Signs, or: Symbols

A Choka

can't blame the agent
station's hummin' right as rain
can't blame the porter
jus' followin' instructions
can't blame the switchman
he's professional as they come
can't blame the driver
timely, uneventful ride
gotta blame myself
shoulda checked the track number
shoulda noticed the sunset 


The most intricate Japanese Poetry form is the Choka, or Long Poem. The early form consisted of a series of katauta joined together. This gives a choice of form structures of 5/7/5/5/7/7โ€ฆ etc., or: 5/7/7/5/7โ€ฆ etc.

The Choka could be any total line length and indeed many exceeded 100 lines. Looking at this, it is easy to see why Poetic Historians believe the katauta is the original basic unit of Japanese poetry using either the 17 or 19 unit onji.

d’Verse Quadrille #161

The above choka is my take on dโ€™Verseโ€™s Quadrille challenge.

The Quadrille is simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This weekโ€™s challenge was to use the word โ€œtrackโ€ in a Quadrille.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

61 thoughts on “Signs, or: Symbols”

  1. We can so easily get distracted by our daydreaming David, Iโ€™ve been there before unfortunately. Wonderful tale here my friend, thank you.๐Ÿ™‚โœŒ๐Ÿผโค๏ธ

  2. Yeah, I once unknowingly arrived half-an-hour late for my train, waited another half-hour (assuming my train was late) and rode for about an hour before the conductor set me straight. Great write; Thanks.

  3. Hehe! I was supposed to drive east. It didn’t penetrate my distracted mind that the setting sun was in my eyes until I started looking for my sunglasses. Then I was looking for an off ramp!! On a train – well that is a pickle!

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