Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Iroha Mokigusari

Yowsa! This form was a bit of a challenge. But then I kind of like a challenge.

Some of my favorite forms are the Japanese ones. Even though they usually have a strict 5/7 syllable count, at least you don’t have to worry about rhymes. All you need for most of them is a good thesaurus that includes the number of syllables in a word. :-)

The Iroha Mokigusari is an ancient Japanese form and seeing as I can neither read nor write Japanese I have to trust the western interpretation of it. It’s described as a perfect pangram, meaning it contains each character of the Japanese syllabary once only.

For our purposes, its best described as a Japanese alphabet poem. It differs from our western alphabet poems (in which each line starts with a letter of the alphabet starting with A and continuing in descending order) in that it follows the normal 5/7 pattern of syllables, and the first and last letter of each line follow the alphabet.

The structure looks like this:

and so on…

One example I found of this form was called Nonsense, a fitting title because it’s almost impossible to write a poem under these restrictions that makes sense.

My attempt has no title.

A question that’s dumb,
Can you fly like a buzzard?
Even without proof,
Given your innate hutzpah,
I believe in Raj –
Knew you were always playful,
Maybe brave even.
Only watch for a breakup –
Quicker than ever,
Starlight is shining at night
Under an improv
Winter moon; like a phoenix
You shine like glitz.

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