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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...

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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.

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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.

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