!! I publish this GW-post earlier, because I am in the nightshift !!
Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
It's my pleasure to present you an all new episode of our Ghost Writer feature. This week I have a nice article about Choka written by Georgia of Bastet and Sekhmet's Library ...
I am not that familiar with Choka, but I love to know more about it ... Choka is a Japanese long poem with also a kind of syllables rule, just like our haiku.
So have fun reading this article and maybe you will compose your first 'Choka'.
I thought today I’d try to introduce the choka. It’s a form that fascinates me the more I try to understand it. Choka were long, commemorative poems (in fact choka means the long poem) and the longest ran sometimes over 100 lines! They were usually sung. There were about 400 choka copied in the 8th century anthology of waka entitled Man'yoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves).
canes rattle in harmony
red scattered leaves
fall in the river and drown
a monk bent with age
walks along the road thinking
his secular thoughts
the splendor of youth now gone
he gathers courage
to face another winter
his arthritis plain
his skin yellow and brittle
then a finch warbles
a cat rubs against his legs
he smiles down sweetly
then continues his journey
outlines the withered bent stalks
he walks and gazes
gathering the cold omens
whispered in the winter wind
As you can see, I wrote 16 lines of 5-7 syllables ... from the 17th I created a 5 line conclusion, a kind of general summary of the poem in 5-7-5-7-7.
There's no need to rhyme but you can and the syllable count is open to discussion if you follow the modern school of haiku and do "the short line - long line - short line" version of haiku, which compensates for the problem of not being able to superimpose the on (Japanese sounds) to our language, using syllables we create haiku that are third longer than Japanese poetry. I preferred the 5-7 couplets with a conclusive tanka for my choka.
I found it interesting that the author of the blog Kujaku Poetry and Ships points out that often the last closing lines of a choka were used to give a sort of summary of the whole poem. When the poet did this, the last lines were often more emotional and less detailed. Sometimes these closing fragments could stand alone and eventually they were gathered together in an anthology under the name tanka, (short poem) or waka (though waka generally refers to Japanese Poetry as a whole) and so the independent genre tanka was born.
I would like to suggest that you write a choka and here is a winter scene that might help you:
This GW-post is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until December 26th at noon (CET). I will try to post our next episode, Christmastree, later on ... for now have fun!