by Ashley Lister
Since we started looking at poetry as a writing exercise we’ve
considered various syllable forms. The most famous of these is the haiku, usually
interpreted in Western writing as three lines containing 5-7-5 syllables.
As I’ve said before, I enjoy the discipline of syllable forms
because it forces us to approach words from a different angle. We’re counting
syllables as well as considering the perceived denotations and connotations of potential
There are other variations on this syllable-counting theme.
One of the more popular is the tanka.
The tanka is similar to the haiku except it’s longer in that
it’s usually five lines and interpreted as 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. Given that it’s
almost double the length of the haiku, the tanka can still be surprisingly
However, this month’s form is not the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable tanka.
This month we’re looking at the somonka.
The somonka is made up of two tanka-sized stanzas presented as
an exchange of love letters.
Note to my master
I come to you on my knees
Ready and willing
My bare flesh is yours tonight
Do with me as you see fit
To my submissive
Thank you for your love letter
It was not needed
Your bare flesh is mine tonight
But only if I want it
Does that look simple enough? Two tank-sized stanzas (5-7-5-7-7
syllables) presented as an exchange of love letters. I look forward to seeing
your somonkas in the comments box below.