Posted by: Jack Henry | March 29, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Waka

Good morning!

Todays topic is more about literature and writing than it is about English. I was just excited to learn this new word, and thought Id share. Most of you are probably familiar with the term haiku, which is a three-lined Japanese poem. The first and third lines are five syllables; the second line has seven syllables. What Im here to talk about today is waka poetry.

Waka is also a Japanese type of poem. A waka has five lines, and each line has five or seven syllables, like the haiku. A waka starts out the same as a haiku (5-7-5 syllable pattern), but then the last two lines are both seven syllables (5-7-5-7-7).

Here is an example of a haiku:

The Old Pond by Matsuo Bash

An old silent pond

A frog jumps into the pond

Splash! Silence again.

And here are some examples of wakas:

The heron pauses
In solitary vigil
Eyes a falling leaf
The dusk comes so early now
At the Sandy Bottom lakes

(by Otagiri Tatsuzou)

When cool breezes blow
portending the changing leaves
ladies fan themselves
in shimmering colored silks
…one cannot but enjoy life

(by Date Saburou Yukiie)

The flowers withered,
Their color faded away,
While meaninglessly
I spent my days in the world
And the long rains were falling.

(by Ono no Komachi)

I hope that you all

Have a happy, joyous day

At work or at home

Staying cozy, safe, and warm

As the sun sets on the day.

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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