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Friday, July 1, 2016

How to write an aahcoo

In the last post, we discussed “Micropoetry and Minipoems,” which led me to look for short forms devoted to devotional poetry. I thought maybe the senyru would do, but the more I studied that syllabic verse form, the more I realized it has its own niche as does haiku. To explain:

. Both haiku and senyru involve three lines with 5/7/5 syllables respectively. That’s assuming, of course, you want to adhere to the traditional haiku form. Both also work well with humor or surprise.

. However, haiku focuses on a seasonal look at nature, and senyru focuses on human nature, typically with a touch of irony.

Since I often see minipoems by members of Christian Poets & Writers on Facebook, I knew that many poets have begun to use the standard haiku structure to focus on God or an inspired look at our spiritual nature. Consequently, it seemed to me that we needed a more pliable syllabic verse or unique short poem form to let readers know what to expect, and so the aahcoo was born.

As explained in my post “What’s New? Aahcoo” the name came from the familiar sound of awe and wonder – aah, whereas the coo came from the sound of a dove, often used to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Put them together, and you have aahcoo, which sounds similar to haiku but never, never the sneeze of achoo!

. Aah + coo = aahcoo, a God-centered poem of a spiritual nature

Writing an aahcoo is simple but has options:

1. You can write an aahcoo with a 5/7/5 syllabic count on three lines, respectively, so aahcoo looks like haiku.

For example:

Wind and water shape
the magnificent mountains.
Air and spirit rise!

by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016


2. You can write a praise poem, mini-devotional, psalm, prayer, or spiritual insight in three to seven syllables on three to seven lines.

Why those numbers for a minimum to maximum count? Lord willing, they'll be easy to recall!

Three reminds us of the Trinity.

Seven symbolizes the weekly Sabbath Rest God wants us to have as a minimum.

To give you an example of the longer possibilities to experiment with as you write or revise, this aahcoo maxes out the number of syllables and lines with an optional touch of humor:

Who reads instructions
before priming old walls
to paint or paper? Who reads
rules before assembling
something new? Thank You,
Lord, for giving us Your Word
on living beyond the pew.

by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2016

If you look over the micropoetry you have written, you might find you were already writing aahcoo instead of haiku as supposed, or perhaps you’ve been writing minipoems that could easily fit the flexible aahcoo form with a little tweaking of the number of syllables.

Regardless, when you post an aahcoo on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog, be sure to add a hashtag, and your #aahcoo will appear in an Internet search of this new, tailor-made-for-you form.


  1. I'm not sure about this so I'm posting it here for now:


    Wish I was a star
    Lighting up the moonlit night
    Beaming down from afar
    O what a wonderful sight

  2. Thanks for reading and playing with the aahcoo form. The syllabic count of your minipoem works well, but the content needs a reference to God or your faith in Him.