Experimental Poetry Form: apples and oranges

Today’s experimental poetry form is called apples and oranges.  The idea is to play off of the expressions of comparing apples and oranges.

The form has two stanzas: the apples stanza and the oranges stanza.  The stanzas are different from each other to illustrate the idea of the differences in the fruit, and thereby illustrate the idea of the difference expressed in the saying.

The apples stanza is aligned to the left and the oranges stanza is aligned to the right.  They are on the same level horizontally.  This expresses the idea that the two things are on opposite sides of each other.

The apples stanza is written in red letters and the oranges stanza is written in orange letters.  This reflects the fruit.

The apples stanza has six lines and the oranges stanza has seven lines.  This is from the number of letters in the fruit names.

In the apples stanza, lines 2, 3, 4, and 6 rhyme.  These represent the consonants in the word apples.  In the oranges stanza, lines 1, 3, and 6 rhyme.  This represents the vowels in the word oranges.

Both stanzas are written in trochaic meter because both apple and orange are trochaic words.

The apples stanza has two metrical feet per line because apples has two syllables.  The oranges stanza has three metrical feet per line because oranges has three syllables.

Below is what the form looks like. The / represent stressed syllables, and the * represent unstressed syllables. The Rs mark the rhyming lines of each stanza. Each pair of /* represents a metrical foot.

/* /*                                                                                        /* /* /*R
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*R
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*
/* /*                                                                                        /* /* /*
/* /*R                                                                                      /* /* /*R
                                                                                                /* /* /*

Poem with an explanation: Apples from orange trees

She picked an apple,
from the orange tree,
and fed it to a wolf.

The wolf then went,
to find a deer,
and told it of lake.

The deer then went,
to find the lake,
and drank all of the sand.

And in the sand,
it saw acorns,
that fell from the pine trees.

It planted one,
in the water,
and stood beneath the moon.

And in the dark,
the tree grew orange,
with apples on its stems.

She picked an apple,
from the orange tree,
and fed it to a wolf.


This poem is surreal and a little like a fairy tale.  The general idea of the girl, with the animals that behave like people, is part of the fairy tale.  In each stanza, there is at least one element that is surreal.

In the first stanza, the girl picks an apple, from an orange tree.  This is surreal.  It is also a little play on words, because the tree is colored orange, rather than having oranges on it.  Then, she feeds the apple to a wolf.  This is surreal, because a wolf does not eat apples.

In the second stanza, the wolf goes, and finds a deer.  Rather that eating the deer or even telling it of the apple from the orange tree, it tells it of something that seems completely unrelated, a lake.  This is all surreal.

In the third stanza, the deer goes to lake, but rather than drinking the water from it, it drinks the sand around it.  This is surreal.

In the fourth stanza, the deer finds acorns in the sand.  This is surreal because acorns would normally be in a forest.  Additionally, these acorns, did not fall from oak trees, but instead pine trees.  This is also surreal.

In the fifth stanza, the deer plants an acorn, but not in the sand, but in the water.  This is surreal.  The deer is standing beneath the moon.  Up to this point, readers may have thought the poem was in daytime.  This adds to the fairy tale element of it.

In the sixth stanza, the tree from the acorn grew in the dark (as opposed to the light).  The tree also came out colored orange, with apples on its stems.  This, again, is all surreal.

The last stanza, is like the first, and brings circularity to the poem.  It also shows that what the wolf told the deer was actually related to its experience.

Post Series: Seven Apples: Stage Four

Seven Apples Acrylic

Above is the fourth stage of the artwork of the Seven Apples post series.  It is the last stage of the artwork.  It was made by painting over stage three of the artwork using acrylic paint.

Here is a poem inspired by the artwork:

Looking up:

Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus,
Mercury, Venus, Mars,

seen in the order,
as thought by the mind,
colors, shapes, and shadows,

a sense of patterns,
a sense of flow,
seeing the orbs,
in the distance


One inspiration that can come from the artwork is the idea of seven objects.  In the poem above, the seven objects chosen were the seven planets in the solar system that could be observed from Earth (under the assumption that Pluto isn’t a planet).  The idea was to blend the artwork of the apples with the idea of the planets.

This idea, of focusing on the seven objects in the artwork, could be used with other things as well.  One example would be the seven days of the week.  Alternatively, rather than focusing on something that was already seven in number, a poet could pick something and simply set the number of them to seven, such as selecting seven people.  The idea could be extended to many things.

This post is the last in the Seven Apples post series.  The four stages of the artwork can be seen on the Photographs and Artwork page of this blog.

Post Series: Seven Apples: Stage Three

Seven Apples Colored Pencil

Above is the third stage of the artwork of the Seven Apples post series.  This artwork was made by coloring over stage two of the artwork using colored pencils.

