Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
My dad is recovering great from his heart attack of last Sunday. I am glad that the cardiologist has planned his release from the hospital this week. Thank you all for your warm thoughts, prayers and love.
Sijo share a common history with haiku and other Japanese forms. Sijo is a modern term for a Korean style of lyrical poetry, originally called tanga (literally, "short song"). The sijo strongly resembles Japanese haiku in having a strong foundation in nature in a short profound structure. Bucolic, metaphysical and astronomical themes are often explored. The lines average 14-16 syllables, for a total of 44-46. There is a pause in the middle of each line, so in English they are sometimes printed in six lines instead of three. Most poets follow these guidelines very closely although there are longer examples. Either narrative or thematic, this lyric verse introduces a situation or problem in line 1, development (called a turn) in line 2, and a strong conclusion beginning with a surprise (a twist) in line 3, which resolves tensions or questions raised by the other lines and provides a memorable ending.
the moon is pure and bright.
is pure of worldly cares:
can make it purer still"
where the clouds are lowering
the plum trees have happily blossomed?
and do not know where to go"
My first attempt to write a Sijo I love to share here with you all.
for the very first time
reaching for the sun
fragile blossoms scattered
then quickly disappeared.
to blow over my hair
forming now about my ears.
By the way the "6 lines" lay-out is not the original lay-out of the Sijo. It was written in three lines. So this Sijo by U Tak would look like this, in the original lay-out:
The spring breeze melted snow on the hills then quickly disappeared.
And melt away the aging frost forming now about my ears.
I think it's a nice poetry form, of course not an original Japanese form, but it's roots are in the same region as haiku. And in a way Sijo and haiku have something in common. Both are short and the main theme is nature.
on summer sky with thunder clouds
cool with swans on billowing back
fairy tales, epics of ether light.
© Narayanan Raghunathan (co-founder of Wonder Haiku Worlds)