The basic structure of a tanka poem is 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7. In other words, there are 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, 5 syllables in line 3, and 7 syllables in lines 4 and 5.
The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification.
Ah, so it’s not just the syllable count that matters. The subject matter has to involve simile, metaphor and personification. Raise the stakes!!
What are Simile, Metaphor and Personification?
Simile = Both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison that compare words in a sentence. They can be used to make your sentences more interesting. How are similes and metaphors different? A simile is a word that compares words in a sentence. You can usually tell if a simile is present in a sentence when you see the words as or like. Don ate his salad like a vacuum cleaner. His arms were weak and felt like noodles. The thunder was as loud as fireworks.
Metaphor = Like a simile, a metaphor compares words in a sentence; however, instead of saying that one thing is like something else, a metaphor actually makes one thing become something very different by renaming it. A metaphor can sometimes use words like is, are, or was (and other words) to signal that a metaphor is present. However, a metaphor never uses the words like or as to compare. The smoke was cotton balls billowing from the chimney. You are my hero. The sun was a furnace.
Personification = Personification is the act of giving non-living things human characteristics. Here is a sample of a short paragraph that uses personification to describe a house:
Our house is an old friend of ours. Although he creeks and groans with every gust of wind, he never fails to protect us from the elements. He wraps his arms of weathered wood around us and keeps us safe. He’s always been a good friend to us and we would never leave him.
Which of those three does my Tanka below employ?
Jesus is a tree
Whose trunk is strong and stable
From it, we branches
Grow out of His love and care
And we bear His compassion
Is it a simile, a metaphor or personification?
Try a Tanka of your own. And have a Terrific Tuesday!
I promised a week or so ago that I would post pictures of the main plates at our Madison Valley Ranch “Food & Wine Pairings” dinner gathering. Zach, one of the coordinators, said he’d send his photos to me. I was so busy enjoying the meal and chatting with friends that I forgot to get my phone out of my pocket!
Zach didn’t send photos, but I recently received these from another of the event’s participants:
Anyway, a promise is a promise. I said I’d share the photos. Needless to say, they don’t do justice to the tastes and the ambience. I wonder when computers will emit food smells?