One Man's Maple Moon, Poetic Musings: Kite Tanka by an'ya

that final spring

we were together flying

our kite — until

you let loose the string

and heart from soul divided


(Ash Moon Anthology, 2008)


Commentary: an'ya uses a flying kite to link the internal and external worlds. The midline break (a punctuation mark, "—") in L3 divides the tanka into "before/the past" and "after/the present" in a way that no word can do. The blankness of  "—" effectively severs the two parts of the tanka while simultaneously joining them ("Introduction," Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, 2009, p 17). Structurally and thematically speaking, this is a fine example of using punctuation to enhance the emotionally suggestive power of a tanka. For more information about the effective use of punctuation, see my "To the Lighthouse" post, Strategic Placement of Punctuation Marks.


In writing, punctuation plays the role of body language. It helps readers hear you the way you want to be heard.-- Russell Baker