“Promises,” #Gogyoka

Thanks to Ken Gierke, I’ve added the Gogyoka in English to our syllabic poetry forms, bringing the count up to ten.

The Gogyoka (pronounced go-gee-yoh-kuh) form is a five-line Japanese form with no restriction on length. Created by Enta Kusakabe in 1983, there are five rules:

  1. Gogyohka is a new form of short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo.
  2. Gogyohka has five lines, but exceptionally may have four or six.
  3. Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase with a line-break after each phrase or breath.
  4. Gogyohka has no restraint on numbers of words or syllables.
  5. The theme of Gogyohka is unrestricted.

Robert Lee Brewer from Writer’s Digest shares:

What constitutes a phrase in gogyohka?

From the examples I’ve seen of the form, the definition of phrase is in the eye of the beholder. A compound or complex sentence is probably too long, but I’ve seen phrases as short as one word and others more than five words.

So it’s a little loose, which is kind of the theory behind gogyohka. It’s meant to be concise (five lines) but free (variable line length with each phrase). No special seasonal or cutting words. No subject matter constraints. Just five lines of poetic phrases.

Robert Lee Brewer

So, using this week’s #PhotoPrompt image from my poetry challenge, I’ve written the simplest of forms – The Gogyoka in 5 lines, short phrases:

Image ©2019 Willow Willers

Promises

blossoms bring happiness
buds produce fertility, joy
peacock reveals beauty
vines promise longevity, perseverance
soul awakens from the lotus

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

the permanence of henna ~ gogyohka | RIVRVLOGR

Source: the permanence of henna ~ gogyohka

Ken shares an amazing poem using a Gogyohka which is a five-line, untitled, Japanese poetic form. Unlike tanka (5/7/5/7/7 syllables), Gogyohka has no restrictions on length. (Wikipedia.org)

Here are the rules for this poem from Wikipedia.com:

Five rules of Gogyohka by Enta Kusakabe (1983)

  • Gogyohka is a new form of short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo.
  • Gogyohka has five lines but exceptionally may have four or six.
  • Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase with a line-break after each phrase or breath.
  • Gogyohka has no restraint on numbers of words or syllables.
  • The theme of Gogyohka is unrestricted.

the permanence of henna

the direction
of our inclinations
holds no pattern
carefree, the actions we take
the permanence of henna

©2020 Ken Gierke

I like this form. It’s unencumbered with few restrictions other than writing phrases in each line. It’s super creative!

Let me know in the comments if you would like to see this form added to our ever-growing list of accepted syllabic poetry forms.