Japanese Tanka by Charles Munger, Jr.

Tanka ("short poem") is one of the oldest (seventh century) and most popular forms of poetry in Japan. It has 31 syllables in a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern.

After the Fall

Earth shall now bear thorns;
To break bread you shall bear wounds.
Through pain and shed blood
Shall from love spring all new life.
For your sakes, this sacrifice.


First plant, Tree of Life:
I too grieve that Man is lost.
Yet some shall know us,
When as dust they choose to bear
Sword’s bite and refiner’s fire.