Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 3: Sijo: My Friends

by Yon Son-do (1587-1671)

lesson image
Bamboo and Stone

You ask how many friends I have? Water and stone, bamboo and pine.

The moon rising over the eastern hill is a joyful comrade.

Besides these five companions, what other pleasure should I ask?

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 3: Sijo: My Friends

by Yon Son-do (1587-1671)


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.


Yon Son-do's sijo "My Friends" describes the aspects of nature he considers his companions, including the moon, the pine, and the bamboo. Lest the reader think the poet lonely, the poet can't imagine anything else he could want.


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 sijo is 'a traditional Korean lyrical form consisting of three long lines.'

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.
  • Study the map. Which country borders North Korea and South Korea to the north?

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

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


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