Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Choka - Fireside Thoughts

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer Post #39
I was not familiar with the Choka so I have excluded an excerpt from Georgia of Bastet and Sekhmet's Library and our hosts inspiration image.

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 8thcentury anthology of waka entitled Man'yoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves).

The classical choka is formed by writing 5-7 syllables couplets for as many lines  as you like ending however with an extra 7 syllable line.  
©  G.s.k. ’14

Fireside Thoughts

wet snow and ice cling
branches bowed from extra weight
winter sun rises
beyond the blue mountaintop
wrapped in threadbare coat
peasant woman shuffles by
head bent against wind
hands tightly wrapped in old cloth
cheerful morning lark
chirps his gay song from treetop
yellow dog limps by
fur lightly coated in frost

I squat by my fire
stirring a can of red beans
drinking in sunlight
thoughts drifting away on smoke
oblivious to the cold


  1. A tale too many sing. I think too of service personnel shipped to unfamiliar countries doing the same thing with their rations.
    So centered in the moment, trying to think of when they can return home.

    I combined a few prompts and created a choka/haibun here:

  2. The moment of just being there. Observing what goes on.. I love the gentleness and the red-beans is a details that tell me this is not a feast.. very well done.

    1. thanks very much for your kind words1 No feast indeed.

  3. Oh it's beautiful Delores.. I just love the way you tell the story.. and I might have to do my research on this whole, "Choka," style. ;) Thank you for sharing!

    1. glad you liked it! This was my first ever Choka style poem.

  4. What a wonderful choka -- like a set of slides all capturing aspects of a brisk winter morning coated in ice -- have to echo Bjorn in my appreciation of the red beans detail -- very nicely done !

  5. I loved the way you painted this scene a really fantastic first choka and your round up poem was so classical ... brava Dolores!