By a thread, or: Knife’s edge

A Choka

the madman after
the madman scares the living
daylights out of me
the madman's digit hovers
over the button
while anonymous madmen
crack hollow knuckles
excited by the prospect
of spreading their own
madness version two point oh
from the skies throughout the Earth


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 #163

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€œscareโ€ 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!

48 thoughts on “By a thread, or: Knife’s edge”

  1. And this is the perfect topic for Halloween – I think the reality is far worse than any horror film. The movie ends but this reality just keeps going!!

  2. Certainly enough of the damned fools to go around.Too many I say David โ€” time to start culling the pack my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚โœŒ๐Ÿผโค๏ธ๐ŸŽƒ

  3. Whaaaaat? Madmen, you say? Nah. We’ll all be okay. Let’s just close our eyes and chant Oooommm until we will the sky to be clear. It’ll happen, right?

      1. There seem to be a misunderstanding

        I don’t think I understood the madman

        Now I read Russia

        I’m sorry about that.

        Silence or not commenting is best at times

        1. I’m a very strong believer in poetry being an interaction between the writer and reader, Abi… I think your interpretation as a reader is part of what makes poetry… poetry.

          1. When I wrote it, I was thinking primarily about what will happen when Putin is no longer in power and the many horrible people who are going to be jockeying for his place…

          2. Thank you.
            So Andrew understood you were speaking about Russia

            Or that Ukraine dont celebrate Halloween since 2019.

            So I take back the Halloween comment.

            I’m sorry.

          3. Your concern is real

            Especially now that i know what you were writing about

            We have the same fears in my country
            If the sitting president is forced out
            Who will replace him

            Madness upon madness upon Madness is erupting

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