春の前触れ harbingers of spring – tanka 短歌,

"Robins" free illustration by John Burroughs, 1876

“Robins” free illustration by John Burroughs, 1876

春の前触れ Haru no maebur
Robins in my yard
Running chirping seeking worms
Thin layer of snow
Dissipates under their feet
In their chirps the sound of spring

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Course of Our Seasons
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 17:25:52

    Huge flocks of robins have been here for a few weeks, so love to hear their piping song, the harbinger of spring. Lovely!
    I wonder if you would mind explaining what makes a poem a tanka. I have seen the use of the word with haiku and I am not sure what makes one or the other. I know that classical haiku would be the 5 7 5 syllables, but that doesn’t seem to be followed much in contemporary writing.
    Thanks! K

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Mar 07, 2015 @ 19:03:36

      A haiku is syllable lines of 5-7-5, is not usually personal, and must have a season word in the first line. Like “robin”, snow, hawk, mackerel clouds, clear water (shimizu no mai – water of spring) would be season words. Romance, red car, etc. would not be a season word. A senryu has the same rhythm count but is personal. Haiku most always refers to nature. many people write what I call faux ku….they only get the 5-7-5 correct. Tanka are often called “completed” haiku – their rhythm is 5-7-5-7-7 Sometimes back in the ancient days of Japan, the host would write a haiku and then give it an honored guest to “complete” – a renga. The last two lines would be 7-7. Court ladies often used them to send messages to their lovers or to write about a rendezvous. Tanka do not have to be nature oriented although, I prefer to keep them as such and a “completed” haiku. Both are “short poems”. the 5-7-5 is the upper phrase, or the kami-no-ku.and the 7-7 is called lower phrase or the shimo-no-ku . I hope what I am saying makes sense. Let me know. I am by no means any kind of authority and being human, I get most annoyed at faux-ku. I hope I have not bored you or sounded “know-it-all”. Haiku and tanka are actually my “specialties”. And writing them in English would be different from in Japanese, rules for rhythms. It is a bad thing to get me started! thank you for asking. 😊

      Reply

      • The Course of Our Seasons
        Mar 07, 2015 @ 19:49:59

        Not boring at all! Your explanation is the clearest I have read regarding the different types. I write micro-poetry on Twitter and many times have been told they were haiku and was not really sure why – I will start paying closer attention to the syllables – you may have started something with my writing. smiles Thank you so much! K

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Mar 07, 2015 @ 20:00:23

          I hope so. You can go online and do a search for Japanese kigo (season word) and it will bring up hundreds by season. They will also give you an excellent idea for local season words like maybe, pussy willow, calf, honeysuckle. I am glad this helped you.

          Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Mar 07, 2015 @ 19:04:20

      PS, if you look at my tanka, the first three lines could be a stand alone haiku.

      Reply

  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 17:30:15

    You’ve chosen well, Kansen, the penciled drawing for this Tanka. Your words bring the illustration to life. ❤ ❤ Spring sings. ❤

    Reply

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 01:25:28

    Those sweet birds coming – of course seasons bring other birds here.. The sound of the tits is really the first harbinger, lovely.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Mar 08, 2015 @ 12:04:10

      We have a tiny pine tit that has a sweet trill. It is more of a summer bird but I always listen out for them. We get them in May through October. I love it when the seasonal birds return.

      Reply

  4. macjam47
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 07:44:38

    Delightful poem. Waiting for the first harbinger of spring to appear here.

    Reply

  5. Bastet
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 08:23:41

    Lovely tanka and what a fantastic image you’ve chosen to illustrate it! Chapeau!

    Reply

  6. Bryan Ens
    Mar 08, 2015 @ 17:09:52

    love robins…especially that they represent the beginning of Spring.

    Reply

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