Senryu is a Japanese syllabic verse that deals primarily with human nature and is often expressed through humor. It developed in the 18th century and is named after Karai Senryu who was a judge of comic verse contests. They were originally poems of the merchant class and often made fun of corrupt officials and professionals.

The official’s child—
How well he learns to open
and close his fist!
———- —anonymous

The focus of the modern Senryu can be just about anything as long as it has a human or humorous slant. Senryus are lively, often humorous and sometimes even vulgar.

The main characteristics of the Senryu are energy or liveliness in the focus and choice of words, humor as revealed in human nature and use of subjects such as relationships, family, professions, children and pets. It is written in the same frame as the haiku, 17 syllables or less, 2 units of imagary and 1 unit of enlightenment.

So if you are wondering if a 3 line, 17 syllable poem is Haiku or Senryu, you can pretty much place the serious poem in the Haiku column and the more human, humorous poems as the Senryu. (but there are humorous Haiku and serious Senryu, go figure..)

The Senryu is:
• a poem in 3 lines or less.
• syllabic, 17 syllables or less.
• commonly written in 3 lines but can be written in 2 lines and can be written with fewer syllables, never more.
○ L1 5 syllables describes image.
○ L2 7 syllables, adds conflicting image or expands first image
○ L3 5 syllables provides insight (the ah ha! moment)through a juxtaposed image.
• written as a natural human experience in language that is simple, humorous, sometimes bawdy or vulgar.
• presented with an energy or liveliness in the focus and choice of words
• often humorous
• written in the moment.
• an imagist poem (draws the humor from the image)
• untitled but can be #ed.

Some of my own senryu: —Judi Van Gorder 

small child ignores call,
parent warns and begins count,
“Daddy, don’t say fwee.”

some roads meander
others flat out ask for speed
don’t forget your map

fire ignites within
flame mushrooms to the surface 

autumn days

pelican’s head bobs
beak bulging with trigger fish, 

shore’s stand-up comic

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource

My example

dumpster diver digs
begs for change upon the street
lives a tax-free life

(c) Lawrencealot


Cross Limerick

• Cross Limerick is an American invented form, a variation of the Limerick found in Pathways of a Poet by Viola Berg. It adds a couple of lines to the Limerick verse form.

The Cross Limerick is:
○ metered verse written in anapestic patterns. L1, L2 and L7 are trimeter (3 metric feet) and L3,L4,L5 and L6 are dimeter (2 metric feet). (anapest = da da DUM or u-u-S = unstressed , unstressed, stressed syllables.)
○ a septet. (7 lines).
○ best used for witty, whimsical, bawdy themes, light verse.
○ written with a rhyme scheme aabcbca.
○ no title is used.

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My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example poem

The girls who in short skirts walk the street
are not those that mom wants you to meet.
When they’re plying their wares
it’s with commerce in mind
they invite young men’s stares
and more if one’s inclined.
But the kindest of them can’t be beat.

© Lawrencealot – August 5, 2014
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Cross Limerick

ABBA Poetry Form

ABBA or Mirror Poem is a rhetorical device that makes use of rhyme in a condensed and unique manner. Although I am sure the device had been used long before, the use of the term ABBA or Mirror Poem was discovered in a book of poetry by the English educator and poet John Caffyn 1987.

The ABBA is:
• a very short poem. A single strophe of 2, 3 or 4 lines.
• rhymed. The poem contains mirror rhyme in which the first and last syllables of the poem rhyme, as do the two center syllables. Rhyme scheme a…..b b ……a This reflective rhyme can be extended further, a…..b….c c ….b…..a or a….bc…d d ….cb ….a
• untitled.

Child at play,
day beguiled.
— jvg

Kick in the door,
war with a brick.
— jvg

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My Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the fine resource site.

My examples of
and (ab)(cc)(ba)

Fit designation!
Resignation – quit!

Leaves to rake
rake the leaves.

Well I know
I didn’t say-
Pray tell why?
“Go to hell!”

Friend, this is it!
We’ve – I believe
hit the end.

(c) Lawrencealot – May 22, 2014

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  • The Tanaga is a Filipino stanzaic form that was originally written in Tagolog which to my ear is one of the more musical of languages. (Kumusta ka? Mabuti salam at) The form dates back to the 16th century and has an oral tradition. The poems are not titled. Each is emotionally charged and asks a question that begs an anwer. This form was found at Kaleidoscope.The Tanaga is:
    • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
    • syllabic, 7-7-7-7 syllables per line.
    • rhymed, originally aaaa bbbb cccc etc., modern Tanagas also use aabb ccdd etc or abba cddc etc or any combination rhyme can be used.
    • composed with the liberal use of metaphor.
    • untitled.

Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the wonderful resource at PMO.

My Example Poem


Casually boys contemplate,
Carefully they cogitate,
what will they appreciate
when they’re searching for a mate?

Will she need to cook and sew?
I suspect the answer’s no.
Will she need to use a wrench,
or speak Mandarin or French?

Need she work with quilting thread,
or perform with brush or pen?
I think I’ll say no again-
if she pleases him in bed.

© Lawrencealot – March 3, 2014

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Note: For example only I used one of each rhyme pattern here.