National Poetry Month 2021,  Poetry

Sijo

For my National Poetry Month A-Z Challenge today, I considered attempting a German shuttelreim (go ahead…look it up), but it scared me a bit, so I’m falling back on the Korean sijo. The sijo is actually older than haiku, and since I haven’t done a Korean form before, I figured this was a good time.

Like haiku, the sijo is only three lines long. The poems are meant to be songs. Here are the guidelines:

  • 3 lines in length, averaging 14-16 syllables per line
    • The traditional syllable break:
      • Line 1: 3-4-4-4
      • Line 2: 3-4-4-4
      • Line 3: 3-5-4-3
  • Each line should have a pause or break in the middle
  • Line 1 introduces the situation or theme of the poem.
  • Line 2 develops the theme with more detail or a “turn” in argument.
  • Line 3 presents a “twist” and conclusion (first half of the final line employs a “twist” of meaning, sound, or another poetic device)

That’s a lot to pack in to one little poem, but here goes.

Summer Love

We watch them, dancing in rain, among flowers, like butterflies.
Their bodies create shadows that move across the pale, sweet grass.
Transient…a short-lived love song: worth a listen–nothing more.


So, I know I stayed faithful to the syllable count, and I’m fairly certain I’ve followed the thematic line pattern, to tell a bit of a lyrical story that starts out one way but ends unexpectedly (at least, that was my interpretation of the instructions). I provided a twist (with metaphor/poetic device) in the end, shifting from the romantic beginning of the story (summer love dancing across the garden) to summer love’s expected end (a song that is worth one listen).

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