choka

Choka
The most intricate Japanese Poetry form is the Choka, or Long Poem.
The early form consisted of a series of Katuata joined together. This gives a choice of form structures of
5/7/5/5/7/7… etc.  or  5/7/7/5/7…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 Katuata is the original basic unit of Japanese poetry using either the 17 or 19 unit onji.
Another interpretation –
Choka
Type:
Structure, Metrical Requirement, Simple
Description:
The choka is a Japanese form of unrhymed alternating five and seven syllable lines that ends with an extra seven syllable line. It can be any odd number of lines.
Origin:
Japanese
Schematic:
A nine-line choka would be:xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx
The choka (長歌 long poem) was the epic, story telling form of Japanese poetry from the 1st to the 13th century, known as the Waka period. Storytelling was rare in the Japanese language during the Waka period although it is found in the Man’yôshû and even the Kokinshú. Most often the Japanese poet would write epics in classical Chinese. Still, the occasional poet with a story to tell would tackle the choka, the earliest of which can be traced back to the 1st century. It describes a battle and is 149 lines long.
Originally chokas were sung, but not in the Western sense of being sung. The oral tradition of the choka was to recite the words in a high pitch.
I always check this site for confirmation when cross-checking forms Judi Van Gorder has done a remarkable job for PMO.
Choka
Type:
Structure, Metrical Requirement, Simple
Description:
The choka is a Japanese form of unrhymed alternating five and seven syllable lines that ends with an extra seven syllable line. It can be any odd number of lines.
Origin:
Japanese
Schematic:
A nine-line choka would be:xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxx
xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx
Definition
The most intricate Japanese Poetry form is the Choka, or Long Poem. 
The early form consisted of a series of Katuata joined together. This gives a choice of form structures of ….. 5 – 7 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7.. etc, or .. 5 – 7 – 5 – 5 – 7 – 5.. etc.
Example
The Moth 
there is no freedom
escaping from my cocoon
I must seek you once again
I am drawn to you
like a moth to a candle
circling nearer and nearer
the deadly flame calls
now my wings are scorched
why must my nature be so?
Specifications, Restated: 

Origin:                          :  Japanese
The form is syllabic : 5/7/7/5/7/7   or  5/7/5/5/7/5
Traditional style       : Stanzas consisting of any number of the above structures (called Katuata)
or  alternaively        : Alternating five and seven syllable lines that end with an extra 7 syllable line.
Unrhymed.
Meant for longer poems. 

I have written a one using the Katuata style.
Poem Sample
Above the Sun (choka) Katuata Version

setting out with you
in late summer’s rising sun
hastens Honchu’s heat
yet our packs hold coats
which hold nourishment for us
for cold nights ahead.
many foreigners
pass and are passed as we climb
the holy mountain;
all are of like mind-
to climb to Mount Fuji’s peak
for spiritual joy.
We begin our last
ascent early in the night-
cold now, velvet sky
lightens, bows to rising sun.
We watch from above, awed.

© Lawrencealot – November 23,2013

Visual Templates.
(with Thanks to Judi, I used her poem to depict the alternating line version)
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