Bare Branches

silvered by moonlight
two willows bare their branches
leafless twigs and roots
delicately intertwined
beneath an awning of stars

© Kim M. Russell, 2016


My response to Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #4 Teika’s 2nd Tanka Writing Technique “Appropriate statement” – prompt: bare branches

In another episode of Tanka Splendour we are exploring the second of Ten Tanka Writing Techniques by Teika, ‘Appropriate Statement’, with the prompt ‘bare branches’. Chèvrefeuille has explained that this technique comes from Emperor Go-Toba’s Secret Teachings, in which the Priest Shun’e said of this style that ‘ poem should be composed so that seems to glide as smoothly as a drop of water rolling down the length of a five-foot iris leaf’. He gave us an example in a poem by Shunzei, #16:988 Senzaishū:

sumiwabite / mi o kakusubeki / yamazoto ni /amari kuma naki /yowa no tsuki kana

weary of the world
I thought to hide myself away
in this mountain village
but it reaches every corner of the night
bright radiance of the moon

Although the tanka has five lines (5-7-5-7-7) and the haiku has three lines (5-7-5), they both have nature as their most important theme. However, in tanka we can find mostly a more secret layer on love, sensuality and sexuality, because tanka was derived from waka, a kind of love-poem in which to share secret love affairs:

bare branches colorful leaves fallen a natural quilt thoughts arise … arouse the senses sharing warmth with the one I love

© Chèvrefeuille

3 thoughts on “Bare Branches

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