The imayo is comprised of four 12-syllable lines. Each line is divided into a 7-syllable and a 5-syllable section, with a hard pause (or caesura) in between. The pause will generally be represented by a comma, semi-colon, or similar punctuation.
- 4 lines (8 lines permissible)
- 12 syllables per line divided as 7-5
- make a pause space between the 7 and 5 syllables
- use comma, caesura or kireji (cutting word) as the pause
- no rhymes
- no meter
- no end of line pauses – the whole should flow together as though one long sentence
- The Imayo is a literal poem so do not use symbolism, allegory etc.
Part of the challenge is also writing the poem about a bird. I chose to write about a cardinal. We aren't supposed to use symbolism, but a cardinal is said to be symbolize a visit from a loved one who has passed away. So, I chose to write from the point of view of a bird contemplating his existence.
Then, just in case it doesn't fit with the rules, I wrote a second one about seagulls because they always crack me up at the beach. :-)
people stop and gawk at me, every time I fly
could there be truth in their words? I stop and ponder.
something draws me to a spot, or is it someone?
seeming desperate for food - begging is a norm
they wait for opportune times - dash quickly and grab
then pray they've not been noticed - let the fights begin
Would you like to try your hand at the Imayo? Click here and join us.