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!



  1. 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?


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


      • 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!


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