Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 1: Sijo: The Spring Breeze

by U Tak (1262-1342)

lesson image

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.

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 1: Sijo: The Spring Breeze

by U Tak (1262-1342)


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the poem each day.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poetic form.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


Over the year, we'll explore nine poetic forms, including the sijo, haiku, limerick, sonnet, epitaph, acrostic, concrete/visual, ode, and blank verse. Each poetic form has its own distinct set of rules. Over the first four weeks, lessons focus on the poetic form of sijo. The sijo is a lyrical Korean poetic form of three long lines. The first featured poem, U Tak's "The Spring Breeze," is a sijo from the 14th century. The poem describes the brief appearance of a warm spring breeze melting the snow. In a shift, the author hopes it returns to melt the gray from his hair and restore his youth.


Poems often adhere to specific poetic forms, defined as 'poems following distinct sets of rules.'

The nine poetic forms we'll study include the:

  1. Sijo: A lyrical Korean poetic form of three long lines.
  2. Haiku
  3. Limerick
  4. Sonnet
  5. Epitaph
  6. Acrostic
  7. Visual
  8. Ode
  9. Blank Verse

The lyrical sijo is meant to be sung.

Sijo rules are as follows:

  1. Poems consist of three (3) lines
  2. Each line has between 14-16 syllables
  3. A pause in the middle of each line splits the line into two parts
  4. Each half-line has between 6-9 syllables, except the last, which can have as few as 5

Sijo content addresses the following:

  1. Line 1: Introduce a problem or situation
  2. Line 2: Further develop or describe the situation
  3. Line 3: The problem is resolved
  4. First Half of Line 3: Introduces a twist via sound, tone, or meaning.


Activity 1: Recite the Poem Title, Poet Name, and Poem

  • Each day this week, recite aloud the title of the poem, the name of the poet, and the poem.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Narrate the Poem

  • After reading the poem, narrate the poem events aloud using your own words.

Activity 4: Map the Poem

  • Sijo is a traditional Korean lyrical form.
  • Find the countries of North Korea and South Korea on the map of East Asia.

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 4 of 'Elementary Poetry 6: Poetic Forms.'


  1. 'Sijo.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.