NaPoWriMo – Choka – April 13, 2016

by Georgia

Dawn

a silent minstrel
sat at dawn his fingers limp
(the blue sky streaked red)
reminding him of lost friends
a song dangled there
(just out of reach but so near)
he touched the taut strings
and struck a sweet cord
then, heard a sistrum jangle
the music began
flowing like a spring river

he sang of karma
he sang of resurrection
of life – birth and death
and of red dawns and sunsets
o’er the mountains and the sea.

© G.s.k. ‘16

The choka is:

  • a narrative.
  • syllabic. Composed of any number of couplets made up of alternating 5-7 onji (sound syllables) per line. In English we can only treat the onji as a syllable.
  • unrhymed.
  • concluded by a hanka, an envoy in the form of the waka, 31 onji or sound syllables in 5 lines with 5-7-5-7-7. “han” meaning repetition, the hanka is to summarize the choka. The word tanka is often substituted for hanka or waka (they are all rooted in the same 31 syllable, 5 line form, their root seems to make them interchangeable with only subtle differences to separate them.)
  • Another way to write a choka  is to write several katauta (5-7-7 syllable stanzas).
  • The poem can be as long as you like and in classical times there have been choka with hundreds of lines.

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3 Comments to “NaPoWriMo – Choka – April 13, 2016”

  1. Reblogged this on Br Andrew's Muses and commented:
    I love literature, its place and changes in the world

  2. Beautifully crafted, beautifully sung . . .

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