Four Tanka On The Night Of The Autumn Equinox

Four Tanka On The Autumn Equinox


Broken free at last,
golden leaves go out dancing
like girls freed from the tea house,
brightly dressed in rustling silks,
giggling from behind their fans.

– winter-

In her hand the brush
Makes lines that are as graceful
as Crane taking flight.
Yet her lines hold a stillness
the stone pagoda envies.


O moon, come down here,
Said the emperor’s daughter.
I am catching frogs
But dropped my only lantern
as I watched you from the bridge.


The old koi looks up
to see the eyes of the fox.
Why brother, how kind
That you have come to visit.
How is it I may serve you?

These are part of a challenge issued by a gentle in the Kingdom of Calontir…

In my Kingdom of Calontir, King Damien has been challenging people to pick one project they have always wanted to do, and to take one year and do it. I have accepted the challenge, and my project is this.

In the year 1205 one of the great anthologies of Japanese poetry was completed, the Shin Kokin Wakashu. It collected 2000 poems in traditional format (tanka, poems of five lines in 5-7-5-7-7 syllable format) in 20 chapters, on 12 subjects: Spring, summer, autumn, winter, congratulations, laments, partings, travel, love, miscellaneous, Shinto poems, and Buddhist poems.

My goal is to create an SCA Shin Kokin Wakashu. I will collect poems for one year, until 9/17/2014, or until we reach 2000 poems (the size of the original). At that time the poems will be distributed for free online, to spread the word fame of our poets.

Poetry must follow the tanka/waka format of five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 sylables. Poems will be taken from anyone, regardless of persona, and will be credited how they wish (indicate in email). Art submissions or anyone who wants to help beautify it will be gratefully accepted as well.

Submissions should be sent to