*My June Challenge Poetry Class assignment was to write a poem within constraints, and the next day’s assignment, to write a poem of instruction. This combined the two. A tanka is a genre of classical Japanese poetry that contains 31 syllables, typically in lines of 5-7-5-7-7.

4 thoughts on “Tankas* for Earth’s Children

  1. AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack July 19, 2015 / 11:02 am

    Love the seamless transitions here – and thank you, Lillian for giving the genesis of this piece – interesting to note after completing a beautiful read.
    I find it amazing how you work within what I call ‘constraints’ – all the more challenging to create within – like reigning in a stallion that refuses to be broken…
    Hope this morning finds you with coffee in hand and enjoying a glorious 7th floor view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 19, 2015 / 11:16 am

      ah….sipping away and so nice to see you this morning! 🙂 Will be a hot one here today.
      So glad you like this one and especially happy to see the words “seamless” transitions….that for me is the hardest when you do a haiku or, in this case, even 1 tanka much less a series of them. That’s why I always find it amazing when I read poetry that is rhyming and don’t realize it till I’m through the “sense” of the poem. I’ve tried to rhyme and it comes out like the proverbial “roses are red, violets are blue”! So, thank you for the S word!
      Enjoy your day, my friend!


      • AnnMarie Roselli-Kissack July 19, 2015 / 1:08 pm

        Hi Lillian.
        Hot here as well and I have a grad party to attend a bit later…lots of sweaty graduates…I’ll smartly hang with my ilk– the old and wise–in the air conditioning 😉
        I enjoy free verse because it’s the only way I can write any sort of ‘poetry.’ I admire your ability to indeed transition to the different forms and in such a naturally consistent way – powerful imagery and thought-evoking words…
        keep cool today

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s