Thursday, November 20, 2008

Choka


It's no secret that I love Japanese poetry forms. While tanka, haiku and renga have gained popularity in recent years, choka is relatively unknown. A choka is structured in the repeated pattern of 5-7-5-7-5-7-5......7-7. Many choka are more than 100 lines long. You can read more about the choka form here.


Here is my attempt at a choka.


calico kitten
in the woods behind our house
hungry, shivering—
bone thin, barely alive—
afraid she might die
I wrapped her in my jacket
carried her inside
gave her warm milk, my blanket
and a promise— to love her.


Although I tried to stick fairly close to the pattern in order to model the form for my students, I'm not happy with the last two lines. Following a structure too closely can detract from the meaning of the poem. I can't think of how I want to revise it right now, , so I'll let it rest a while.
photo: KatRya flickr.com

8 comments:

  1. Linda,

    I've never heard of the choka. I think the poem works as it is. I often have to set poems aside for a while--and then revisit them.

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  2. Thanks, Elaine. There's something about the Japanese forms that is very appealing to me. Maybe I'm a little ADD and need a short form. I also love cinquains, so there's more evidence. : )

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  3. Awwww, what a sweet poem! I never heard of a choka before. Thanks for the enlightenment, I'll have to try one :)
    Kim

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  4. Thanks for your kind comment. Choka isn't as popular as the other Japanese forms. I dont' think it's written very often anymore, but it was fun to write one.

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  5. Thanks for the sweet words on my blog, Linda! So nice to meet you. Thanks for the exposure to the choka. Your poem is very touching!

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  6. Thank you for your comment. I love all the Japanese forms.

    I've been rereading your novel, On Point and enjoying it all over again. Books in verse are very popular with my students.

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  7. Oops,I misspelled the title On Pointe. I'm so sorry, Lorie. That's what I get for rushing.

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  8. Awwww. Sweet kitty and sweet poem.

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