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/

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