Sunday, June 28, 2009

A vengeful sky

When you came round to seeing it my way, I thought surely I had won.
I carried out my plan, knowing you were covering my back.
Imagine my surprise when thunderheads rolled in, voicing their rage.

Blackbirds lick the sky with ruffled wings, as wind tears through the grass.
They know what is to come, and yet I've foolishly ignored the signs.
It's the price I pay for arrogance, thinking only I know the way.

* * *
These are my first attempts at the Korean poetry form called sijo. Is it any good? Probably not. I'm sure I don't fully understand the rules underlying the form, which involves 3 lines of verse, each split in two by a pause, and an average of 14-16 syllables per line. However, it's always fun to try out new forms, to experiment with them and see what treasures lie within.

Thank you, Joseph, for bringing my attention to the sijo. I lived in Korea for a while, and loved it. All things Korean make me feel a bit nostalgic.

Anyone else want to have a go at the Sijo? Please feel free to use the comments section here to post a link to your poem.


Piratedred said...


Very nice and the picture is beautiful.

Have a wonderful day.


Rikkij said...

Rach- nicely done. and once again, i feel your pain. ~rick

christopher said...

Rachel, I don't know the form well enough to say anything but this... you evoked a mood that held through both. Your stormy mood calls to me. Knowing the error of arrogance too late is a special pain all its own, and not everyone will know it. Only those of us with sufficient defensive and sensitive self-centeredness can know the equisite razor cuts of being caught red handed and called on for arrogance. We bleed a special red while others snicker. Then we vow to never get caught again ;)

I know that when Haiku is written in Japanese the language forms spread meaning and purists assert that for English to be similar to Japanese you have to drop syllables from the count. They will do 2 or 3, up to 5, and then 2 or three in English Haiku. When I do the 5-7-5, then, I especially feel free to play with the form because in English, I think I agree that it is too many syllables.

I wonder if Korean has a similar need for more syllables to finish meaning.

nollyposh said...

i ~Love~ it! X:-)

Woman in a Window said...

Kimchi? A brief stop in Korea. Wondering what you were there for.

I'm pretty much anti-form but it is powerful, foreboding. That is enough for me.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome, and, they're beautiful! (though I don't by any means consider myself an authority on the form) The photo fits in very nicely as well...

Also, just to respond a bit to the haiku discussion: the issue is that syllables in English don't quite match up to the closest unit in Japanese, the "mora". Japanese morae are essentially a consonant + an optional vowel (in linguistic terms, a syllable with an onset sound, a nucleus, but no coda); so in English, a word like "kickball" would have 2 syllables, but 4 mora (ki + ck + ba + ll). Japanese word structure ensures that words are almost always consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel, but obviously it doesn't work so well for English. To keep absolutely with Japanese rules, haiku should count 5/7/5 morae...

...but then, that's in Japanese, and we're writing in English here, so it's not as important as conveying the imagery and "sense of space" that haiku are intended for.

OK, I'm done. Forgive a former Japanese minor who did projects on Basho his soapboxing. :)

RachelW said...

Tony, thanks :)

Rick, thanks-- I'm glad the story came through intact.

Christopher, thank you. Somehow, one poem wasn't enough top tell the whole story, and I'm sure there are other facets to it as well. At least these two pieces seemed paired. And you are right, I also have vowed never to get caught again, hehe! :)

Nolly, thank you!

Erin, I still make kimchi, sometimes. Lovely stuff. I was in Korea as a taekwondo student, and ended up staying much longer than I'd intended, studying and teaching marital arts. I'm also usually anti-form, but I do dabble... rhythm definitely works better for me than rhyme.

Joseph, the photo came first, and after the storm rolled in, I knew I'd have to write something to go with the images. Thanks for explaining that about the haiku form. I wonder if it's also true for the syllable count of sijo? Japanese and Korean have such similar forms. I can almost understand Japanese, but not quite. It's like listening to a slippery form of Korean.

Rob-bear said...

Valiant attempt at a new form. Interesting too. If you keep working on it, you could have real fun.

Love the picture too. The poem speaks excellently what the photo also says.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I am unfamiliar but I think you did a beautiful job. Thanks for sharing it.

Michelle Johnson said...

Your first attempt at the sijo was a good one. It read fluidly. And the story held my attention. Hope all is well.

Catvibe said...

Ooooh, a new poetry form to explore! What I loved about this poem was the mood it evoked, and the exploration of your own emotions within. The blackbirds were a great touch.

I just saw some swallowlings nestling on a wire near the brook on my morning walk, and thought of you.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I truly love this poem...there lies within it a certain profundity. You are a wise woman.