NaPoWriMo Day Three: Ken Cumberlidge – Liwuli

For the third day of NaPoWriMo we welcome back Ken Cumberlidge. Ken has previously shared some tricky forms with lots of restrictions and he has another one to try today, the liwuli.

Ken says: A liwuli is a modern (20th century) South-East Asian form – originally from Singapore, I believe – with strict rules:

A Liwuli has 3 stanzas.

Stanza 1 is 31 syllables (usually formatted as prose, but that’s not essential) and must be expressed entirely in the imperative – i.e. a set of instructions.

Stanza 2 is 14 syllables over 3 lines and can be any mode of expression.

Stanza 3 is 10 syllables over 2 lines and must be phrased as a question or set of questions.

You might find something you can use from yesterday’s instruction giving prompt to use as a starting point for this exercise.

Ken suggests swift as a theme. You can interpret this any way you want or write something completely different.

Here is Ken’s liwuli:


Act swiftly.
If the ground is soft, place the head on a firm, flat surface.
Find a heavy stone. Aim well; strike hard; leave no room for doubt.

Compassion has no use
for the squeamish
or faint of heart.

Will equal mercy
be afforded you?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

© Ken Cumberlidge 27-03-2017
First published in “Algebra of Owls”, 29-08-2018…ken-cumberlidge/

Please share your responses to today’s prompt either in the comments or via email. The best submissions will be featured in future podcasts.

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3 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo Day Three: Ken Cumberlidge – Liwuli”

  1. This was a tough one, but full of whimsy! Thanks for day 3!

    No Return

    You must begin with conviction and force because there is no going back.

    Once you engage in the first crack, the seal is broken.

    The damage is done,

    the peeling starts,

    the white emerges.

    Will the yolk show itself

    runny or firm?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Drake

    Be careful; common men fare badly circumnavigating principalities. Pursue a brighter star; climb higher than them.

    They call you names,
    the ones within your sphere.
    No matter now.

    Can you see them still?
    The ones you left there?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Voyager Vogue

    Have a picture taken of yourself
    holding up your hand in front of x-rays of hands.
    Wonder if it’s photography for ghosts.

    Few years later, a pale blue marble
    in black velvet pouch—

    was it gleam-dusted
    by Carl Sagan’s voice?

    Liked by 1 person

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