Situating Wakan Tanka in Tanka

I recently came across the idea of an omnipresent creative force that is abstract and not personified, given the name Wakan Tanka by the Lakota and the Dakota tribes. I have tried to incorporate the idea into a Tanka.

I think the world of the Creative and the ultimate truth we seek in the transcendental is antithetical to our religion of science that is constantly looking inwards into the patterns of nature to pass them off as our own unique creations. This ongoing process of discovery, comprehension, understanding and replication of the superlative design inherent in the universe is many times touted as innovation. Strange indeed are the ways of language that seek to colonize superior design as a measure of of human intelligence. It may be so, but we are nowhere near perfect, yet.

[The tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form ~ ~ linked, is a fine article for those that wish to begin exploring Tanka and Waka]




You look for patterns

within the world of logic

for innovation.

Let me know once you create

a novel virus for love.


We seek solutions

replicating minutiae,

call it invention.

What’s the measure of progress ?

A novel vaccine for hate ?


I glanced at spiders

crafting thread, building homes and

bees transform nectar.

We simply try replicate,

while creating little new.


I see a rainbow.

They see an alphabet soup,

enmeshed in mere words

to conjure a difference,

when our hearts sadly fail us.


We mirror our lives

filtering flaws in photos,

seeking perfection

in mosaic vision,

with no ommatidia.

Arabian Nights and other stories

It occurred to me that ‘One thousand and one nights’ could have been the story of a woman stalling death through self soothing soliloquies. Marie Antoinette went grey the night before she was guillotined; so it must take a lot of strength to wax eloquent in stories, before ones imminent execution. I read one very tattered copy, lying around my childhood home, at twelve I think and loved parts of it. Today, I will try some haiku, tanka, waka maybe …

Sweet Scherezade,

spins in soft soliloquies,

sepulchral solace.


April blossoms are,

the laconic wit of Spring

at a shy winter.

She sings syllables in hue,

to a frosty reluctance.


Virgin bedchamber,

sweetly ricochets in tales,

like peas slumbering

in pods that divulge secrets

ripening in explosions.




Despite the dreary circumstance of Scheherazade’s storytelling under duress, within the bedchamber of Sultan Sharyar, she apparently gave birth to three sons during the period. Ok, poetic license I reckon but this is one heck of a strong woman.