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BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond – Sijo – March 28, 2015

By Jen at BIOLI

By Jen at BIOLI

Hello everyone!  This is Jen again, greeting you from BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond.  Thank you for participating in last week’s challenge!

For this week you have the choice of writing a shadorma (a non-rhyming six-line poem in 3/5/3/3/7/5), or a sijo.

The sijo is a song-like poetic form which originated in Korea during the Goryeo Kingdom (918–1392).

The Sejong Cultural Society says that “the sijo may tell a story (as the ballad does), examine an idea (as the sonnet does), or express an emotion (as the lyric does).” The sijo’s final line begins with a “twist”: “a surprise of meaning, sound, or other device” and concludes with a profound observation or highly emotional note.

Here is a sijo I wrote about an abandoned school:

With peeling skin and open sores, this old school is a zombie – /
Dragging bare bones, seeking prey, creeping nightly in my brain. /
Who could have known I’d be devoured by memories & regrets? //


How to Write a Sijo

* There are three lines which average 14-16 syllables. The final count is 44-46 syllables;

* Line one introduces the theme;
* Line two elaborates on the theme;
* Line three introduces a counter-theme and concludes with a “twist”;

* Each line has a pause – or caesura – roughly in the middle (commas are great for this);
* Each half line is 6-9 syllables long;

* There is no end rhyme;
* There is no title;
* Western sijo are often printed in six lines, breaking lines at the pause.
This is because a 16-syllable line is quite long – spilling beyond the space allotted to one printed line.


Here is another example, the oldest surviving sijo, by U T’ak (1262-1342):

The spring breeze melted snow on the hills then quickly disappeared. /
I wish I could borrow it briefly to blow over my hair /
And melt away the aging frost forming now about my ears. //


Feel free to write a shadorma, a sijo, or a combination of the two.  The choice is yours! When you have written your poem(s), please TAG them BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond and MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. Then add your link to the Mister Linky widget below.

Good luck!


24 comments on “BJ’s Shadorma & Beyond – Sijo – March 28, 2015

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  3. mira65
    March 28, 2015

    Hi Jen! This is the first time I am attempting to write a sijo. Not sure whether I have got bit right or not.

    • Jen
      March 28, 2015

      You did WONDERFULLY. It’s perfect — perfect! I could see how you’ve included all the parts – and the imagery is beautiful. 🙂

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  5. thotpurge
    March 28, 2015

    OK with real big apologies to every Sijo poet there ever was.. https://thotpurge.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/last-trumpet/
    Much fun Jen! Thank you!

    • Jen
      March 28, 2015

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! And no apologies necessary – you did great 🙂

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  7. CC Champagne
    March 28, 2015

    Yeah, no… Hmmm… Couldn’t face attempting a Sijo (only been back to writing for a week or so, and it just got too complicated for me), so I hope an attempted Shadorma will do?

    • Jen
      March 28, 2015

      Shadorma is always good 🙂

  8. C.C.
    March 28, 2015

    Wow, the Sijo looks super complicated….but your instructions are great, Jen! Thanks for the introduction to another new form 🙂

    • Jen
      March 28, 2015

      Glad it was interesting 🙂
      I’ve been wanting to introduce forms from different cultures – things you don’t hear about very often 🙂

      • C.C.
        March 28, 2015

        I think that’s an awesome idea…..love it and appreciate that you are doing that for us!! Thank you 🙂

      • Jen
        March 28, 2015

        Hey, you’re welcome — it’s a lot of fun — and great to introduce something new, you know? 🙂

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    • Jen
      March 28, 2015

      Awesome – off to read them now 🙂

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  11. Bastet
    March 29, 2015

    Wow … this looks like a very interesting form … and your sijo really got my attention!

    • Jen
      March 29, 2015

      Thanks Georgia 🙂
      It has a lot of potential, this form. I’m so glad you liked the sample sijo. 🙂

      • Bastet
        March 29, 2015

        I liked reading them and once I could figure out how to do it, thanks as always to your great explanations I enjoyed writing the sijo … and yes, I agree it does have great potential … we’ll have to remember to add it to our glossary!

      • Jen
        March 29, 2015

        Already there 🙂 — this time I remembered 😛

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2015 by in BJ Poetry Forms and tagged , , , , , , .
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