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Bardic Arts

Tanka At Twenty Paces

by
Makiwara no Yetsuko
(aka Jehanne de Wodeford)
January 23, 2003

O owner of silk
Tell me where thou found such stuff
So sleek and golden?
My robes are limp and tattered
As storm battered autumn leaves!

Haiku is too late!
Sixteen Forty-Four is when
Basho came to be.
So you will have to settle
For my humble little verse!


Copyright ©2004 Lisa A. Joseph

"Waka, also known as tanka or uta is the ancestor of haiku. In my research on the arts of Heian Japan, I learned that this form was used for contests, in which one person might start the first three lines and others had to come up with the last two, or one poem must be answered by a new one. Lovers frequently sent messages using this poetic form, often using imagery from nature. As a courtly entertainment, it is extremely well suited to spur-of-the moment topics, in fact, several of the poems below were written in response to topical challenges. I have included the occasional note to provide context."

"January 23, 2003, these are proof that it is possible to start tanka contests on non-bardic SCA lists." -- Makiwara no Yetsuko


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