The luc bat is a Vietnamese form of poetry. It means simply ‘six eight’ due to its pattern of syllables per line: 6,8,6,8,6,8, etc. There is no set length to the luc bat, so it can be as long or as short as you’d like. But what really makes this form interesting is the rhyming structure, which sounds a little complicated but is easy to grasp in practice. The sixth syllable of every eight-syllable line rhymes with the last syllable of the six-syllable line before it, which in turn rhymes with the eighth syllable of the eight-syllable line before it. When the end of the poem is reached, the last line jumps back and rhymes with the first. In other words, the syllables go like this:

* * * * * a
* * * * * a * b
* * * * * b
* * * * * b * c
* * * * * c
* * * * * c * d
* * * * * d
* * * * * d * a

…although of course the poem can be as long as you wish. Remember that it is always the final line of the poem which ends in the ‘a’ rhyme, linking it back to the beginning.

Hopefully an example will help clear things up.



The grand untarnished sea –
How glorious for me and you
To wander as we do
Along its beach and through the tide!
How can I harbor pride
Now walking here beside the shore?
Can you, my love, ignore
The sigh, forevermore to dwell
Within our glassy shell?
The gleaming stars, which fell to earth –
What was their glory worth
Beside the gentle birth of life?
What need have we for strife?
The two of us, dear wife, are free!