1 April 2024

A fearless short form trio made up of two 27 year olds and one 2 year old

giving your storytelling longevity

Cherita [b. 22 June 1997]
Gembun [b. 12 June 1997]
Dua [b. 4 March 2022]


the river
#7:11 of the cherita
edited by ai li



For those of you who missed reading ai li’s essay i, storyteller on Cherita, Gembun and Dua on Rhyvers and viewing her You Tube Cherita video interview for The Wise Owl by Neena Singh, for their special issue on Cherita, here are both links again below.

Here are ai li’s You Tube interview link : www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnGmkKKQvqo
and the link for her essay i, storyteller on Cherita, Gembun and Dua rhyvers.com/hk22/

The full transcripts for both can be found on www.thecherita.com/lectures/ as well on the Rhyvers and The Wise Owl’s websites.

There are now over 2500 views for my Rhyvers essay on Cherita, Gembun and Dua, which appeared on 16 September 2023, with 1300 views the last time I looked, for my You Tube video Cherita interview, which appeared on 30 September 2023, and which The Wise Owl’s Editor called ‘insightful’.


the river is our fourth book for 2024. 85 editions of the cherita are now available on Amazon in paperback and kindle, and so are 11 Gembun Anthologies along with 6 Dua Anthologies, with more on their way.

the river is our 85th book in the cherita series of storytelling books, with 90 virgin cherita of more timeless stories to hopefully inspire our readers and poets to join our caravanserai of storytellers.



This edition of the river showcases 90 fine cherita and cherita terbalik from writers and poets who hail from UK, USA, Singapore, Germany, Japan, Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, Spain and India.

There’s one noticeable change, which started with last October’s edition of the cherita, and which will be gradually be rolled out through to the gembun and dua anthologies. This edition, as with the previous edition, will now have 90 instead of 95 poems within. My plan is to slowly but surely ensure that all our publications adhere to 90 poems throughout. This will take some time to implement but the number of poems for every publication from the 1-2-3 press and the empty press will ultimately be the same throughout.


the river, currently 85th on the list, belongs to the ongoing the cherita series, as do my personal ongoing writing in one breath series of virgin Cherita, Cherita and Tanka, Cherita and Haiku, and Cherita, Tanka and Haiku books, and lastly my poems for inner rooms series with its 18 Tanka and Haiku books. All these editions are available in paperback and kindle on Amazon.

Two of my own books of virgin Gembun, the weight of rain and blank screen, and my two books of Dua, the journey east and dancing shoes have all been added to my writing in one breath series.

I have edited this edition as I have all the other editions of the cherita, to be experienced two ways. It can be read as one storybook but also as an anthology of individual poems. Two reading experiences within one book, filled with stories of Life, Love, Loss and Renewal.

Cherita terbalik continues to capture the imagination of poets and there are again fine examples in this edition.

Featured Poets as they appear in this edition :-

ai li/ Ash Greenwood/ Kathabela Wilson/ Pitt Büerken/ Sigrid Saradunn/ kris moon kondo/ James Haddad/ Jan Stretch/ Jackie Chou/ Teri Messmer/ Lee Hudspeth/ Diane Funston/ Liz Goetz/ Tsanka Shishkova/ Stella Damarjati/ Barry Vitcov/ D’ellen/ Nicholas Gentile/ Steven Bruce/ Partha Sarkar/ Orrin Préjean/ John Zheng/ Eva Joan/ Larry Kimmel/ Lisa Ann Sparaco/

Three sample Cherita from the river :-


where does pink live
when not in the sky

perhaps in the blush
of a child’s laughter
or the heartbeat of a butterfly

maybe … pink lives in us

Jan Stretch




a bridge


held hands

Barry Vitcov



patters against
the cold window

i close my eyes

and dream
of sun

Teri Messmer


the cherita lighthouse has been awarded to the following writers and poets in this edition for their timeless Cherita :

Jan Stretch/ Kathabela Wilson/ Jackie Chou/ Lee Hudspeth/ Barry Vitcov/ Steven Bruce/ Teri Messmer/ / John Zheng/ Partha Sarkar/

the river has been edited to be experienced two ways. It can be read as a storybook and as an anthology of individual poems.


I have enjoyed the challenge of selecting and collating for this edition of the cherita and hope that you will find the cherita within worthy of a campfire gathering and the sharing of meaningful stories.

If this new edition strikes a chord with you, please feel free to review, comment on Amazon or give feedback directly to me. Many thanks.

ai li

creator of cherita, gembun, dua
and of 19 other unique and original linked forms

storyteller oasis

copyright © ai li 2024