Cupped, or: Limitless

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

T. S. Eliot (1888 โ€“ 1965)

A Choka

how the star dissolves
into the morning's first brew
bobbing and fizzing
at the glistening surface
pushing hopelessly
against edges unyielding
which rim the opaque
nectar of our universe
weightless particles
screened by hazy nebulae
desperately quaffed
in grim anticipation
of another whirling day


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

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€œstarโ€ 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!

62 thoughts on “Cupped, or: Limitless”

  1. This is a wonderful piece. Itโ€™s a joy to read. At the end I can see a white swirl in a dark liquid as a symbol for my day to come. Every word from the the remarkable opening image leads me there.

  2. A stellar choka-quadrille, David! I can see in my mind the star dissolving โ€˜into the morning’s first brewโ€™ and taste the โ€˜hazy nebulae desperately quaffedโ€™. Thankfully, I no longer anticipate whirling days.

  3. Iโ€™m not sure if Virginia Woolf responded to this quote which Eliot wrote. But here is a general opinion-

    In her diary, Virginia Woolf wished that โ€œpoor dear Tom had more spunk in him, less need to let drop by drop of his agonized perplexities fall ever so finely through pure cambric.ย One waits; one sympathizes, but it is dreary work.โ€ย 
    And all the time he was conquering the world of letters.

    โญhow the star dissolves into the morningโ€™s first brewโญ

    Breathtaking and refreshing, absolutely gorgeous capture of morning is breaking!!

      1. You welcome.๐Ÿ’–. I think the two belonged to the same literary circles. I read an essay some time back about the continued spats between them, always at loggerheads.

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