C is for Chōka

After I wrote yesterday’s poem, I clicked over to Facebook and was greeted with the “your memories” post, FB’s lovely, daily reminder that on this day in the past you were often doing way more interesting and fun things.

Well, I discovered that, three years ago yesterday, I was in very much the same place as far as poetic emotion. Yesterday I wrote “Broken Silence.” On April 3rd, 2014, I wrote “Silence Broken“! How wild is that?

Dangerous for me to go read that arun, however. I really like it. Really like it. Makes me want to send the chōka packing and pick up with the aruns again, but no. I’m going to stay here a while. I’m curious about the chōka, so I’ll stick with it.

This morning I stepped onto the subway an into some drama. A woman was angrily exclaiming. She was graphic and vulgar and made everyone uncomfortable, but she wasn’t active, wasn’t doing anything other than randomly shouting her outrage. Not an ideal trip to work, but thinking about her later called up today’s poem:

Your anger frightens
everyone on this train car —
except … one woman
tall, Black, sitting unconcerned
at your hostile side.
Her serenity contrasts
your agitation,
living tragi-comic masks
this slow ride to Manhattan.

__________

A chōka is a Japanese form poem with a specific syllable count per line: 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 7.



 

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6 thoughts on “C is for Chōka

  1. Okay, that is wild. I have found, though, that I tend to be kind of in the same mood at the same time of year every year. But the titles of your poems are uncanny to be sure.

    Love the juxtaposition of the angry woman and the serene woman. Great image.

    Like

    1. It’s interesting how, if you’d asked me in the moment, I would probably not have said a word about the serene woman, probably wouldn’t have noticed her, but clearly I did notice her. When I sat down to write, she was the first person I thought of!

      Like

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