April 2021 Poetry Challenge: Sijo

The form we are experimenting with this month has a lot of promise! (En español abajo) The sijo is a traditional Korean poetry form. It has three lines, like haiku, and the lines are 14-16 syllables. The themes can be natural, spiritual or humorous. We’ll start with a classic Korean poem from almost 800 years ago. The concern he mentions is a subject of much interest that could have been penned today:

Reto poético de abril: Sijo. La forma con que estamos experimentando este mes tiene la buena pinta. Un sijo es una forma tradicional koreana. Tiene tres líneas, como haiku, y las líneas contienen 14 a 16 sílabas. Los temas son naturales, espirituales o humorosos. Empezaremos con un poema koreano de desde hace 800 años. Se trata de una preocupación que se mantiene corriente en la escritura hoy:

The spring breeze melted snow on the hills, then quickly disappeared.
I wish I could borrow it briefly to blow over my hair
and melt away the aging frost forming now about my ears.

La brisa primaveral derrite la nieve, y se va.
Ojalá que soplara un momento por mi cabello,
quitaría la escarcha alrededor de mis orejas.
(traducción del inglés al español por Rebecca)

춘산(春山)에 눈 녹인 바람 건듯 불고 간듸업네 
저근듯 비러다가 뿌리과저 머리우희 
귀밋헤 해묵은 서리를 불녀볼까 하노라

U-Taek (1262-1342)

(Traditional sijo source and definition) (fuente con más detalle sobre el sijo)

The first sentence of a sijo is the introduction, the second develops the topic, the last is the reversal which plays extremely cleverly in U-Taek’s final line about wind melting gray hairs. The following is my first attempt at a sijo.

La primera frase de un sijo es la introducción, la segunda es el desarrollo del tema, y la última es el verso con sentido contrario. El uso del viento y la nieve por parte de U-Taek para hablar https://decir020.wixsite.com/traducciones/post/sijo-poesia-coreanade las cañas es muy listo. Lo siguiente es mi primer intento en escribir un sijo.

The gale force wind blows this new day as I stand firm.
A rock in a gushing mountain stream; anchored to the earth.

The wind invites me to cast away my anchor and fly.

–Rebecca Cuningham, 5 April 2021

Viento que sopla hoy día mientras me quedo firme.
Piedra en un arroyo montañés; anclada a tierra.
Viento que me invita a soltar la ancla y volar

–Rebecca Cuningham, 5 abril 2021

Three medium sized lines, you got this. Your challenge: write a sijo in English or Spanish about wind, breeze, gale. or air word of your choice. Rated G poems, please. Your sijo is due in the comments below on 11 April. On 13 April, I’ll publish your sijo wind poems!

Tres líneas de tamaño mediano, lo tienes en la mano. El reto poético es escribir un dijo en español o en inglés. El tema es aire: viento, brisa, ventanal, la palabra que tu quieras sobre el aire. Poemas para todas las audiencias, incluso los niños, por favor. La fecha de entrega para tu sijo es el 11 abril, pegalo en los comentarios abajo. En el 13 abril, ¡publicaré sus poemas sijos acerca del viento!

¡Gracias por visitar Fake Flamenco! Espero con anticipación leer sus poemas. Muy bienvenidos a los poetas nuevos al reto poético de Fake Flamenco y un abrazo fuerte a los participantes frecuentes. 🙂 –Rebecca

Gracias for visiting Fake Flamenco! I look forward to reading your poems. If this is your first Fake Flamenco poetry challenge, welcome and welcome back to our frequent flyers. 🙂 –Rebecca

Festival Internacional del Globo (FIG) Photo: FIG
Rebecca Cuningham

20 thoughts on “April 2021 Poetry Challenge: Sijo

  1. Oh goodness Rebecca, this is a challenge. I’ve never managed even a haiku I feel satisfied with. Having been to Korea though, I feel I must give this my best shot. We’re having a hailstorm now. Could that inspire me?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a good inspiration to me, and you have your memories of Korea to galvanize you. 🙂 May I suggest:
      1. Windy idea
      2. Rough draft of the three lines
      3.Special focus on the conclusion reversal
      4. Edit for syllable count
      That is the process I used. Hurrah for readers who are game to try. Look forward to reading your sijo!


  2. Thanks for this Rebecca. In fact I’ve got a draft of something that ticks a few boxes, but it’s the conclusion reversal I’m finding hard. If I’m honest, in these given examples, plus ones I’ve followed up through your link, this ‘conclusion reversal’ feels a bit tenuous, and I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, if I hadn’t known to look out for it!


  3. I’m not sure if I have fully understood the form, but here is a first attempt:

    Fresh strengthening winds from the north roughen the open ocean
    Our small boat slams into waves that grow in size, our fear also grows
    Dolphins come alongside, chatter and leap, make a game of it all

    Is that to the form?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Octavio Paz likened inspiration to a fabulous bird who one must pay attention to immediately or be left grasping one golden feather. So glad the muses swung your way today, as they often do 😉 Thanks for your excellent poetic contribution.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reto Sijo: Buitre/Zopilote Sombra oscura que vuela en el firmamento. Soy augurio maligno, un anima en pena. El fiel y veloz emisario de nuestro Creador.


  5. I’ve really struggled with this one: it’s the ‘conclusion reversal’, especially. In my own mind, I can see what this is in my effort below, but it’s probably obscure to the point of invisibility to the reader!

    The wind snatches at my clothes, gusts into my face –
    propels me onward, forward, homeward.
    It excites, energises, brings vigour to my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s mine.

    In the Time of Covid

    We are but cells sans walls, the world (so loved) pours through us all.
    Our membranes are porous, and every last word is contagious.1
    Our leaky vessels borne by the winds to uncertain ends.

    1 Jericho Brown (2015). “To Be Seen” from The New Testament. https://onbeing.org/poetry/to-be-seen/

    Liked by 1 person

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