Monday, January 04, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Iroha Mojigusari

Iroha mojigusari is a Japanese form of an abecedarian poem. Here's how it is defined in A Poet's Glossary by Edward Hirsch.
The Japanese iroha mojigusari (literally “character chain”) is a specialized version of the abecedarian.The first letter of the alphabet kicks off the first line and the second letter of the alphabet concludes it. The third letter starts the second line and the fourth letter finishes it. This continues until all the letters of the alphabet have been used in order.
While working on this I found that finding words ending in specific letters to be difficult. Try wordHippo for help with this. Under select option choose "words ending with" and search for the letter you need. You'll find it brings up a helpful list of words.

So, there's your challenge for the week. I hope you'll join me in writing an iroha mojigusari. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. I did it slight wrong so here it is properly, with additions:

    Sleep: A Half Iroha Mojigusari

    All the world sleeps soundly but I, like a tossing cub
    can’t find a place that feels like a proper bed.
    Endings are always hard; as for what I would dream of
    give me rivers of chocolate where I can take a sweet bath.
    I’ll fall into a cataract of sugary foam, my personal haj,
    kissing sweetness and letting the river swill
    my body's caverns until numbed by it all I swan
    over the water's and fall into sleep.

    ©2016 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

    Awake: A Half Iroha Mojigusari

    Quickly, eyes now open; only the one final star
    stays its departure into the insistent light.
    Up I rise like a car in its rev,
    wishing for more idling, my mind still in its box.
    Yet knowing life can’t wait, I end tonight’s Zzzzzzz.

    ©2016 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

    1. Good grief, that looks hard! Impressive, Jane!

    2. Jane, I love what you've done here. The split and the two poems work so well together.

  2. Tricia, WordHippo saved me on this one! Thanks for the link. :)

    That One

    A boy like that could use a comb.
    Can’t help noticing he thinks he’s bad,
    evil and proud of it, hulk like a werewolf,
    grubby, especially his dirty mouth.
    In the darkness nightly he makes his haj,
    keeping to clubs that try to be hell.
    Manfully he smokes and drinks till dawn
    or at least till the barman wields his mop.
    Quiet nights bore him; he wants to roar,
    so he looks around and starts a fight,
    usually with some grinning chav
    who’s a lot smaller than our drunken ox.
    Yeah, but even drunk his fists can waltz.

    —Kate Coombs, 2016,
    all rights reserved

  3. Very inventive and particularly fine lst line--chav, ox. (You stole my haj line though! Hah! Raj wouldn't fit in either poem.


    1. Thanks, Jane! I could have had him drinking tej, but I didn't they served it in the bars he frequented. :)

  4. I think that word ending in j is probably the hardest to do. There are so few words that work.

    1. Yes! It's like doing an alphabet book—they say you should come up with the Q and X words first.

  5. So haj, tej, Raj. . .and what else? Could use this for Bananagrams, too!

  6. taj—a tall conical hat worn by a dervish; not too useful!