“Spirits of the Night”
On dark moonless nights, star-shine unveils purple daytime forest shade.
Shadow trees, leaf-whisper in song. In dreams, I dance alone.
Deep sky reflects my soul-spirit, loneliness, my chaperone.
Here is the link to my post: https://colleenmchesebro.com/2022/10/22/spirits-of-the-night-sijo/
How Did It Go?
I tried my first sijo… and I admit it was a bit intimidating. There is a rhythm that I’m not sure I found.
The idea is to write this sijo in three lines with a 3-4-4-4 grouping pattern in the first line; the second line echoes the 3-4-4-4 grouping with more details, and the third line is 3-5-4-4. I struggled with the line pattern, so I broke this down into syllables of 16-14-15, for around (45) 44-46 syllables.
I’ll have to work with this form some more to perfect it. Notice the punctuation and capitalization—this Korean form varies from the Japanese forms.
© Colleen M. Chesebro
We walk as autumn sun retreats, softly warming leaf strewn paths
Zig-zag the mossy nailed-wood fence. Sunlight glints on many eyes;
Hyena smile, tigers yawn, lions stretch out, meerkats stand tall.
How Did It Go?
I had to channel the haiku to get going on this one. The long lines are a little tricky to handle at first but hopefully it gets there. As a Korean form, bonus points for the coincidental fact that Park is one of the most common names in Korea.
I wish the wind would blow away
the sounds of a hundred deaths
of gunshot echoing across meadow
woods and through thinning trees
the skies bird-flutter—
if only feather-hail was mortal as lead.
La chasse de l’automne
Que le vent emporte ce vacarme,
sourd et sournois, que la paix
revient dans ces bois, où des plumes volètent
comme des feuilles mortes,
couleur de sang et de l’argent,
mais parfois comme des pièces d’or.
How did it go?
Better than expected. Almost didn’t take up this challenge as I’m not a fan of the syllable-counting forms transposed from a different linguistic culture. It’s too much like formal art, bonsai trees, fish in ponds and the vegetation arranged just so. But I gave it a go, and got something from it after all. It struck me that this form is adapted to a style of imagist poetry I associate with French, so I wrote a second version, which I think I prefer.
Blossoming trees we were married beneath are bare branches now
leaves have fallen, winding a sheet of gold over new-turned beds.
As the veil grows thinner, we shall sleep still together, here.
How Did It Go?
I really enjoyed this. I love writing short, imagistic poems, like in the various Japanese forms, so this worked really well for me. The bit I had to keep working on for a while was the ‘twist’ and it was difficult to know whether mine was twisty enough! I experimented with the third sentence both ways round (either beginning with ‘we shall..’ and ending on ‘thinner’ or vice versa) before deciding on the way it now stands. I’d read that sijo are traditionally untitled, so have left mine untitled – another bit of a poetry-god-send as titles can be really tricky!
Bios and Links
-Colleen M. Chesebro
is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in “Hedgerow, a Journal of Small Poems,” and in “Poetry Treasures,” and “Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships,” including several other online poetry journal publications. You can find her poetry books on Amazon.com.
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