Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sijo West

On http://www.abebooks.com/ I ordered several issues of the English journal Sijo West from which these two sijo poems come. If you can get your hands on any of these old issues I highly recommend them. For 3-4 years poets from across North America (many of them haiku poets) were writing sijo poems and sending them in to the journal. There are quite a few gems. Here's just two I dug up:

Natural Selection

A well-bred bride for the prince
    is what the emporor seeks
As he studies hopefuls sipping tea;
    the one the prince loves
Chews gum with a snap, and slants glances
    that make promises.

--- name obscured, From Sijo West #3 Fall 1997 pg.21.

Sorry I couldn't make out the author of that one, it was blurry on the copy I had, although I distinctly remember reading it in one of my sijo books as well.....
Here's one on a very modern theme bringing the ancient form of shijo into our times:

Space Waste

Since blasting free from earth
to travel in reaches of space,

a gang of astronauts gaze
on a cloud-clad Blue Marble

dump their pots of pee to streak
as icy shards in our communal void.

--Ronan, Eugene, of Oregon a noted writer of haiku and related verse.
From Sijo West #2 Summer 1996 p.9

As we can see demonstrated in this sijo, traditionally, a sijo should have a surprize or twist in the narrative in the last couplet. This one definitely fits the bill.

These days my blogging shall be a little infrequent; I'm busy giving and marking exams these next three weeks. I'm also attempting to recreate one of the earliest instances of tea recorded from 350 A.D. Its more of a soup than a tea using onion ginger and oranges. I call it Kuo Po soup after the man who wrote the dictionary in which a discription of it is found. You can read about it on my other blog http://www.aboutteabusan.blogspot.com/ in a few weeks time. --MWT.