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

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Poem with an explanation: The rain fell

The rain fell –

the farmer celebrated,

the builder complained.

 

This poem is about how people respond to social issue news.

The news sometimes has stories about social issues.  It might be a law being passed, a change in public opinion, a change in industry practices, a survey, or something else.  The news presents some change in a social issue.

Upon hearing the news, people have different reactions.  People who support the change celebrate.  People who oppose the change complain.

The idiosyncrasy of the situation, is that although the reactions are different, the news is the same.  People hear exactly the same thing, but they have different responses to it.

This idea is portrayed in the poem.  In the poem it started to rain.  A farmer, who needs the rain for their crops, celebrates this occurrence.  The builder, who has to stop work because of the rain, complains.  Both people experience exactly the same thing, but they perceive it, are impacted by it, and respond to it in opposite ways.

The idea that people can see the same thing, but have different responses, can be a strange thing to an outside observer.  It seems inconsistent.  The poem highlights this idea.

Poem with an explanation: For the heart, for the mind

The glossy,
there on the carpet of red,
but in the pond,
something different.

Falling down,
with the glance,
and seeing looks,
that aren’t there.

In the fun house,
it isn’t so.

“The white coats,
might be the answer,”
so the voice,
does quietly say.

Hearing the sound,
of the eyes,
there’s nothing like a statue,
to be seen.

But a voice,
from so nearby,
says to see,
what’s really there.

It breaks the glass,
and blows the fog,
and shines a light,
on what is clear.

For the heart,
for the mind,
but for the world,
no more.

Steps and green,
steps and green,
a different white coat,
and different words.

For the heart,
for the mind,
for the one,
who’s beautiful.

 

This poem is about a woman struggling with her weight and body image.

In the first stanza of the poem, the woman compares images she sees to her own.  She sees beautiful women in magazines (The glossy) and she sees beautiful celebrities (there on the carpet of red), but in the mirror (but in the pond) she sees herself as looking different because of her weight (something different).

In the second stanza, the woman’s self-esteem falls as she looks in the mirror (Falling down, with the glance).  She has this feeling that people are looking at her physical flaws (and seeing looks) even though they aren’t (that aren’t there).

In the third stanza, the woman’s view of herself is distorted like the image in a fun house’s mirror.  She sees herself as looking worse than she really does (In the fun house, it isn’t so).

In the fourth stanza, the woman considers having weight reduction surgery (“The white coats, might be the answer,” so the voice, does quietly say. – the white coats representing doctors in lab coats).

In the fifth stanza, the woman feels that she is being judged by the looks of others (Hearing the sound, of the eyes).  She sees an image of perfection in her mind, like a Renaissance era statue, and sees herself as falling short of this ideal (there’s nothing like a statue, to be seen).

In the sixth stanza, something makes the woman reconsider her thoughts.  Somewhere in her life she has heard that value isn’t based on looks (But a voice, from so nearby, says to see, what’s really there).

In the seventh stanza, the woman considers this idea of self-worth.  The more she considers it, the more her view of herself changes.  She stops looking in the mirror (It breaks the glass) and she sees things more clearly (and blows the fog).  The more she considers it, the more she sees where her value really is (and shines a light, on what is clear).

In the eighth stanza, the woman sees her weight loss differently.  She feels that it is important for her health (For the heart), and for her wellbeing (for the mind), but realizes that she isn’t going to do it to satisfy what she believes society is telling her about weight (but for the world, no more.).

In the ninth stanza, the woman exercises and changes her diet (Steps and green).  She also sees a doctor (a different white coat), but for advice on improving her health and not for surgery to improve her looks (and different words.).

In the tenth stanza, the woman loses weight for her health (For the heart) and wellbeing (for the mind), and for herself (for the one), who she now realizes is beautiful (who’s beautiful.).

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please take a look at Understanding: poems with explanations.

Poem with an explanation: They all said the same

They all said the same,
“Stand bright and tall,
and as you do,
the birds will call.”

So hearing the words,
the squirrel did try,
it flapped its arms,
and tried to fly.

And looking to,
the trees so tall,
the squirrel did listen,
for the sparrows’ call.

But songs of joy,
it did not hear,
it was something else,
much like a jeer.

The sparrows sang out,
but the squirrel they did mock,
and there the squirrel stood,
so filled with shock.

The sparrows did laugh,
and jokes they did tell,
they poked at the squirrel,
and its countenance fell.

