Panic mode, or: Even after

A Choka

time and time again
feet both frozen to the ground
I hear myself gasp
panic mode activated
eyes watch in horror
whenever someone nearby
loses their balance
trips sways then topples over
gray matter perceives
crisis but fails to react
even after they've tumbled


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€œgaspโ€ 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!

49 thoughts on “Panic mode, or: Even after”

  1. Really love this one. Sometimes we can see signs a person is falling/failing but we don’t know how to help them or slow it. When they finally fall it feels like we should have done something, when in reality, there’s nothing we can do. Everyone is on their own path.

  2. I finally investigated the Choka form a bit more David. Fascinating! Thank you for introducing it to me. We should include the Choka in the rotation at diverse โ€” maybe every third Tuesdayโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™‚โœŒ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿซถ๐Ÿผ

          1. It is the first time David, but after a couple times you recognize it. At times it happens to me at the very end of a nightmare, immediately before finally waking โ€” that gets pretty unsettling. However, nothing compares to pure night terrors. Not a dream, just a paralyzing feeling of bloodcurdling terror โ€” with no dream. Hard to wake up when it is occurring. So intense, I am terrified to return yo sleep, often needing to take a lorazepam. Have them once or twice a month since I was a child. Suppose to outgrow them, but I never have. Isnโ€™t sleeping and dreaming funโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

  3. Ah yesโ€ฆsometimes its the sugar levelโ€ฆsometimes its blood pressure. But it happens. And as well the lookers on may freeze up at the sudden happening.

    Nice one David and thanks for dropping by my blog.


  4. I carry a cane when out for walks, for balance. And for keeping straight, otherwise I veer to the right out in the grass. I talked with two other older folk today, they also have balance problems. I think the COVID made mine worse.

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