Sample tanka from Thames Way

Here are some sample tanka from Thames Way. Thames Way was published in 2015 by Alba Publishing ( If you wish to get a copy of Thames Way please contact me using the contact page.

I wrote Thames Way when I walked the River Thames from London city to its source during the summers of 2011 and 2012. The collection reflects my journey.

There are some differences between haiku and tanka. Haiku are usually in three lines but can be arranged in one line, two lines or even in four lines. Tanka are always in five lines. In terms of subject matter and treatment tanka generally allow the writer to put themselves into the poem more so than haiku. Tanka kind of tell a story more so than haiku. Personally I treat tanka as ‘roomy’ haiku that allow more freedom.

pungent grass, cowslip

bull thistle, bluebell

in the docklands –

a grasshopper beats in synch

to the drilling

fountain water sprays

up and down

with children laughing –

one mother reaches

for a quick kiss

foam and scum

whirl in the canal

dancing atoms –

galaxies circle

in space


over the wide wear


long after I have

moved on

I come across

a couple who wait

for me to smile

as I wait for them to smile –

we pass on

a bubble goes

round and round

in the puddle –

I go on and on

in rain or sunshine

crickets sing

to each other

with fast wings –

the air humid

with desire

my legs resting

at last

journey’s end

dust settles

on the train platform

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