They said it was silly,
why did it try,
it was a squirrel,
and would never fly.

And the squirrel ran off,
and hid in the trees,
it started to cry,
and fell to its knees.

It then look at those,
who all said the same,
and asked them why,
but did not blame.

And they all stood,
with no words to say,
they thought they were right,
before that day.

And in the quiet,
the squirrel had a thought,
it would not try,
no matter what they taught.

 

This poem takes a look at a potential negative outcome that can come from well-meaning social advice.

In society, there is the well-meaning social advice that a person should put themselves out there.  That if a person wants to do something different, that they should and that their peers will support them.  This poem looks at a situation in which the positive outcome purported by the advice, does not come true.

In the poem, a squirrel wants to try to fly.  It encounters other animals in the first stanza that tell it, it should try this.  They say that if it does, that the birds who see, will support it.

In the second stanza, the squirrel goes into a clearing in the trees, stands in the middle, and tries to fly.

In the third stanza, the squirrel looks to the trees expecting to hear the birds cheer for it.

In the fourth stanza, the squirrel hears the birds, but instead of cheering the squirrel, they are making fun of it.

In the fifth stanza, the sparrows mock the squirrel’s attempt at flight and the squirrel is surprised by this.

In the sixth stanza, the sparrows laugh at the squirrel, tell jokes at its expense and poke fun at it.  This saddens the squirrel.

In the seventh stanza, the sparrows say the squirrel was silly, and that it would never fly.

In the eighth stanza, the squirrel is very embarrassed and sad.  It runs away, hides, and cries.

In the ninth stanza, the squirrel encounters the animals who gave it the advice.  It asks them why this happened, but does not blame them.

In the tenth stanza, the other animals are speechless.  They thought their advice was good; they thought it was well meaning.

In the eleventh stanza, the squirrel decides that it will no longer put itself out there in social situations.

The idea of this poem is to take a look at what sometimes can be a harsh reality.  Sometimes, when a person does something different, instead of encountering praise from their peers, they encounter ridicule.

Of course the ridicule is wrong, and the poem does not mean to imply that a person should not ever put themselves out there and do something different.  It rather, examines a situation, where this does not work out.  It examines a situation in which the positive view of the advice, does not match the negative reality that was encountered.

An example situation in life might be a person who wants to sew their own sweater.  They talk to some people about this who say it is a great idea and that their friends will support what they do.  The person takes the advice and sews the sweater.  When they wear it in front of their friends though, instead of their friends applauding what they did, they make fun of it.  They make fun of the appearance of the sweater, of the mistakes made in sewing it, and of the person making their own clothes.  The idealized outcome of the advice, did not match the reality the person encountered.

A photograph to inspire poetry: two light purple and white flowers

two light purple and white flowers

Above is a photograph of two light purple and white flowers.  It can inspire poetry.  A poet could write about:

  • Pairs. These flowers form a pair and a poet could be inspired to write about other kinds of pairs.
  •  

  • Cooperation and competition. Depending on perspective, these two flowers could be seen as cooperating with each other or competing against each other.  They could be cooperating, in that because there is more color in the area than if there was only one flower, they are more likely to attract pollinators.  They could be competing in that they are competing for pollinators.  A poet could write about either of these ideas or a situation where both exist.
  •  

  • Not talking. The two flowers are not facing each other.  This could remind a poet of two people who are not talking to each other.  A poet could write a poem about this.

Below is a poem inspired by this photograph.  It uses the experimental poetry form four by four.

After bee told one,
what butterfly had said,
the other had said,
neither spoke a word.

Poem with an explanation: the bird and the berry tree

The flock of birds,
did land in the tree,
and all were chirping,
and dancing about.

The berries were red,
and bright and shined,
and all the birds,
did eat past full.

They stumbled about,
and fell from the tree,
and flew in wide circles,
and into the limbs.

As the morning did dawn,
the birds did sleep,
and some did stagger,
from all the berries.

And they did wait,
for night to fall,
and the berries to shine,
in the light of the moon.

And there was a bird,
who ate the bright berries,
and danced on the tree,
and waited for the moon.

It danced as it ate,
and flew about,
and chirped a loud song,
and was friend to all.

But there was a day,
as the sun did shine,
that the tree seemed dull,
in its bright light.

And the thought did grow,
with the passing nights,
and more and more,
the tree grew dark.

The bird did think,
of all there was,
that was so far,
from the berry tree.

