Sijo

Sijo is an unrhymed Korean poem that was originally sung rather than read. Typically it consists of three lines of 14-16 syllables each, or the three lines may be broken in half to create six. The first line presents a problem or a theme; the second line develops or turns the thought; the third line resolves the problem or concludes the theme. The first half of the final line employs a "twist" by means of a surprise in meaning, sound, tone, or other device. To end with style and wit, either a profound observation or a strong emotional finale is a must.
Sijo

   An unrhymed Korean verse,
   Intended for sound and not sight,

   Plays out its tune in three lines,
   A measure of just fifteen beats.

   True measure of this sijo,
   Though, lies in the truth that it speaks.

Greco-Roman Sijo

Martial Sinks His Teeth

As I recall, Aelia,
You only had four teeth at most.

Your first coughing fit cost you two;
Two more followed with the next.

Cough your head off if you like...
Your barking has lost all its bite!

Principle of Uncertainty

The Cogito ergo sum man,
René Descartes, had a plan.

My premise, unlike his though,
Is minor and not major, so

This syllogism concludes:
"I am, therefore I think!"... I think.


[ back to poetry page ]