Choka Notes

The most intricate Japanese Poetry form is the Long Poem or Choka. It consists of a series of Katuata joined together in one stanza. The choice of structure for the English language poet is repetitions of 5-7-7 syllable lines, 17 onji Katuata or 5-7-5 syllable lines, 19 onji Katuata. Terry Clitheroe’s example uses three 19 onji Katuata for his Choka.

Example: Twilight by Terry Clitheroe

Like a fresh palette
twilight brings its own colours
unlike bright contrasts of day
its own uniqueness
temporary, but such is life
showing more gentle pastels
daytime cannot show
afternoon of life begins
heralding the setting sun
and nights new canvas
brings black and shadowed grey
hiding the colours making day

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