And then for nights,
it came to the tree,
but did not dance,
and did not eat.

The other birds,
singing aloud,
looked at their friend,
and questioned its change.

The bird then spoke,
of the dull tree,
and all that was bright,
in the day’s sun.

But the other birds,
eating of berries,
did not understand,
what it had said.

Some asked questions,
some did debate,
many did push,
and try to change its ways.

But the bird did resolve,
to eat no berries,
but said it would,
still visit the tree.

The others though,
did shun the bird,
who did not eat,
or dance about.

They did speak ill,
and make loud jokes,
and taunt the bird,
who did not eat.

And in the sun,
with sorrowful eyes,
the bird did leave,
the berry tree.

And when all knew,
they did laugh loud,
and ate more berries,
and danced about.

And the bird flew,
far from the tree,
and over a mountain,
and to a glen.

The air was clear,
a river did flow,
there were seeds of grass,
and a bright sun.

And as it sat,
and felt the warmth,
it heard a sound,
it did not know.

There in the grass,
where it couldn’t see,
were other birds,
who sang each day.

They sang a song,
of sun and warmth,
that the one bird,
did not know.

And it sang back,
and found new friends,
who sang of sun,
in the warm glen.

And days did shine,
upon the bird,
who found a home,
in the tall grass.

 

This poem is about drinking.  In the poem there is a person who drinks with friends regularly at a bar.  One day, this person decides to stop drinking.  This causes the person’s friends to shun the person.  The person then stops going to the bar and finds new friends.

The idea of the poem is to show a situation where someone changes their behavior for the better, but it has negative consequences from their peers.  Although here, the idea was applied to drinking alcohol, the idea could be applied to many situations.  For example, think of a person who decides to become a vegetarian but who has friends who eat lots of meat.  Those friends might question the person, debate with person, poke at the person and at some point stop being friends with the person because the person changed their ways and became different from them.

The poem is made of stanzas that have four lines each.

In the first stanza, the person and their friends arrive at the bar.  The group is described as The flock of birds.  The bar is described as a tree.  Everyone is happy and having a good time (all were chirping and dancing about).

In the second stanza, the alcohol they drink is described as berries that were red.  The drinks are enticing – they were bright and shined.  All the people at the bar (all the birds) drank excessively (did eat past full).

In the third stanza, the alcohol affects the group.  It affects their coordination and behavior.  They are described as stumbling, falling, flying in wide circles, and flying into limbs.

In the fourth stanza, it is the morning (as the morning did dawn) and the birds are hungover.  They sleep and some stagger from the alcohol (from all the berries).

In the fifth stanza, despite their hangovers, the people are waiting for night (And they did wait, for night to fall) so they can drink again (the berries to shine).

The sixth stanza introduces the main person (And there was a bird).  This person was like their friends and drank (ate the bright berries), partied (danced on the tree), and waited for each night (and waited for the moon).

In the seventh stanza, this person is shown as the life of the party.  They danced and drank (ate).  They partied (flew about) and were full of excitement (and chirped a loud song).  Everyone liked them (and was friend to all).

But one day (But there was a day), shown in the eighth stanza, during the day (as the sun did shine) that for some reason, looking at the bar in the daylight (in its bright light), it didn’t seem like such a fun place to the person (the tree seemed dull).

In the ninth stanza, the person thinks about this (And the thought did grow) as it went to the bar each night (with the passing nights).  As the person started to really see what the bar was like it seemed less and less like a place they wanted to be (the tree grew dark).

In the tenth stanza, the person starts to think (The bird did think) of all they were missing by going to bar (of all there was, that was so far, from the berry tree).

In the eleventh stanza, the person still goes to the bar (And then for nights, it came to tree), but they don’t dance (but did not dance) and they don’t drink (and did not eat).

In the twelfth stanza, the person’s peers (The other birds), who are having a great time at the bar (singing aloud) wonder what might be wrong with their friend (looked at their friend, and questioned its change).

In the thirteenth stanza, the person explains the change that they feel (The bird then spoke).  They talk about how the bar doesn’t seem so good to them (of the dull tree) and of all there was besides the bar (and all that was bright, in the day’s sun).

In the fourteenth stanza, all the person’s drinking peers (But the other birds, eating of berries) didn’t understand what the person was talking about (did not understand, what it had said).

In the fifteenth stanza, some ask questions (Some asked questions), some debated (some did debate) and many tried to change the person (many did push, and try to change its ways).

