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

Sample haiku

The following are some haiku of mine that were published in various literary journals. Credits notes are at the end.

park pond –

the sun shattered into

a thousand sparks

(A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014)

dark road –

a coil of roadwork lights

guiding my way

(Stone After Stone: Haiku Ireland Anthology 2017)

counting clouds:

in the sky

on the lake

(Meltdown Anthology: Hailstones Haiku Circle 2013)

black day –

rain flows down in veins

on the bus windows

(Blithe Spirit August 2016)

wooden seashell

carved with an ear-hole

listening …

(Shamrock No. 19 – 2010)

abandoned hut

a snowflake falls

through the open window

(Modern Haiku 48:2 Summer 2017)

lighthouse wall waves licking it away

(Frogpond 37:2 Spring/Summer 2014)