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Event 3: Somonka (Tanka Pairs)

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Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:59 pm
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Liminality says...

Somonka (Tanka Pairs)

Summary: Write a somonka, a 10-line poetic form of Japanese origin.


How to Enter: Post your entry in this thread using the spoiler code, shown below, along with your team name (if you have one!)

Code: Select all
[spoiler]insert entry here[/spoiler]


The earliest somonka(or relationship poem) are found in the Manyoshu, a 1st century AD anthology of Japanese poems - at that time they were romantic poems among court lovers. However, somonka can express platonic love as well. Typically, the first tanka is a statement or declaration of love by one speaker, followed by a second tanka that is a response to that declaration by another speaker. A tanka usually has the following syllable structure:

5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables
7 syllables
7 syllables

So the overall somonka would be:



There's room for flexbility, though!

Bonus: include the kireji or 'cutting word' as a transition in place of punctuation such as a comma or full stop (period). The kireji is a strong image or word that causes a reader to change focus.

Source of info: Poetry Magnum Opus on somonka,on kireji, on tanka.

Translated by Alexander Vovin from Man'yoshu Book 15: A new translation containing the original text, kana translietration, romanization, glossing and commentary (2009) Pub. BRILL, p.36-37


If the fog rises
at the seaside lodging
where my lord is going,
know that it is my breath that
rises lamenting for you.


Although we will see each other
when autumn arrives,
I wonder, why
you should lament
so that your breath would rise as fog?

(note: the original does not come with line breaks in this way, but I've added them in based on the divisions marked in on the text)

For an example originally written in the English language, see Robert Lee Brewer's poem Sugar.

If you need help counting syllables (though as mentioned earlier, the syllable rules are really quite flexible in somonka), you can use a syllable counter as a guide (trust your instincts first, though :D).

I'll be judging based on:

1. the use of the form and themes of somonka (so the poem has to count as a somonka. Leeway for creative modifications exists, for instance if you have 6-7-6-7-7 syllables to make it flow, that still works, but you won't be eligible for this event if you submit a free verse poem!).
2. creativity - for instance, is it an unusual or unique idea? Or a 'typical' idea but developed in a unique way?
3. quality of imagery - so that means specificity and how it evokes emotion.

Good luck and have fun!

End time:

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126 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:17 pm
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yosh says...


i will be submitn 4 chaos tem n we r soupearier in evre way

Spoiler! :

leaves turn orange, brown
and land on cobblestone steps
silently falling
forever crushed underfoot
autumn brings them solitude

leaves turn yellow, red
and fall on quiet water
silently landing
forever sinking below
autumn brings them solitude
they told me to never give up on my dreams.

so i took another nap

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 3:59 pm
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Elinor says...

Submitting for Team Chaos!

Spoiler! :
Three short days ago,
the first time I saw your face
I knew it would be
you and I, together.

No name would come between us.

But I am frightened—
Because you are not with me,
Their words about you
And my impending marriage.
I cannot live without you.

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

-- Walt Disney

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 4:50 pm
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Plume says...

Spoiler! :
forget-me-nots grow
atop your crumbling gravestone
because i go back
every year, with seeds in hand,
and plant some to make you smile.

the roots tickle me.
you always gave the best gifts.
know this, my lost love:
i will meet you again soon
where the forget-me-nots grow.
I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

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700 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 4:58 pm
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ForeverYoung299 says...

Team Chickens
Spoiler! :
Well. @Liminality please tell me if it counts as a Somonka. I wrote what I understood but I really doubt my understanding. If it does not, you can delete it and pls let me know.

Spoiler! :
I couldn't feel the rain
But beyond doubt it's magic
It has brought me you
Ardent, annealing angel
Oh, my procrastination!

Oh dear, thanks a lot
For warming insensate me
I praise you the wet
You made my love lethargic
Now She loves me; me- her bed.
Last edited by ForeverYoung299 on Tue Aug 03, 2021 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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45 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 5:06 pm
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rida says...

Team chickens
Last line- 8 syllables instead of 7, is that acceptable?
Spoiler! :

Spoiler! :
We are stumbling,
Tripping over what we think
Is joy- when true love
Flickers on our fingertips-
static-beats, quirky music.