In the sixteenth stanza, the person does not give to the arguments (But the bird did resolve), and decided that they would no longer drink (to eat no berries).  Despite this though, because of their friends, they say that will still come to the bar (but said it would, still visit the tree).

In the eighteenth stanza, the friends respond negatively to this (The others though, did shun the bird, who did not eat, or dance about).

In the nineteenth stanza, they talk bad about the person (They did speak ill), make jokes about them (and make loud jokes), and taunt the person (and taunt the bird) because they did not drink (who did not eat).

Because of this, one day (And in the sun), as shown in the twentieth stanza, the person is sad (with sorrowful eyes) and they stop coming to the bar (the bird did leave, the berry tree).

In the twenty first stanza, when the other people learned this (And when all knew), they laughed (they did laugh loud), drank more (ate more berries) and continued their party (and danced about).

In the twenty second stanza, the person looks for new place to go (And the bird flew, far from the tree, and over a mountain, and to a glen).  They find a coffee shop to go to, described as a glen.

At the coffee shop, in the twenty third stanza, things are different than the bar (The air was clear, a river did flow).  There were non-alcoholic drinks (there were seeds of grass) and everything seemed brighter in the daylight (and a bright sun).

In the twenty fourth stanza, the person sits outside at the coffee shop (And as it sat, and felt the warmth).  While they are there, they hear people talking (it heard a sound, it did not know).

In the twenty fifth stanza, the person listens to other people talking (There in the grass, where it couldn’t see, were other birds, who sang each day).

In the twenty sixth stanza, the people at the coffee shop are talking about things different than what the person heard at the bar (They sang a song, of sun and warmth, that the one bird, did not know).

In the twenty seventh stanza, the person decides to talk to the people at the coffee shop (And it sang back), and they make new friends (and found new friends).

In the twenty eighth stanza, the person is happy (And days did shine, upon the bird, who found a home, in the tall grass).

 

P. S. This is the one hundredth “singular” poem with an explanation on this blog. It is the one hundredth poem with an explanation that isn’t in some way part of something else, such as a post series.

 

P. S. S. If you like poems with explanations, you might check out M. Sakran’s eBook Understanding: poems with explanations.

Poem with an explanation: hiding

At five,
before light,
packed up,
to the car,
moved some,
changed the shirt,
pack held,
bathroom time,
one check,
diligence.

 

This poem is about a homeless man.  He was evicted from his apartment, but can’t afford to move somewhere else.  He has a job, and finds a way to live at work.  He goes to efforts to hide this from his coworkers.

The poem starts, At five.  The man wakes up at five a.m. from where he sleeps in the warehouse that he works in.  He has made a space for himself in one of shelving areas.  He wakes up this early because no one will be at work.

The next line, before light, goes with the first, and implies that he does things in darkness to avoid being seen.

The third line, packed up, describes the man packing up his sleeping items from where he was in the warehouse.

In the fourth line, to the car, the man takes these items and hides them in his car.

He then moves his car (moves some), so that his coworkers won’t see his car always in the same spot.  The idea is for them to think that he goes and comes to work.

After the man moves his car, he changes his shirt (changed the shirt).  Because he works in a warehouse, and wears blue jeans and work boots to work, he doesn’t have to change the rest of his clothes.

He then takes a pack of toiletries (pack held), and goes to the bathroom (bathroom time) to shave and wash and make himself look clean.

He lastly checks how he looks before he leaves (one check).

The poem ends by implying that the man was successful in hiding his homelessness.  The word diligence describes the diligence of his behavior but also describes how he is seen by his superiors at work.  They notice that he is the first to arrive each morning and the last to leave.  They see him as a good employee.

The idea of the poem is to describe how the man thinks others will view his homelessness.  He feels that it would be detrimental if his coworkers or superiors found out.  He is worried about the social consequences as well as if he would lose his job.  He believes that his situation is temporary, in that he will be able to save money while he lives rent-free at work and that he will be able to rent an apartment soon.  He also feels that how he lives is the best solution to his temporary problem.  He feels that hiding his temporary situation will be the best thing for him.

The idea of the poem is to have the social view of homelessness in the background of the man’s actions.

In terms of form, this poem uses the experimental poetry form: two and three from this blog.  The short lines had an effect on the presentation of the ideas.

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please consider showing your support by purchasing a copy of Understanding: poems with explanations. It is available for a price of $0.99 (plus applicable tax if any). It would be a small thing you could do to show you like this type of work.