Sunrays playfully Dance across the ocean waves. Deep blue depth is silent. I see the clouds on the sky Mirror my expiry
~ ~ ~
Tanka poems, when written in Japanese, follow a pattern of syllables 5-7-5-7-7. In other words, the first and third lines contains only five syllables each, while the second, fourth, and fifth lines have seven syllables.
Additionally each tanka is divided into two parts. The first three lines are the upper phrase, and the last two lines are the lower phrase. The upper phrase typically contains an image, and the lower phrase presents the poet's ideas about that image. Many traditional poetic forms have a turn, a place where the poem shifts, and for the tanka this happens between the upper and lower phrase.
While haiku poems are usually about nature, tanka are often personal reflections on love and other strong emotions. Tanka also use figurative language and methapor meanings.