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Hello, this is Frank Hubeny with Meeting the Bar. The theme today is brevity. In particular it is to write a poem with no more than five lines. There are no other constraints.

What poems are so short? Limericks have five lines. One stanza of common meter has only four lines and could be considered a complete poem. There is also the cinquain. Tony Maude presented this five-line form at dVerse a few years ago.  Tanka have five lines and haiku are even shorter with three lines. Any of these would fit today’s constraint.

To focus on tanka, Jane Kohut-Bartels provides a two part introduction to the art of writing tanka. In particular note her reference, in the second part, to how the third line acts as a pivot line. What that pivot provides is a content structure in addition to the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable structure. After finding that out I now look for a pivot in meaning in these very short poems.

Also consider the modified tanka form William N. Porter used in his 1909 translation of the Hyakunin-isshu, a collection of 100 tanka compiled in the 12th to 13th century Japan. His English tanka form has 8-6-8-6-6 syllables with a rhyme on the three shorter lines.

Kevin Steinbach reads Porter’s introduction and translation of the Hyakunin-isshu made available by LibriVox.

To participate in this prompt write a five-line or shorter poem in any form or free verse and post it to your blog. Copy the link to that post and place it in the Mister Linky below. The Mister Linky will show a list of others who are participating. See how other poets have met the challenge and comment on their writing. This is how we get to know each other. The Mister Linky will be available for two days.