Experimental Poetry Form: here’s a tip

This experimental poetry form is based off of the poem: here’s a tip.  The idea was to start with a form that was written naturally, and modify it to have more form elements.

The original poem had five lines.  The first four lines were separated with one blank line between each of them and the fifth line had two blank lines between it and the fourth line.  The lines had the following syllable counts: six, ten, nine, three, and four.  There was no rhyming.  There was no meter.

To modify the original form, the basic structure was kept: four lines with a blank line between each of them and a fifth line with two blank lines setting it apart.  It looks as follows





Secondly, the syllable count was modified to have more of a pattern.  The original counts were: 6, 10, 9, 3, and 4.  This was modified to: 6, 10, 10, 4, and 4.

Third, rhyme was added.  The two ten syllable lines rhyme and the two four syllable lines rhyme.

Fourth, iambic meter was added to the lines.

The end result is a form that looks as follows:


*/*/*/*/*/  A

*/*/*/*/*/  A

*/*/*/*/  B
*/*/*/*/  B

The *s represent short syllables, the /s represent long syllables, and the letters show the rhyming pairs.

The idea of this form is to see how a naturally written form can be transformed into a more structured form and what that results in.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

to see the dial turn

and mark the weight of all the days before

when all did see but then did little more

the eyes do close
from weight of woes

Poetry topic idea: crying

Today’s poetry topic idea is crying.  The idea of crying can be worked into poetry in many different ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Crying from sadness. This is the most obvious idea.  A poet could examine any number of sad situations and the crying that happens with them.

  • Crying from happiness. This is somewhat of the opposite of the idea above.  A poet could examine the idea of overwhelming emotion.

  • Crying from pain. The idea here would be to examine crying that has a physical cause as opposed to an emotional one.

  • Crying from laughter. Sometimes people laugh so hard they cry.  This idea could be examined.

  • Crying from fear. Sometimes people cry when they are scared of something.  A poet could examine this idea.

  • Crying from something in the eyes. The idea would be to examine the idea of tears flowing without emotion or necessarily pain (but maybe discomfort).

  • Someone else crying. The above ideas might be applied to the poet.  A poet might think of themselves crying from one of the causes.  With this idea, a poet would write about observing someone else crying.  They could look at the emotion felt seeing someone else experience emotion, pain, or discomfort.

Here is a poem using the idea of crying:


after the doctor spoke

Poem: Roller Coaster

Although they were polite,
they said he could not ride,
the roller coaster,
because the bar,
would not fit on him.

He had to walk,
the entire line back,
as he tried to look,
like nothing was wrong.

He sat at home that night,
and didn’t know what to say.

The next morning,
after he tied his laces,
and started to walk,
he knew next year,
he would ride the ride.

Poem with an explanation: Happiness again

Behind the bars,
looking out,
listening for a sound.

  Behind the bars,
  looking in,
  sitting in the silence.

The door opens,
eyes look up,
with hope.

  The door opens,
  eyes look down,
  in the emptiness.

Waiting each day,
seeing joy,
waiting for the turn.

  Waiting each day,
  seeing sadness,
  with nothing to wait for.

    Having a thought.


    Having a thought.


    Time passes.


    Taking a step.


Behind the bars,
looking out,
seeing the face.

  In front of the bars,
  looking in,
  seeing the face.

Happiness again.


This poem is about a person and a dog.  The person recently had their dog die and the dog in the poem is in an animal shelter.

The poem has stanzas with alternating focus for the most part (although how that is applied changes in the poem).  For the first six stanzas, the odd stanzas are from the perspective of the dog and the even stanzas are from the perspective of the person.

In the first stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, listening for a sound), the dog is in a cage at the shelter.  It is looking outside the cage bars hoping someone will come for it.

In the second stanza (Behind the bars, looking in, sitting in the silence), the person is alone at home.  Their dog has died and they are sad.  Their house feels like a prison (Behind the bars) and they are feeling loneliness.

In the third stanza (The door opens, eyes look up, with hope), the dog hears someone come into the shelter.  They look up hoping the person will pick them.

In the fourth stanza (The door opens, eyes look down, in the emptiness), the person opens the door to a room where their dog was.  The look down because they are sad because they are sad their dog is no longer there.

In the fifth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing joy, waiting for the turn), the dog in the shelter waits for someone to get it.  It sees the happiness of other dogs that are picked and it waits for its turn.

