Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 4: Sijo: Green Water

by Hwang Jini (1506–1560)

lesson image
Won't You Rest?

Green water, do not boast of your rapid flow from the blue mountains.

It is hard to return when you've reached the blue sea.

A full moon graces these peaceful hills: Won't you rest a while?

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 4: Sijo: Green Water

by Hwang Jini (1506–1560)


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.


In the sijo "Green Water," Hwang Jini warns a young rushing mountain river to slow down a bit, for eventually it will rejoin the sea.


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. Are North Korea and South Korea a peninsula, an island, or a bay?

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 7 of 'Elementary Poetry 6: Poetic Forms.'


  1. 'Sijo.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  2. 'Hwang Jini.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.