Chueh-chu: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the chueh-chu, a Chinese poetic form.

Chueh-chu Poems

The chueh-chu is a Chinese poetic form that Robin Skelton’s The Shapes of Our Singing claims translates to mean “sonnet cut short.” As such, it does act a bit like an eight-line sonnet broken into two quatrains.

Here are three possible rhyme schemes suggested by Skelton:

  • aaba/cada
  • abcb/dbeb
  • aaba/aaca

Note on syllables: For my example below, I tried out a Wu-yen-shih meter mentioned by Skelton in his book. But it’s my understanding that any syllable count could work, though it should probably be consistent. So eight syllables per line is fine, or 10, or nine, or whatever you decide.


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Here’s my attempt at a chueh-chu:

Proposal, by Robert Lee Brewer

love birds — hear them sing
love cats — do their thing
for you — i will yearn
for you — i will ring

church bells — hear them swing
spring birds — all take wing
for you — i will say
i do — here’s the ring

11 thoughts on “Chueh-chu: Poetic Forms

  1. Avatarsteasejb

    we are products of our habits
    the ones i am trying to break
    cigarettes, porn and telephone
    are vices that are hard to shake.

    but nothing is as difficult
    the one in which we all partake
    worrying about the unknown
    and not loving every daybreak.

  2. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    FADING LIGHT, by Walter J Wojtanik

    In the Autumn of life
    I find myself in flux.
    Not the man I once was,
    I’m running out of luck

    The answers come harder,
    And cost a few more bucks.
    So, as my lights get dim,
    You’ll find me more dumbstruck.

  3. Avatartaylor graham


    A chance encounter past the bridge;
    while spring was singing to the creek
    a sable vixen flowed from earth.
    No sound of passage, Slim and sleek,

    she stopped and locked me with her eyes,
    a language all God’s creatures speak.
    I couldn’t translate. Fox is gone.
    Years later, she’s the word I seek.

  4. Avatarkhoward

    Springs thing

    Cold stream, flows over stones.
    Leaves bloom, on bone trees.
    Last snow, mud slide zone.
    Birds fly, to spring feeds.

    Springs breath, on the earth.
    Bright songs, in the air.
    Happy bliss, all in mirth.
    Spring blooms, all to care.

  5. AvatarPressOn


    The eminent physicist
    did not understand the gist
    behind the theory, use, and
    execution of a fist,

    so when one was launched his way
    from an assistant he dissed,
    he marvelled at the flight path
    that hit him where he was kissed.

  6. AvatarSara McNulty

    White Lace at River

    In white lace dress, she stands at river.
    Night’s chill touches her; she shivers.
    Full butter moon casts a halo.
    A feeling of dread lives within her.

    New experience, living alone
    lingering still, scent of his cologne.
    Should she move–house belongs to her.
    River has no answer, silent as stone.

  7. AvatarPressOn


    A poem in a knot
    sometimes needs a new plot
    or maybe a new form
    before it goes to pot.

    So, here is what I’ve got:
    eight lines marking a spot
    of Chinese poetry.
    This poem’s hot to trot.


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