Tanka Trip

Tanka (Nihongo for “short song”) is the modern name for waka (Japanese song), the traditional form of lyric poetry which has been in existence in Japan for over 1300 years.

The waka or tanka is an unrhymed verse form of 31 syllables often written in one continuous unpunctuated line. Based on the original count, we will divide the syllables into 5 lines which are subdivided into 5-7-5-7-7. Since original Japanese poetry does not depend on rhyme, our takes on the poem may take a free form. It may rhyme, it may not, better if it does by some stroke of luck.

Since there are no strict rules except for the count, the English and Tagalog versions may be independent of each other unless the author chooses to stick to a transliteration. My initial attempt is something like that.

Hop in!


You have been chosen
the father of your children
so must be lessened;
that you are off to a start
that is as good as your heart.

Source: About Tanka and its History by Amelia Fielden

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avatar About Abraham de la Torre

I'm married to a lovely, loving woman who blessed me with two wonderful sons. Poetry is my passion, even if it's on a mood level. Like, I'm a geyser one moment and drained the next. Each outpouring, however, is a personal testament to truth, a poem being empty were it phony. I got the genes from my Dad, who passed away, in 2003, at 77. He was my most avid audience. There are other inspiring sources but Dad was the darnedest. Instead of miss him, I fill the void with verses.


  1. avatar Erwin Fernandez says:

    Good as your heart is,
    water will break through concrete
    in time and submerged
    in dark and muddy water
    condensing from unclean hearts.

  2. Condense unclean hearts
    let defilement dissipate
    take it down and thwart
    procrastinating, quash it
    until you’re freed from its bait.

  3. avatar Erwin Fernandez says:

    Don’t take offered bait
    no matter how sweet the lure
    her barbs are hidden
    dripping with such a venom
    you’ll be dying on her whim

  4. avatar Abraham de la Torre says:

    Dying on her whim
    entirely not up to him
    we cannot postpone
    a dire possibility
    even on a prayer’s wing.

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