Skip to main content

Than-bauk: Poetic Forms

Learn how to write the than-bauk, a Burmese tercet form, including guidelines for writing this poetic form and an example poem.

It's Friday! So let's keep the poetic forms flying with the than-bauk.

Than-bauk Poems

The than-bauk is a Burmese form with very simple rules:

  • Three lines
  • Four syllables per line
  • The final syllable of the first line rhymes with the third syllable of the second line and second syllable of the third line.

Here's a visual representation of rhyming and non-rhyming syllables for each line:

xxxa
xxax
xaxx

The poem is conventionally written as an epigram, so it's usually a clever or witty little poem.

I made a chain of than-bauks below that starts the pattern over in each stanza. However, I did find an interesting variation of linked than-bauk that begins a new descending rhyme at the end of the line that features the third rhyme. Click here to check it out.

Here's another visual representation of how this variation would work:

xxxa
xxax
xaxb
xxbx
xbxc
xxcx
xcxx

And so on...

*****

The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Than-bauk:

Nobody, by Robert Lee Brewer

Who heard her say
it's her way or
highway? No one.

Who took the task
to unmask her
and ask? No one.

Who tried to call
her on all ways
she stalled? No one.

Nobody tried
when they spied how
she lied. No one.

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Author and Sisters in Crime Vice President Jennifer J. Chow reflects on 35 years of the women's crime writer's organization and the five benefits of joining a writing organization—even if you're an introvert.

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

While emulating authors you love is a natural starting point, finding your own voice in storytelling is paramount to your success. Author Ronald Kelly shares 5 tips for forming your own writing voice.

From Script

Keeping the Emotion of the True Story (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, Barri Evins offers writers invaluable pointers on navigating the pitfalls, as well as capturing the potential of the true story, peppered with lots of real-life examples.

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Author Sarah Bonner discusses how she started her debut novel as short story before it became the psychological thriller, Her Perfect Twin.

Kerri Maniscalco: On Big Reveals in Fantasy Fiction

Kerri Maniscalco: On Big Reveals in Fantasy Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco discusses the satisfaction in finishing a series with her new fantasy novel, Kingdom of the Feared.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, Novel Conference Registration, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce a new podcast episode about literary agents, Novel Conference registration reminder, and more!

5 Tips on How To Write Fast—And Well!

5 Tips on How To Write Fast—And Well!

Who says your first drafts can’t be completed manuscripts? Author Kate Hewitt lays out 5 tips on how to write fast and well.

Shelley Burr: On Writing About Rage in Crime Fiction

Shelley Burr: On Writing About Rage in Crime Fiction

Author Shelley Burr discusses the less altruistic side of amateur sleuths in her debut crime novel, WAKE.

Sew vs. So vs. Sow (Grammar Rules)

Sew vs. So vs. Sow (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between sew, so, and sow with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.