Writing a Tanka

by Naomi Beth Wakan

Writing a tanka

is like feeling

the breeze coming up

from the shore

on the first day of Autumn.

It tells you that

the full blooming of summer

is over—

the seeds sown in Spring

are now to be harvested,

and entropy moves centre stage

as leaves fall and

stalks rot in the ground.

Yes, writing tanka

is like that

Like a record of a full life

and the bitter-sweetness

of knowing that

it must come to an end.

From Bent Arm for a Pillow: New and Selected Poems, Gabriola, British Columbia: Pacific-Rim Publishers, 2016, page 185. The same, too, is surely true of haiku.