Jueju Verse

The jueju, meaning "severed sentence," is a Chinese verse form that was popular during the Tang dynasty (618-907). It is a four-line poem consisting of five or seven syllables per line. The name refers to the fact that it was derived by omitting four lines from a form called lushi, which consists of eight lines of five or seven syllables, each line set down in accordance with strict tonal patterns. Various schemes to rhyme lines 2 and 4 are possible, for example ABCB or AABA.

Tonal meter in jueju is a complex process in which the poet needs to alternate level and oblique tones both between and within lines, but these tonal and pitch features of Chinese poetry are impossible to achieve in English. Any meter will suffice, but a dactyl ( ˘ ˘ ) followed by a choriamb ( ˘ ˘ ) works well for me.

A Jueju Verse

Seven syllables per line
Constitute the form's design.
Matching tones and pitch aside,
Rhyme and meter should align.

Classical Jueju Verse

Lo, the Herald Crocus Springs

Crocuses pop through the snow,
Leaving their blanket below;
Colorful caps on their heads
Signal that spring is in tow.

Aelia: a Jueju Verse

Aelia lost her four teeth




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