Winter Fog – Choka – August 12, 2015

Basilica of San Antonio - Padua

Basilica of San Antonio – Padua

In Val Padana
out walking in cold winter
from the bogs arise
the misty fogs of evening
there, not far away,
mournful, a lonesome dog cries
in sad bitterness
the passing of summer life
and warm nights  –  now gone …
clinging cloying cold wet fog
falls in Padua
I, walk alone in the fog
in muffled silence –
swishing by a car passes
then in renewed calm
a caress of sodden hands
a cold emptiness
and yet that peaceful quiet
seems to me a balm

(envoy or hanka)

ah –  the winter fog
meditation comes with ease
in misty land clouds
the “here and now” stands close by
a step from eternity

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for: Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #56 Choka (or Nagauta), Japanese “long poem”

I was looking for a little quick history of the chronological appearances of the various poetic forms in Japanese … and I came across this lovely site: A Crash Course in Japanese Poetry  I won’t say it’s the most comprehensive or even the most academic … but it certainly is very fun and fundamental accurate.

In the beginning there was waka:, which was borrowed from the Chinese by Japanese writers as was katauta, one of the most popular forms was the choka , often sung and about epic subjects,  sedoka, tanka and an oddity called the bussokusekika – a tanka with 3 7 onji finishing lines,  which are called waka.

Only later poetry was called kanshi because it was written in Japanaese (with kanji) by Japanese… (the only one I haven’t tried is the bussokusekika)  😉

18 thoughts on “Winter Fog – Choka – August 12, 2015

    • Thanks Oliana … the Choka once could be compared to our ballads and epic poems … they used to be sung … then later they started writing them like we used to write sonnets and poetry about life and emotions .. a lovely form.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. This choka form is a great discovery. The poems I have read so far have all been excellent.
    You have really captured that wonderful quiet of the fog punctuated by the swish of the passing car . I was there ! Fabulous poetry !


    • Thanks very much Cressida … when I started writing Japanese poetry, i was sure there must be more than haiku – which I love, but you can’t really tell a story with haiku … so I started researching and I found the old classical choka … and fell in love … a haiku form that tells a story and ends with a tanka! What more can you ask for???


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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