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Cherita Poem

Cherita (pronounced CHAIR-rita) is a linked poetry form. It consists of a one-line stanza, followed by a two-line stanza, and then finishing with a three-line stanza. It can either be written solo or by up to three partners.
Cherita is the Malay word for 'story' or 'tale.'
The cherita aims to convey a story. It was created by ai li (A UK poet and artist) on June 22, 1997 in memory of her grandparents, who were renowned storytellers. 
The cherita arose out of the English-language haiku and tanka tradition, but is more  narrative, in nature than are the 'momentary' haiku and the more lyrical tanka,  It uses images and depends on concise word use and suggestion for its effect.
It can be written solo or with up to three partners each be being responsible for a stanza. A Cherita poem does not require a title, something that adds to its unique qualities. 
The three separate stanzas are in effect 6 lines: a single line, a couplet, then a tercet. The line lengths are at the poets’ discretion.

My poem came from a camping and trekking experience on Mt Feathertop, Victoria some years ago...

on the narrow winding track

skirting the side of the mountain
the walkers planted their feet with care

the afternoon sun
coaxed a snake to reveal itself
and it slithered across the path of the leading walker.


  1. I'm glad I wasn't that walker. I'm terribly afraid of snakes, but I do like a good hike.

    1. I understand Margaret. I was that lead walker actually. The snake crossed the path quite quickly, disappearing into the scrubby bushes. The experience was all over in a flash. Gone, but not forgotten. I have several snake stories hidden in my past...

  2. There's nothing like an unexpected snake to get the heart racing on a hike! I've had that experience, even stepping over one before I saw it Lovely job with the cherita. It's one of those forms that looks simple but is hard to write well. I'm still learning.

    1. Thanks Kay. My Cherita poems like yours, are a work in progress. Snake sightings do raise the heartbeat somewhat. One of the first things you learn when hiking is watch where you are putting your feet at every step.

  3. Alan, I always enjoy your posts and learn more about poetry forms while doing so. You've also reminded me of a snake incident in my past that might need to be resurrected in poetry. Thanks for the double inspiration!

    1. Molly, thank you for your most kind remarks. May the snake reference inspire you to produce new revelatory words.


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