Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hsin Ku

      Hsin Ku

          Twenty-one years ago, in May of 1993, I participated in a poetry festival at Lincoln University, then in San Francisco. At this conference, Dr. Kenneth Fan called for poems of a new form: “Hsin Ku”, or “New Classic”. Its form and rules are summarized by these two hsinku I wrote:

New classic poem form;
four words, four lines
Any topic, any image
Second, fourth near rhymes.

“Let Reason rule Rhyme,”
Decreed the sage Master,
“So our audience be
(I hope) much vaster.”

I admit that I couldn’t resist some sardonicism there. I hope much vaster!
Here are some more:

A single look reveals:
Airplane left, bird right
Climbing, crossing; silent passage
In the evening light.

Me, praise a pearl?
Or its owner, ma’am?
Or its inner grit?
I praise the clam!

O love, we wonder;
Through you, I’m wise;
How deeper we see
Than only two eyes!

Dear love, what song
What best true rhyme
Will show for long
This love through time?

Science, myth and fantasy
Future joy and sorrow;
Dreamer, come enchant me
With life beyond tomorrow.

“What is true reality?
Computer, say the word!”
It answered with finality,
“Your question is absurd.”

Why read science fantasy
Mostly thud and blunder?
I seek marvels, mystery,
Vision, sense of wonder.

Mr. Fan wanted these poems in honor of an ancient Chinese king who prayed for world peace. Alas, I could not resist delivering the following snark:

“May all war cease,”
The high lord sings;
But when there’s peace
Then who needs kings?

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