Here is a poem inspired by the artwork:

The colors return,
as the sky clears,
though not as before,
but still with some peace.

As the sky clears,
there isn’t joy,
but still with some peace,
the colors return.


One inspiration that can come from this artwork is how it flows from the first two.  The first artwork (stage one) had bright colors, the second artwork (stage two) was black and white, this artwork (stage three) has muted colors.  It is as if the colors flowed from bright, to black and white and then to muted.  The stage two poem referenced part of this flow.  It referenced gray clouds and colors fading away.  This poem builds from that, but goes in the opposite direction.  In this poem, the sky clears and the colors come back.  Although the colors come back, they are not as they were before.  They are changed in some way.

The type of flow in the artworks can inspire poetry as was done in the example above.  One way a poet might be inspired by the flow in the artworks, is to see the return of muted colors, and be inspired write about how a person is after they go through something difficult.  They could write that the person is, in some way, like they were before, but not quite.  They could use colors as a metaphor for how the person is.

A somewhat different inspiration from the idea of flow, that could come from this artwork, is the idea of covering.  In this artwork, the black and white drawing, was covered in colors.  A poet could see this and be inspired to write something related to it.  They could use the idea of covering in either a positive or a negative sense.  In a positive sense, they could use the idea and write about a person getting dressed up in fancy clothes.  In a negative sense, they could use the idea and write about a person acting or dressing a certain way, to cover how they feel.

Post Series: Seven Apples: Stage Two

Seven Apples Black and White

Above is the second stage of the artwork of the Seven Apples post series.  This artwork is a black and white pencil drawing of the photograph from stage one.  It was done on cotton canvas with a 4b pencil.

Here is a poem inspired by the artwork:

Gray clouds fill the sky,
bright fall colors fade away,
the breaths come slowly


This stage two of the artwork contrasts with stage one.  In stage one, the apples were bright and colorful.  In this stage, the apples are gray and muted.  As can be seen in the poem above, this contrast can inspire poetry.  In the poem above, the progression from bright colors to gray colors was transferred to the imagery of a cloudy sky and fall colors.  This imagery was then transferred to the idea of someone experiencing an illness progress.  The two were tied together symbolically.

A poet could see the stage two of the artwork and contrast it to stage one, and come up with different, yet similar ideas, to what was done in the poem above.  For example, a poet might be inspired to write about flowers fading, or a building deteriorating.  To take a different route, a poet might write about makeup being removed.  Another idea might be to view the stage two artwork as in some way representing what is fundamental about the stage one artwork.  A poet who thought this, might decide to write a poem about a person and describe them at their basic level.

Post Series: Seven Apples: Stage One

This is the first post of a four post series called Seven Apples.  The series is based around four stages of an artwork.  The artwork is based off of seven different kinds of apples in two rows.  The first stage is a photograph of the apples, the second stage is a black and white drawing of the photograph, the third stage is a colored pencil drawing done over the black and white drawing, and the fourth stage is an acrylic painting done over the colored pencil drawing.

Each of the posts in the series will consist of the artwork at one of the stages, a poem inspired by the artwork at that stage, and a note about how the artwork can inspire poetry.

Here is the first stage:

Seven Apples Stage One

Here is a poem inspired by the artwork at this stage:

the seven apples
are arranged by their sizes
some are green, some red,
tree blossoms from some time past,
dispersed without an order

As can be seen from the poem above, one inspiration from this artwork is the idea of order.  The apples in the photograph are ordered by size.  The idea of this order could inspire poetry about how that order compares to a more random situation, as was done in the poem above.

As a note, the idea for part of the artwork of this post series was actually written about in a previous post.  The post was called Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Hopping frog: Seven apples, and was from September 29th, 2015.

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Hopping frog: Seven apples

Seven kinds of apples,
four in a row, three in a row,
and in different colors

Three are mainly red hued,
two are mainly green in color,
and two are mixed in tone

The apples were set up,
because of an artistic thought,
to paint a nice picture


A photo was taken,
because the apples might go bad,
before the art was done


Hopefully when painted,
the art will be alright to see,
and it will be liked by some

The painting may start soon,
with acrylic paint on canvas,
and apples will be art

(40/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Hopping frog


Today’s poem is the last poem in this poem series.  The series has had forty poems, each one, using an experimental poetry form that has been on this blog.

Starting tomorrow, the more usual posts containing poems, experimental poetry forms, photographs to inspire poetry, artwork to inspire poetry, poetry topic ideas, poems with explanations and bilingual poems, will return, at least for a time.

Hopefully, this poem series has been enjoyed, and hopefully also, readers were encouraged to experiment with the forms.

P.S. Today on MSakran.com, there is a new set of photography, artwork, poetry and fiction.