S.E Asia (Burma)

Than Bauk

In view of the Haikus popularity in the West, it's surprising that the Than Bauk is not more popular. It consists of three lines of four syllables that should be witty. The nickname for this form of poetry, could be "Stairway", because of the rhyme steps through the poem. This is the basic rhyme scheme:

O. O. O. a
O. O. a. O
O. a. O. b

You can see from this that it forms a descending step, and at this point it can be terminated. You have twelve syllables to work with, and it could be very hard work. It could be much easier if a longer poem were made. If this is the case, then the practice is that the last syllable of the third line starts the next descent as shown below:

O. O. O. a
O. O. a. O
O. a. O. b
O. O. b. O
O. b. O. c
O. O. c. O
O. c. O. d. etc.

(Freight Train Riders of America)

Down by the rails
soup in pails, hot
train wails, main line
life is fine, see
cheap wine, the world
in a whirl: life
unfurled bedroll
place with soul. Sleep
the goal: seek life
options rife call
your strife constricts
but it picks us
and sticks on you
confined blues mode
he rues mundane
on this plane tied
life's pain to vent
the rails went off
and sent away
boxcars sway free
no pay to stay

Dana Rowe
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