A new beginning,
with love found in Chicago,
led me to travel
halfway across the country
to be by your side.
Vows made beneath a great light
beside blue waters,
witnessed by those we hold dear,
sealed the union of our hearts.
beneath tall beacon of hope
witnessed by loved ones
formation of endless bond
two hearts beating now as one
By not staying with a theme of summer or winter, I’m afraid I’ve strayed from Kristjaan’s prompt at Carpe Diem Weekend-Meditation #21 Out Of The Box #3 Chōka and Sedōka (Winter/Summer), but this is where my mind went when I started writing – all key events occurring during summer.
This my first attempt at writing chōka, a Japanese long poem written primarily from the 6th to the 14th century. Chōka have alternating lines of 5 and 7 syllables and an indefinite length (from 7 to 149 lines), ending with an added 7 syllable line. So, 5-7-5-7-5-7-…7, and a length allowing greater themes.
Chōka often were followed by one or more short poems called hanka, or “envoys,” summarizing, supplementing, or elaborating on, the contents of the main poem. Sometimes, a tanka would serve as an envoy, and that is what I have written here.
Man’yōshū (“Collection of a Myriad Leaves”) is the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry (from some time after AD 759) and contains 4,536 waka (classical Japanese poetry). 265 of those are chōka (long poems). The 1940/1965 edition of The Man’yōshū: One Thousand Poems (a translation) is available for download as a PDF from Internet Archive and is some pretty interesting reading.