Waka Waka Waka -- Part One  January 22, 2008 - February 22, 2008

Reading and Deliberating


This one will be fun, I promise.

Poetry has played a big part in Western history, but an even larger part in Eastern history. More specifically, the Heian period in Japanese history was dominated by poets and artisans. Books tell of the Imperial Court at Heian -- of a room built around a stream that ran through a delicate garden. It was in this room that the Japanese nobles spent most of their time, bonding with nature and with each other, and writing their experiences in the form of poetry.

Their poem of choice was the "Waka." When writing Waka poetry, one would follow the rules that would later be called "Haiku." Five syllables, then seven, then five. However, unlike Haiku, the Waka was not finished after the original writer completed their three lines. The poet would pass his or her poem to another noble, usually someone they wished to court, and it was this new poet who would complete the Waka with a pair of seven-syllable lines. After completing it, they would reach into the river, where glasses of Sake floated on miniature wooden ducks, and drink together to symbolize the fulfillment of their work together, and also to symbolize their inability to rival the beauty of nature with the beauty of their words.

Waka is a lost practice, but I'd like to see us bring it back. Granted, much of the effect is lost in English, but it's still worth the effort. To pull this off, I'm breaking up the Waka contest into two parts. For the first part (this one), please submit your best crack at an opening stanza to a Waka poem. The structure is identicle to Haiku, but remember, you're writing to somebody else, and they will complete your poem, not you. I'll take the top three poems when this contest is completed, and start a new contest for Part Two, in which you will get to pick one of the chosen unfinished Waka and complete it with your own voice.

I can't wait to see what we can do together. So get to it!


$0.00, Top three Waka will be used for the next part of the contest. Plus, RIBBONS.


1st Place 1st Place
2nd Place 2nd Place
3rd Place 3rd Place
Honorable Mention Honorable Mention


Todd Sieling
Todd Sieling
US Air Force Academy, CO


4 Contestants
4 Submissions
Created Jan 22, 2008

Submit Submit Writing


  • Any WritersCafe.org Member can Submit
  • Only Poetry can be Submitted
  • All Genres of Writing can be Submitted
  • Each Contestant May Submit 1 Piece of Writing
  • Writing may be submitted 1/22/2008 - 2/22/2008
  • Winners will be decided by User Votes


Todd Sieling is solely responsible for the content of this contest, including all promised prizes. Take any promises of large monetary awards with a grain of salt. Contact Todd Sieling if you have any further questions.

Recent Submissions

Night Night

A Poem by Zephyr