What Honking is For (A PSA), #Tanka Tuesday, Specific Forms

Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

my car didn’t move

right in the first half second

after the light turned green,

so you honk.

my car then slows down,

as I get ready to turn

into a parking lot,

so you honk.

my blinker was on,

you knew that I was turning,

I was doing no wrong,

but you honk.

in heavy traffic,

I am hesitant to merge,

I’m more cautious than you,

so you honk.

a person crosses,

ambling across the crosswalk,

while I am stopped for him,

then you honk.

you didn’t see him,

and you feel there’s no reason

to ever slow or stop

so you honk.

if when changing lanes,

I am about to hit you,

and I just don’t see you,

then you honk.

honking means “danger,”

it does not mean to “speed up,”

so do not be surprised,

when you honk,

if I slow or stop

at the sound then of the blast

to avoid the danger

at your honk.

Β© Susan Joy Clark 2021

This was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. This week, she challenged us to invent a new form.

From her page:

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

This poem was halfway coming together in my head as I was driving and before I saw the specifics of this week’s challenge. So, I went about this backwards perhaps. I took my half-formed poem and made it fit some sort of syllabic format, and then tried to see how it fit the challenge. I’ll say this is a haiku, but the line count changed to four, and the syllable count changed to 5-7-6-3. The fourth line is a refrain or variations on a refrain. The stanzas in my new form can be repeated several times, so, in that sense, in length, it is similar to a renga or solo renga. Then again, like a tanka, this form can be on any topic, not necessarily nature. I’m calling it a hankenga. Ha ha! It really just worked out that way, without me even trying to be punny. By the way, the driving situation where someone honked because I stopped for someone in a crosswalk really did happen, just not in the past few days.

17 thoughts on “What Honking is For (A PSA), #Tanka Tuesday, Specific Forms

    1. Thank you, Colleen. I’m glad you found it relatable. Dreaming up poetry while driving … ha ha. πŸ™‚

  1. The only thing good about some traffic is some of the fun vanity plates that you get to read along the journey.

    I am an active …mmm… safe driver and repeat ‘right of way’ is not what you get but what you give. I always let impatient speedy drivers go ahead of me. I’d rather see them in front of me. If I use my horn it is a gentle tap – most often to wake up the person in front of me stopped at a red light because they are buried in their cell phones.

    I think Colleen needs to add a page for our invented forms ;D

    1. A gentle tap in such a situation isn’t so bad. The worst thing that happened to me is that traffic once forced me to stop in the middle of an intersection, that is, I couldn’t get all the way through the intersection before traffic ahead of me came to a complete halt for some unforeseen reason. Then, the light changed, and a truck who wanted to get through in the opposite direction blared his horn and just leaned on it without letting up. I couldn’t move until the traffic ahead of me did. Thankfully, they weren’t stopped for long.

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