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 5/7/5/5/7/7… etc., or: 5/7/7/5/7… 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 d’Verse’s Quadrille challenge.

The Quadrille is simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This week’s challenge was to use the word “track” 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. You need to be checking sunrises and sunsets 😉
    If you cut it close when waiting for a train you have to know that a fancy timepiece might not be the same as the Conductor’s Timex… and the Conductor is going to follow his timepiece 😉

  2. Excellent work with this form! And ah yes…..sitting daydreaming, until OOPS! I’m on the wrong train or bus or road. Happens to the best of us!

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