In the sixth stanza (Waiting each day, seeing sadness, with nothing to wait for), the person waits to feel better, but they are sad, and they feel like they have nothing to wait for because their dog is gone.

The first six stanzas follow a pattern.  They are grouped as pairs.  In each pair (stanzas 1 and 2, stanzas 3 and 4, and stanzas 5 and 6), the first line is the same and the second lines start with the same word and then have an opposite word (out/in, up/down, joy/sadness).  All the stanzas are three lines.

Stanzas seven through fourteen are the next set of stanzas.  In this set, the person’s perspective is shown in the odd stanzas, and the dog’s perspective is shown in the even.

In stanza seven, the person has the first thought of getting another dog.  In the eighth stanza, the dog waits.  In the ninth stanza, the person thinks of this more.  In the tenth stanza, the dog waits.  In the eleventh stanza, time passes.  In the twelfth stanza, the dog waits.  In the thirteenth stanza, the person goes to the shelter.  In the fourteenth stanza, the dog waits.

In stanzas seven through fourteen, the stanzas for the dog are all the same.

The next set of stanzas are stanzas fifteen and sixteen.

Stanza fifteen parallels stanza one, and has the same first two lines.  In this stanza (Behind the bars, looking out, seeing the face), the dog sees the person who has come to get it.

In the sixteenth stanza (In front of the bars, looking in, seeing the face), the person stands and sees the dog.  This stanza has the same second line as stanza two.

The last stanza is a combination of perspectives.  It shows the dog and person are happy again.

Poetry topic idea: rings

Today’s poetry topic idea is rings.

There are different ways to use the word rings.

Rings could refer to jewelry.  An example would be wedding rings.

Rings could also refer to places of competition, like a boxing or a wrestling ring.

Rings can also be a verb regarding sound.  For example, in the sentence, “He rings a bell.”

Rings can also be a verb meaning to encircle.  For example, a person could draw rings around objects.

A poet could incorporate these different ideas into poetry.

Here is an example poem using rings:

the phone rings,
and with the bad news,
sadness rings the listener

Poem with an explanation: among the sands

The stars,
did not align,
as forests grew,
and cardinals cried,
among blue jays.

the camels wandered,
among the sands,
as blind men spoke,
of what they could,
no longer see.

The flock of birds,
among the trees,
saw in the sand,
haphazard paths,
but none did call,
with words or songs.

Mirages shimmered,
in the sun,
during the night,
that would not end.

The camels wandered,
among the sands,
and over the hills,
they disappeared.


This poem is about a man experiencing sadness after the death of his young daughter.  His daughter died, some weeks before, and the man is struggling with everything.

In his sorrow, the man has lost track of time (The stars, did not align), he has stopped shaving (as forests grew), and often his clothes don’t match (and cardinals cried, among blue jays).

The man symbolically, and at times literally, stumbles as he moves forward in his life (Aimlessly, the camels wandered, among the sands).  He keeps thinking of his daughter and can see her in his thoughts (as blind men spoke, of what they could, no longer see).

People who know the man (The flock of birds, among the trees), see his condition (saw in the sand, haphazard paths), but they don’t have the words to say to him (but none did call, with words or songs).

The man keeps thinking of his daughter, but her image in his mind is blurry (Mirages shimmered, in the sun) as it is overwhelmed with his sadness (during the night, that would not end).

The man aimlessly moves on with his life (The camels wandered, among the sands) and the condition he is in, seems unending (and over the hills, they disappeared).

Shadow Commemoration Day Eighteen

So far in this commemoration, there have been a blending of tones.  Some of the posts have had a sad tone and some have been a little brighter.  In some ways, it has been a balance.  When thinking of Shadow, there is a mixture of sadness that he is gone, and happiness at the dog he was.

In terms of poetry, as posts on this blog generally relate to, this idea of balancing emotions can be applied to writing poems.

There are many instances in life where emotions are blended, the death of a pet like Shadow being a very good example.  These moments are sad, but at times, when thinking back, there can be moments of happiness.  Other instances in life have a different blend of emotions.  This general idea of blending emotions can be applied to poetry.

Here is a poem about Shadow.  It blends the emotions of sadness and happiness and also blends the forms of blank verse (for the sad part) and rhyming iambic tetrameter (for the happier part).

A shadow is upon an empty home,
where once a Shadow dwelt with joy and life,
at times when once his life it could be felt,
right now a shadow can’t be held at all.

Yet there in thoughts a light does shine,
when in the mind his joy is felt,
the shadow moves behind the line,
and in the heart the pain does melt.