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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.

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

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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

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