Today’s prompt comes to us from TJ Kearney, who invites us to try a seven-line poem called a san san, which means “three three” in Chinese (It’s also a term of art in the game Go). The san san has some things in common with the tritina, including repetition and rhyme. In particular, the san san repeats, three times, each of three terms or images. The seven lines rhyme in the pattern a-b-c-a-b-d-c-d.
Here’s an example san san from TJ’s blog, Bag of Anything:
Drinking the driven storm, the sturdy apple
Dances, between sky and earth, her spring-young leaves.
Knowing no purpose, knowing only season,
Her spring-young leaves, storm-driven, dapple
Earth and sky; all that my eye perceives
Dances. My eye drinks in the apple’s spring-
Young leaves, her dance that has no reason:
Only the storm, driving each dappled thing.
As you can see, three images or terms are repeated: the driven storm; the spring-young leaves; the dance, and the seven lines rhyme per the pattern given above. I hope you have fun giving the san san a try.
Today’s san san has been a sudoku of a poem. I’ve actually reworked a poem I’ve already written, because once again when presented with a ‘write a form’ instruction I’m never sure what theme to pick. It was easier for me to tweak rhymes and patterns with a framework already there.
I, the bittern, boom in sedges,
hide my head in yellow of rustling reeds,
watch waters ripple, stroked by wind unseen.
Through rustling reeds and spring-green hedges
where waters ripple and wind unseen blows seeds
I peer and see them come to watch today.
I boom in rustling reeds. I watch binoculars gleam
where waters ripple; then like wind unseen I turn away.