Poetry Friday: Practicing the Sedoka

I was doing research on haiku and other forms of Japanese poetry recently when I came upon the sedoka – a very, very early poetic form. Although the sedoka is rarely seen these days, it’s been around since Japan was still using Chinese characters in their written language! I had played around with the form a few years ago,but had forgotten about it until now – so I’m grateful for this ‘accidental’ inspiration.

Rather than getting into a long explanation of what a sedoka is, I invite you to visit THIS LINK to learn more. Simply put, a sedoka is made up of two tercets (3-line stanzas) which ‘converse’ with each other; that is, the first sets up a scene and the second responds to it by connecting the reader to an emotion. In this way, a sedoka is sort of a cross between a haiku and senryu – although both of those forms are much, much more recent creations than the sedoka.

The form intrigued me, not only because of this blending of nature with human emotion, but because it allows the writer a bit more room to work than a haiku or senryu. (The sedoka has a syllable count of 5-7-7, which is similar to these, but because Japanese “syllables” are not the same as those in the English language, one need not adhere strictly to this rule)

So after some thought, some scribbling, and more than a revision or two, I present my first sedoka:

(click to enlarge)

Probably not the best sedoka ever written – certainly not on par with Kakinomoto Hitomaro, the Master of the sedoka – but I’m happy with it as a first try!

Looking for more poetry? My friend Amy at The Poem Farm is hosting Poetry Friday today! And if you’ve not yet entered my drawing for a free copy of Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (POW! Kids Books, 2018), be sure to check out this past Tuesday’s post! I’m celebrating Dinosaur‘s one-year birthday with a look at the most common questions we get from kids and teachers, so I hope you’ll leave a comment to be entered!


The 2019 Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem continues! Each day during April (National Poetry Month), a different writer/ blogger adds a new line to the poem until it concludes April 30. You can follow along at the sites listed below.

2019 Progressive Poem schedule:


1 Matt @Radio, Rhythm and Rhyme
2 Kat @Kathryn Apel
3 Kimberly @KimberlyHutmacherWrites
4 Jone @DeoWriter
5 Linda @TeacherDance
6 Tara @Going to Walden
7 Ruth @thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown
8 Mary Lee @A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @Live Your Poem
11 Dani @Doing the Work that Matters
12 Margaret @Reflections on the Teche
13 Doraine @Dori Reads
14 Christie @Wondering and Wandering
15 Robyn @Life on the Deckle Edge
16 Carol @Beyond LiteracyLink
17 Amy @The Poem Farm
18 Linda @A Word Edgewise
19 Heidi @my juicy little universe
20 Buffy @Buffy’s Blog
21 Michelle @Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @Reading to the Core
23 Penny @a penny and her jots
24 Tabatha @The Opposite of Indifference
25 Jan @Bookseestudio
26 Linda @Write Time
27 Sheila @Sheila Renfro
28 Liz @Elizabeth Steinglass
29 Irene @Live Your Poem
30 Donna @Mainely Write


Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!

  Coming July 2, 2019!

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it for you, and then they’ll ship it. Try doing that with those big online booksellers! (Plus, you’ll be helping to support local book-selling – and wouldn’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you to everyone for your support!


Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

SCVBWI_Member-badge (5 years)
To keep abreast of all my posts, please consider subscribing via the links up there on the right!  (I usually only post once or twice a week – usually Tues. and Fri. – so you won’t be inundated with emails every day)
Also feel free to visit my voiceover website HERE, and you can also follow me via Twitter Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and SoundCloud!

31 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Practicing the Sedoka

  1. Linda Mitchell

    Oh, I’m in! thank you for the explanation of the form and the inspiration with your pretty-darn-good-actually-awesome first try. Like a bandit, I’m taking this idea and running with it.


  2. amyludwigvanderwater

    “stillness shaken” – yes.
    Thank you for this moment and too, for sharing this form. I love its name and will check out your link to learning more. Happy Poetry Friday!!


  3. margaretsmn

    Thanks for teaching me about a new to me old form. Gotta try this one. Yours drew me in to the moment of morning rising and trumpets sounding.


  4. lindabaie

    I like that ‘stillness shaken’ & your explanation of the sedoka, too, Matt. Sometimes I wake & wonder what sound did ‘shake me’. Your poem reminded me of that. Lovely words with the picture, too.


  5. I’ve tried writing sedoka before (in fact I have one in a poetry collection I’m currently trying to sell), but I never thought about the two stanzas being in conversation. That sheds new light on this form for me. Thanks for sharing, Matt!


    1. Thank you for stopping by! I wish I knew where that scene is from…it was a photo I came across on Photobucket. After I’d decided on my subject, I wrote the poem, then went off in search of an appropriate image to tie it together!


  6. Thanks for your explanation of sedoka and the link. I love the deceptive simplicity of this new-to-me form. Yours is a lovely poem–and an inspiring mentor text. I’m always rapt by dawn and all that stirs and shakes in those early morning hours.


  7. Cool form! I like the conversationality of it.
    My husband spent a lot of time in NH growing up and my MIL lives there now, so I have seen mornings like what you are describing. (Maybe the ears aren’t as deaf as you think?)


  8. Pingback: #NPM19 Day 24 Monarch Ecloses | Reflections on the Teche

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.