September 9, 2010

Gogyohka - 五行歌 [An Intro]

Gogyohka (五行歌) is a Japanese form of poetry (spin off the Tanka) created by Enta Kusakebe in the 1960s. For those of you already familiar with Haiku- it is the same idea however there are no syllable counts or content restrictions and there are five lines instead of three. The emphasis is on brevity and the breath. Where one would breath, pause, or an idea breaks-- there you break the line.

Gogyohka was invented partly to solve the problem of international poetry (it is almost impossible to translate English Haiku into Japanese as the syllable ratio is, quite frankly, a nightmare) but it was also meant to open up poetry to a wider audience. With Gogyohka there are no rhymes, no counting syllables, no nature-only edicts, just harmony of thought. Try it. It's heaps of fun. I've been writing it for about a year and a half now and it is a delight to be able to take your ideas and emotions and refine them into a concise thought. I'll be trying to post at least one every Thursday. Enjoy!

To start off, here's one of the first ones I wrote:

bed time
so early
when across the world
are still dancing


  1. Charming form
    a challenge
    that calls me
    why not
    try it?

    Well done, glad I stopped by!

  2. Thanks, HisFireFly. Isn't it easy and fun? :-)

  3. Small girl
    turning globe
    wondering why
    down under
    isn't upside down

    Is this one? I'm a newborn baby at any poetry form! I'm intrigued though....Help! Yours prompted this memory...

  4. Hey, Kathleen-

    Yes! You did it! Welcome to poetry. :-) The beauty of Gogyohka is, other than five lines, there really are no rules! :-)


    [Though, of course, turn of phrase, content, and word patterns all play into what distinguishes a Gogyohka poem from a "good Gogyohka poem."]

    yay! glad to share the fun!!!

  5. baby comes
    resting in womb

  6. Hmmm I like this a lot... I'm like a Japanese/Chinese culture addict XD