Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Sijo is a Korean poem consisting of 44 to 46 syllables in three lines with 14 to 16 syllables each line. Sometimes it is written in six lines, the three lines split into two. It has a beginning in Line 1, development in Line 2 and conclusion with a twist or surprise ending in Line 3.

Like haiku and other Japanese poetic forms, sijo has a venerable and ancient beginnings. Poems vaguely similar to present day sijo appeared as early as 17 B.C. but the sijo did not take its characteristic patterns until the 10th century or so. Moreover, it took about 600 more years for the sijo to flower, although its history can be traced back to the Confucian monks of the 11th century.

Sijo is similar to the Japanese haiku but frequently uses metaphors, puns and allusions as well as other poetic device such as alliteration. Traditional sijo, a song lyric, was intended to be sung or chanted, hence its musical quality is apparent.

Delicate and compact, sijo covers a wide range of subjects such as politics, love, life, music, nature, loneliness, and even personal mundane matters like drinking and aging. It embodies the complex and unique concept of sadness and hope called Han, the very core of Korean life.

Here is an example of sijo. I will upload some of them from time to time, together with the other poetic forms.


I still remember those years
when it seemed eternally spring.

Our mutual love for each other
grew stronger each passing year.

Now that she’s gone and I’m alone
how do you hug emptiness?

In my book, Rustle of bamboo leaves, © 2005, but originally published in World Haiku Review, Vol. 4, 2004.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Navy mom

lightning flashes
on the far horizon
a navy mom
smoothes the wrinkles
of her son’s picture

In The Pebbled Shore:
The Tanka Society of America’s
2009 Anthology, 2010.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

World Poetry Day - March 21

diverse poets
the world over sing
on the changing
of the seasons
and nature’s beauty

each on their own
tongue and wisdom
and unique culture
yet employing poetry’s
universal language

world poets
let’s celebrate
World’s Poetry Day
and strive for humanity’s
unity in diversity

Sin no more

"Let those
who have not sinned
cast the first stone to her."
Left alone, He enjoins her, "Sin
no more!"

Friday, March 19, 2010


half awake
a rumbling reminder
that California
still remains
earthquake haven

a very delayed reaction ...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Haiku Friendship

Taken at Pasadena, CA last month, February 19, 2010 at the SCHSG's hosting of the Haiku Society of America meeting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daylight savings time

sleepy in class
the boy blames it on
daylight savings time

Saturday, March 13, 2010


orphanage window
plastic flowers bloom
in the snow

The Mainichi (Japan) Daily News
March 11, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March madness

L. A. traffic jam
he peeks at the sports page
March madness

Haiku Harvest, Vol. 6, No. 1
Spring/Summer 2006

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


distant shore / the expatriate yearns / for home

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring rain

sudden rain
her umbrella widens
to take her lover in

World Haiku Review
Vol. 8, Issue 1, Jan. 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Unused coffee mug

the coffee mug
with our pictures on it
I ordered a while back
remains unused
in the cupboard

Sketchbook, Vol. 4, No. 6
November/December 2009