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Tanka: Death Eternal Sleep

Updated on November 16, 2011

Tanka Poem: Death Eternal Sleep

Death comes to us all.

No one is spared this sleep.

You are going home.

Your ancestors you will meet.

Restful your eternal sleep.

My Tanka: Death Eternal Sleep

After writing one Tanka the second was much easier. I managed to step further away from rhyming schemes which was hard for me at first. It is idealized poem of the celebration of death.

The Tanka poem rhyming scheme is very simple and easy to master freeing up the poet to concentrate on the substance of the poem and not the form. The Tanka poem has 31 syllables which include the first line having five syllables. The second line has seven syllables while the third line has five syllables again. The fourth line has seven syllables and then the last line has seven syllables. It is the Mother of the Haiku which is a short form of the Tanka.


I have lost quite a few friends lately as well as my Mother and as she was dying I watched her sleep more and more. This is probably an idealized version of death because for me to watch was like having my skin ripped off my entire body and I feel more awake then I have ever been in my life. But I don’t think that would be very good material for a poem. So I went with the idealization of what I had hoped my Mother felt as she lost her life. I am very aware that this was not what she felt.

But I can grieve for her not having an idealized death as well through this form of poetry and hope that she finally has the peace she so richly deserves. And in writing this I know I will only have that peace when I reach my reward as well.

Definition of Tanka Poetry

I don’t feel qualified to explain this type of poetry but will share a link that will provide you with a definition below


The Tanka poem is perhaps easier and more expressive than the Haiku although I truly enjoy both form of poetry. And it give the poet a bit more freedom to express themselves. Obviously, these form of Japanese poetry were meant to be written in English because Japanese has so many syllables in each work. For instance the word treasure in Japanese is Takara which is four syllables. But I could be completely wrong and there could actually be Japanese Tanka poem which I have not read or know about. After this contest I will pursue suck answers in my leisure time.

If you enjoyed this poem please vote it up.


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