The heart sings a song-
Can’t you hear it? Rhythmic beats
Whisper love, and hope-
And how broken melodies
Eventually find their songs


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Tue Aug 03, 2021 5:40 pm
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Valkyria says...

Team Dragons

Spoiler! :
Spectacular red
explodes against tranquil blue
over orange tinge.
The sky reflects your fervor;
the sunrise reflects your eyes.

Love, stars paint patterns
on the front of your black dress.
Your eyes reflect calm.
You soothe the wildest beasts;
Your presence gives the world peace.
Don't just exist; live


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497 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:24 pm
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Que says...

Team Chickens

Spoiler! :
Constantly moving,
bright fires light in your mind,
crackle and dim, then—
slowly, simmering, smiling,
you wrap your arms around me.

So small in my arms,
quiet with the wisdom that
you hold within you
the vast depths of the ocean,
the stillness of the night sky.
Est-ce que vous parlez français?

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208 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 6:31 pm
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weathervane says...

I hope the chickens like angst <3 (Team Chickens)
Spoiler! :

there are many things
that come with the abundance
of love--- acceptance.
your bones do not creak in the
same ways as they did before.

it is a matter
of laying myself far back
under your bed-- that
acceptance is knowing you're
loved and possibly alive
"My love for you is the only empire I will ever build."
— Mindy Nettifee

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 8:55 pm
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FireEyes says...

Team Chaos!
Spoiler! :
"Don't listen to her
Don't let her affect you now
She has her problems
of her own to settle down
She's in your life but not long

Don't be your sister
Please for the love of God, don't
But keep loving her
because she knows her life is
keeping up with things she lost
I won't go down by myself, but I'll go down with my friends
I'm taking back the life you stole
Came a time when every star fall brought you to tears again

-My Chemical Romance

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60 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 9:52 pm
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LizzyTyler says...

Team Chickens!
Spoiler! :

Do you know I love?
I love you with all my heart.
I will sing your praise,
Never to be mistaken,
You are my one and only.

What are you saying?
We have been friends forever.
I do not love you.
I wish you well on your path.
May we never meet again.
“your highness” is gender neutral

so if you are ever confused about my pronouns

that’l work

alternatively “your majesty”, “my liege”, and “supreme overlord”

*please note “your grace” is also acceptable

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 9:54 pm
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Hijinks says...

Spoiler! :
You hug me and leave
your spines in my side—i know
it’s my fault that i
plucked your slim stem, but i still
ask you to become tweezers.

Two things: stop blaming
everything on yourself, and
i am not silver
ware—i am just a thistle
velcroed onto your heartbeat.
When you're faced with something you don't understand, I think the most natural thing but also least interesting thing you can be is afraid.

-- Hank Green

previously whatchamacallit and Seirre

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15 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 10:00 pm
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Rodionandaxe says...

Spoiler! :
The leaves are so green,
exactly like once before.
The morn is singing,
just like a long time ago.
My fire, don't you remember?

When no trace remains,
the birds though different, yes,
will sing just the same.
Don't compare to evergreen,
the storms are fierce and transient.
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. " - by Dr Seuss

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1176 Reviews

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:12 pm
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alliyah says...

homecoming | songs for rain

Spoiler! :
The rain sings to ground
long-parched - I'm sorry river,
I've been gone too long
and you've been turning in tides,
praying while the sand just dries.

Then earth shifts carved with
the rain's gentle rivulets -
I knew you'd return,
so I told the fish and sky
not to worry; you are home.

team chickens
you should know i am a time traveler &
there is no season as achingly temporary as now
but i have promised to return

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Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:15 pm
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momonster says...

Team Chickens!!!

Spoiler! :
each morning, i rise
in a drizzle of vibrant,
glorious colors.
but if you stay in my sight,
i will scorch you and burn you.

each night, i ascend,
my pale light soothing your burns.
i smile at you,
your calm, sleeping form, dreaming
of kissing your lips.
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For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14 NIV

never apologize for standing up for what you believe in.

previously MomoandAppa, LordMomo, MomoMajesty, and dancingontheclouds

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