Wednesday, January 18, 2012

For Real Toads: the Tanaga

For this week’s poetry format challenge, Grace has presented the writers’ group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads with a style originating in the Philippines and called a Tanaga.

“It is similar in nature to the Japanese short forms of haiku or tanka. Most tanagas were passed down orally. They are claimed to be one of the oldest form of poetry in the Philippines,” says Grace. “We'll be working with a "modern" tanaga; historical ones are written in Tagalog or other Filipino dialects.
“A tanaga is a short poem of four lines, each line seven syllables with a single rhyme,” she continues. “Today, other rhyme schemes are used, including freestyle rhyme, but for the purpose of this exercise, let's try to stick with couplets.”

I’m glad Grace mentioned other rhyme schemes are in use today because, while I did try to stick to couplets for a few Tanagas, I broke the rhyme pattern in the last one. Even a simple format isn’t always easy!
Each of these was written to stand alone, but they can be read together without losing the theme.


seven syllables have we
for this form of poetry
poems can be metaphors
for life’s windows, for life’s doors
my life is many verses
the kind no one rehearses
strife happens in life, and then,
some things will happen again
memories of days long gone
are a most seductive song
time has blurred memory’s eye
we remember, and we sigh
in poems we look inward
we look forward, we look back
give thanks for what we’re given
yet we yearn for what we lack


cosmos cami said...

A great read!
The 2nd was my favorite.

Kay L. Davies said...

@ Cami — Thanks, mine, too. In fact, it was the first one I wrote.

Hannah Pratt said...

I really liked this one.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So good - and you managed four, a true feat!

Grace said...

Very nice examples of the poetry form.. I love them all ~

Susie Clevenger said...

Wow, so many great examples of the poetry form...the second one is my favorite too

Teresa said...

I just love the third one!

Lolamouse said...

Fantastic! A true feat to do 4 and to tie them all together! Well done!

Titus said...

Lovely. I particularly liked the third stanza too.

Kerry O'Connor said...

How elegantly this poem unravels - the tanaga works very well as a stanza in a longer poem.