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  • Writer's pictureCharles Waters


Hello all:

Here's what been going on with me.

I decided in my scribbles to try a 3 line poem where the syllable count is 7/7/5.


Chirping on budding branches

Our full-throated harmonies

Celebrate springtime.

© Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

I don’t know if there’s an actual poetry form like that, I looked it up and I didn’t see one, so until I’m told otherwise, let’s call this form Tanshi, which means “short poem” in Japanese.

Please feel free to leave your own Tanshi poems in the comments section.

*A few days afterwards I received an e-mail from the esteemed children's poet David L. Harrison, and this is what he wrote:

When I read about your 7/7/5 poem, something tickled my memory about reading sometime in the past about the variations on the haiku. I just now asked the magic Google genie about it and this popped up. Here’s the third paragraph:

The form for traditional Haiku originated in the incomplete opening stanza of a longer poem. The Haiku form is therefore rhythmically incomplete. Haiku often omits features of normal grammar such as complete sentences and complicated verb endings. For a time in Japan, 7, 7, 5, form was almost as common as 5, 7, 5, but by the end of Basho's career, 5, 7, 5, had become the norm, and has remained unchanged in Japan.

So technically you may not have created a new form so much as rediscovering an ancient variation. Not sure if it ever had a name that distinguished it from the traditional form but further digging might reveal it.

Well, in that case, let's say I rediscovered an old form. ;-) Until I find what the 7/7/5 form is called, let's continue calling it a Tanshi. I look forward to writing more of them!

*A few days after David's e-mail I also received an e-mail from children's poet extraordinaire Marilyn Singer who wrote this:

I don't know if there's a 7-7-5 form out there, but I was curious about the word "tanshi," so I did a bit of googling. It seems that that word is in use, both in a journal of "tanshi" and also because a poet named Tekkan wanted it to replace "tanka": So you might want to use a different term.

So, in that case, I'd like to call the 7-7-5 form the Chīsana uta, which means "tiny poem" in Japanese.

In other news, since I’ve been in NYC for thirteen months the difference between this summer, and last summer is I have more of an understanding about the NYC hustle, which has enabled me to do background work, government work, and setting up dates for POETRY TIME to be performed not only in NY but also, fingers and toes crossed, New Jersey in the fall. I can announce that this month I've been commisioned to perform in Queens, NY at the following venues:

Jackson Heights Library on Wednesday, August 12th at 4:00pm.

St. Albans Library on Thursday August 13th at 1:00pm.

Hollis Library on Tuesday August 18th at 3:30pm.

Bay Terrace Library on Wednesday August 26th at 3:00pm.

The shows are free to the public, if you live in the area please check it out!

I continue working on revisions on a manuscripts I have high hopes for and that I believe in my bones that one day will see the publishing light of glory.

I wrote down a list of long term goals for myself as a children's poet, actor, educator and humanitarian. It was good to do, I plan on reading it consistantly in order to keep me focused. I had written a list of short term goals down earlier this year, and did so last year as well. I'm proud to say I accomplished all of last year's short term goals, and plan on doing the same in 2015. If you've never written down long term/short term goals before, I encourage you to do so.

Had a chance to finally see myself on television, playing a security guard on the July 22nd episode of the USA Network show MR. ROBOT. While I was happy about it I do believe that the camera doesn’t add 10 pounds to your frame, as I was told, but more like 20!

I attended AT HOME IN THE PARK, a site specific mural by the kids and teenagers from Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Based on the work of Brooklyn based artist Mary Temple, students created murals from shadows cast through windows. I was super impressed with one that depicted kids enjoying themselves on the playground, which brought back memories of my youth.

Read-a-Poem or R.A.P. My rallying cry to bring children’s poetry to every human being in the world continues rolling along. Not every book I mention has to be about children’s poetry but that’s the main thrust. I have read:

TOUCAN CAN by Juliette MacIver.


STAR STUFF by Stephanie Roth Sisson.

ELECOPTOR by Michael H. Slack.


THE JUNKYARD WONDERS by Patricia Polacco.

THE RED PENCIL by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

MAHALIA JACKSON: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan.



COMING HOME: From the Life of Langston Hughes by Floyd Cooper.

FORGIVE ME, I MEANT TO DO IT by Gail Carson Levine.

IF YOU WERE A DOG by Jamie Swenson.


MONSTER GOOSE by Judy Sierra.

THE POPCORN ASTRONAUNTS: And Other Biteable Poems by Deborah Rudell.

I end this blog post with 2 more poems using the Tanshi form.


I’ve been kidnapped from my home

To entertain humans, help!

I’m not a display.

© Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.


Fire hydrant waterfall

Comforts kids, bronzed from summer,

Under sunshine’s glare.

© Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

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