The same moon gleams for weak and strong –
for both the ruled and their rulers –

but the weak sleep under bare branches –
and the strong sleep behind gates.

And that’s why, Senator,
your ‘truths’ are dirt, unfit even for graves.

Written in response to the B&J Shadorma & Beyond Prompt at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie.  We had the option of writing a shadorma (non-rhyming 6-line poem in 3/5/3/7/7/5) or a sijo.  The sijo is a song-like poem that 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.

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 (but for the sake of this blog, I added one);
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.



And here is another sijo I wrote about a year ago.


And … here’s another Whitmore song you should hear.



6 thoughts on “the same moon (sijo)

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