Liwuli : Upon discovering a mauled bird – by Ken Cumberlidge


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?



[Note: The South-East Asian three-stanza “Liwuli” form, obeys the following convention:
31 syllables over any number of lines, entirely in the imperative
14 syllables over 3 lines, freestyle
10 syllables over 2 lines, framed as a question or set of questions]


Birkenhead-born Ken Cumberlidge is based in Norwich, but can be lured out by decent beer and an open mic. Recent work can be found variously online (Algebra of Owls / Allegro / Ink Sweat & Tears / Message In A Bottle / The Open Mouse / Picaroon / Pulsar / Rat’s Ass Review / Strange Poetry / Snakeskin).

3 thoughts on “Liwuli : Upon discovering a mauled bird – by Ken Cumberlidge

  1. Hi Ken
    This really appealed to me – have motor neurone disease – content and form beautifully matched. Will try one myself.
    Best wishes
    Lynda in Holt


  2. Hi Lynda,
    Ta very much! Liwuli certainly is an absorbing form to get into. One of the nice things about it is that, unlike many other Asian poetry forms, you’re not restricted to any particular sybject matter, tone or approach. You can be serious, comic, ironic, angry, etc. – you can take it wherever you want it to go.


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