he pushes the shovel deep – magpie curious
kneels brushing loose soil aside – worm wriggles, exposed
carefully tucks seed in soil – magpies eyes intent
encased deftly in new home – the worm quickly turns
The imayo is a 4-line Japanese poem that has 12 syllables in each line. If a 12-syllable line sounds unique for a Japanese poetic form, don’t fret. There is a planned caesura (or pause) between the first 7 syllables and the final 5. The 5/7 syllable splits are the familiar patterns found in other Japanese forms like haiku, tanka, and senryu.
The imayo was originally written to be sung, but that’s not a requirement. Also, poets have free range on subject matter.