Experimental Poetry Form: Underplay

Case: all words lower case
First line: one syllable
Second line: three syllables
Third line: two syllables
Rhyming: none
Meter of second line: unstressed – stressed – unstressed
Meter of third line: stressed – unstressed

This experimental poetry form is about subtlety of presentation.  The intent is for it to be used in the presentation of a topic with depth, but in a way that underplays that depth.  This underplaying is accomplished by having only lower case words, only three lines and only six syllables and by having no rhyming and ending each multi-syllable line with an unstressed sound.

As an example, here is a poem about being afraid:


in darkness

The point of the structure of this poem is to underplay the idea of being afraid.  There is so much more that could be said about the state of being afraid and it could be said with more strength of tone.  This poem’s structure is meant to intentionally underplay the emotion.  The intent is to have the reader feel that there is more there.  The poem briefly describes the state, but only briefly.  The elements of the form are meant to combine to underplay the idea being presented.


Poetry topic idea: Granite

Granite can be an interesting poetry topic idea because of the range of topics from the fundamental to the familiar.

In a fundamental sense, a poet could focus on the geology associated with granite.  Although what a poet could write would be influenced by the amount of knowledge in the subject area the poet has, even with little specific knowledge a poet could still write about things such as rocks, stones and mountains.  A poet could focus on ideas of geologic time or things like volcanoes.  A poet could use the formation of granite as a metaphor for other things.

In a place that is between the fundamental and the familiar, a poet could focus on granite’s attributes.  Granite could be looked at as having strength and resistance.  A poet could write about the time it has lasted and the conditions it has and can endure.  Alternatively, a poet could write about granite’s weakness under certain conditions.

In a familiar sense a poet could look at the uses of granite.  A poet could examine something mundane such as counter tops, or something with depth such as tomb stones.  In this sense, granite can be used metaphorically, and/or in terms of a setting.  For example, a poet could write about someone in a kitchen with a granite countertop and draw a simile between the person and the stone (ex. the person was as resilient as the countertop).  Or, a poet could write about someone at a funeral and draw a contrast between that person and a granite tomb stone (ex. the person did not have the strength of the stone).

Granite is an interesting poetry topic idea because of the range of ideas from fundamental subjects to more familiar subjects.  Starting with granite as a poetry topic idea can allow a poet to explore a variety of subjects.

A Poem: 6 Poems = 1 Poem: Breakfast

frying two large eggs,
in a small pan with butter,
while bacon crisps


the smell moves around,
of butter and smoked bacon,
filling all the house,
with a new scent of hunger,
which flows in wisps through all rooms


in back
the kettle heats,
on the warm metal stove,
it’s for the tea that’s in the pot,
that waits


the oven warms within its walls,
the bread that slowly heats,
it has a scent that fills the halls,
as each room the scent meets


the table is set with plates of white,
that are so clean and seem so bright,
and in a vase are yellow blooms,
that brighten all and dispel glooms,
and seem to fill the room with light

the plates have knives set to the right,
and on the left are forks in sight,
that napkins look like cloth made on looms,
the table is set

the table is set at the best height,
so all the chairs do not fit tight,
and in the house of all the rooms,
this one was most cleaned well with brooms,
so that the room would have no plight,
the table is set


the food is served upon the plates of white,
and has a scent that of itself tastes good,
it seems to be a very pleasant sight,
as it all seems just as it seems it should

the food is there with wisps that seem to rise,
up from the bacon, eggs, and bread and tea,
the breakfast there it seems as such a prize,
the best that there upon the plates could be

and the warm breakfast that is there that day,
it was prepared that morning after dawn,
with such great care and in a certain way,
before the cool of the new day was gone,

the breakfast was made early with such care,
and all the food it was a perfect fare.

Artwork to inspire poetry: 10 colors 10 seconds each

10 colors 10 seconds each

Above is a piece of artwork that can inspire poetry.  It is comprised of ten colors.  Each color was applied for ten seconds one at a time.  Here is an example of a poem inspired by the making of this artwork.

ten different colors,
applied overlapping,
after a few,
trepidation grew,
that each new color,
would cover the rest.


Please feel free to use this artwork to help inspire a poem.

Poem with an explanation: Three o’clock

At first the clock it does say three,
and then the eyes do look away,
and with hesitation they do look back,
and then away again.

The seconds pass as the Earth spins,
but for some time the zeros stay,
they seem to be so perfect and complete,
as they are there at three.

But time does go as eyes look on,
and though a hope may be inside,
the time does change as seconds go away,
and then it’s three o’ one.

Something is lost as time does change,
as what was right does go away,
and things do seem to be saddened right when,
the time does change from three.


The above poem is about the time change from three o’clock to three ’o one on a digital clock.  In some sense, it is a poem about loss.  It describes the sight of something that seems perfect and watches it as it fades.  It is almost like watching a petal fall from a flower.

The form of the poem is four stanzas of four lines each.  The meter is iambic.  Each first and second line has eight syllables, each third line has ten, and each fourth line has six.  There are some effects of this.  One effect is that the third lines can give more information and the fourth lines can have more impact.  Another effect is that the third lines somewhat break the meter.  The first line has eight syllables, the second line has eight, but then the third has ten.  This breaking of the meter is in some ways symbolic of the change in time: the two zeros seemed perfect, and then the one appeared.  The poem has no rhyming to increase the focus on the poem’s idea, increase the emphasis of the meter and to reflect the somewhat down tone of the poem.

The first stanza is meant to express trepidation.  Whoever is viewing the clock knows that the change will happen, but is weary of watching it happen.  The second stanza starts with the idea that the deterioration is happening, but then mentions the perfection of the time.  The third stanza finally brings the change.  The fourth stanza focuses on the feeling this brings.

Poem series: Rondeaux Four: Corn


The corn was cut and lay upon the ground,
it was spread out, not in a mound,
it was alright the day before,
but that in state, it was no more,
for it was cut and spread around.

During the night there was no sound,
nothing did seem to wake the hound,
but as he slept upon the floor,
the corn was cut.

Although the gate was closed and bound,
and on the land the fence went round,
beneath the ground something did bore,
or it did fly and through skies tore,
for it did come and cut what it found,
the corn was cut.