Sijo

 Korean verse form related to haiku and tanka a Each line contains a pause near the middle, similar to a caesura, though the break need not be metrical. Originally intended as songs, sijo can represent romantic, metaphysical, or spiritual themes. Whatever the subject, the first line introduces an idea or story, the second line supplies a “turn,” and the third line provides closure. Although the classic sijo adheres closely to syllabic restrictions, it doesn’t simply count syllables. It is more phrasal than syllabic. Because of its nature and the nature of Hangul, the Korean script, the structure of sijo resembles Hebrew & biblical verse. In English it may resemble Hopkins’ sprung rhythm. To achieve this effect, each long line, once divided, is divided again, into quarters that averaging 3-5 syllables. This phrasal quality is a basic feature of the form. Meter is not vital in sijo, but that musical link is. These sijo were published at Sijo West and Poetry in the Light

Together at the seashore drizzling wet sand through our fingers 
weird formations point skyward drip-castles in odd proportions 
whiling away the summer what of children on other planets ? 


 

Felt so human in my heartache meant to die and kill the pain 
at first blush this autumn morn poised atop a rocky precipice 
I searched for one good omen ~ much obliged, O river otter!

 

Fell fast asleep wracked with pain winter's cold wrath upon me 
awake things went from bad to worse a woebegone wretch was I 
nothing could warm me short of spring until two coyote puppies 

 

 

How lovely this spruce tree its limbs laden with virgin snow 
the blood-red on a robin's breast the sky-blue of 
mountain jays 
for such wonder what wise man would not know his Creator?

 

 

On our Slavic calendar its almost Saint Nikola Day 
eVen now summer lingers in this calm space between my ears 
for the slowness of old age did I miss my golden autumn?

 

 

Winter wind where have you been where will you blow tomorrow 
please bring for me poetic muse remembrances of one more snow 
in case I leave this earthly world fore the daffodowndillies bloom

 

 

O rosebud giVen to sunlight is this our ladyloVe's window?

if thus; be it too, that mine heart shall dangle from this dormer

lest they mistress not notice me...but for thine presence.

 

 

In a VialVon the windowsill she saVes eVery teardrop shed

for her beloVed was lost at sea no fire in the lighthouse lit

no one knows saVe the four winds how long the albatross flies.

 

 

Hearth crickets no longer hide though some may neVer see them

little lichen bloom between stones yet few shall eVer stop oVer

the shape of a snake's head known but to mossy-souled poets.

 

 

OVerhead is mockingbird song reflected in the babbling stream

O this prick of blackberry thorns that odor of ozone ere the rain

finally, the lilacs are in bloom just close your eyes and breathe

 

 

Seedtime! what hustle bustle such a plethora of blooming things

daffodowndillies, tulips, blue flag, straw poppies, and most

especially those baby quail running helter-skelter helter-skelter.

 

 

Behold springtide at long last is whereVer some starry-eyed poet

might pen of sweet jonquils and beauty of thought O saffron

a season for rhyme and reason renewed ken death is yet to be.

 

 

In a past Victorian life was I the bouquet of wild sweet peas

picked by some gentlewoman's hand to grace her parlor table

foreVermore shall come to bloom fragrant and timeless blossoms.

 

 

Wish I were a green leafy Vine that twists and creeps along

climbing up old library walls spilling out earthenware pots

O but to be this wild iVy tattooed upon my ladyloVe's arm.

 

*Commentary: This is absolutely delightful! Wonderful rhythm (that complements the inferred exaggerated movement of growth of the ivy, excellent images, colors, and scents. The two "ing" words in line 2 even more enhances the lilting rhythm. The witty finale is superb. Surely the ancient Sijo Masters are smiling.---Elizabeth St. Jacques, POETRY IN THE LIGHT

 

 

It was barely mountain twilight when in old growth forest

third season wind came blowing thin shadows to and fro

an inVigorating balm distilled from resin trees pine-scented.