Tattoo Tanka

I was in the mood to write tanka today and I thought it’d switch things up by writing one inspired by one of my daughter’s tattoos. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this done before, I’m calling it Tattoo Tanka.

The word tanka (pronounced tonka) means “short song” and, like haiku, it is one of the oldest forms of Japanese poetry. In English tanka takes on a five-line form, consisting of a 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count and is written in one continuous line without punctuation.

My daughter’s sweet pitty, Diesel, is part of her full leg tattoo. She definitely wears her heart on her sleeve. 🙂

Here is my tattoo tanka:

the girl wears her heart
on her sleeve soulful eyes inked
on a live canvas
loyal as if he's saying
I'll always be your good boy.

—Danna Smith at

give it a try:

Tattoos are everywhere which gives you plenty of inspiration! I hope you’ll try writing a tattoo tanka and share it with us (you can explain what the tattoo looks like since photos can’t be downloaded in comments). For those of you who would like to share or comment anonymously, I’ve created settings to allow you to do so. Simply reply without signing into your WordPress account.


If you enjoy Poetry Pop, please share the love with your friends and family using the buttons below. I am growing my site and always appreciate a shoutout. And as always, thank you for following the blog for your little pop of poetry.

2 thoughts on “Tattoo Tanka

  1. Oh, that’s fun! My daughter has several tattoos, including a giant one on her back of a huge ship! Maybe I should have a visit with her tattoos and write a tattoo tanka!

Leave a Reply