Experimental Poetry Form: Twenty words

This experimental poetry form is called twenty words.  As the name implies, it has twenty words.  In addition to that, there are other form requirements.  Those requirements pertain to number of stanzas, lines per stanza, line indentions, line breaks and rhyming.  The idea was to add to the simple notion of a twenty word poem.

The structure is as follows:

A three word line
A two word line
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word, indented two spaces
A line break
A two word line
A three word line
A line break
A three word line, indented four spaces
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word, indented two spaces
A two word line
A line break
A two word line, indented four spaces
A line break
A one word line, that is a rhyming word.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

The clock ticks
seconds pass


Each moment
moves ever onward.

    Birds fly away

time passes

    onward never



A photograph to inspire poetry: unopened pomegranate blossoms

unopened pomegranate blossoms

Above is a photograph of unopened pomegranate blossoms.  It can inspire poetry.  Here is a poem inspired by it:


A sound,
a word,
a song.

A day,
a month,
a year.

Poetry essay: How much time should be spent writing a poem?

A question that can come up for a poet is, “How much time should be spent writing a poem?”

You may have heard poets say that they spent months on a poem.  You may have heard some say that they wrote something in five minutes.  You may have heard everything in between.

As a writer, you may have had experience with this yourself.  Maybe you write some poems that take a few minutes each and you write other poems that still don’t feel right after thinking about them for hours.

A question that may come up then is, how long should you be spending writing a single poem?

Unfortunately, like most questions, there isn’t one answer.  It’s not like someone could tell you that you should spend 15 minutes.  It depends on the situation.

In some cases, you may want to spend very little time on a poem.

For example, there is the idea, that if something isn’t flowing, that you should stop and change to something else.  If you are writing a poem, and twenty minutes later, it still isn’t working, you might think about stopping it and writing something else.

As another example, you might be submitting poems to magazines.  Given the reality of the situation, you may have to write and send a lot of poems to get a few published.  Because of this, efficiency might be of value.  If you find that you have to write and submit 100 poems to get 10 published, you might find that you can’t spend too much time on those 100 poems.

As another example, maybe you write many poems that are about light or impersonal subjects.  You might find that they are fine written in a just a few minutes each.  You might not see too much value in spending too much time on them.

As you think about how much time to spend on a poem, it is important to remember that quality and time spent aren’t always directly related.  Something that took two hours to write isn’t necessarily going to be better than something that took two minutes to write.

In other cases, you might want to spend more time on a poem.

Somethings a poet writes about are very personal.  If something is extremely important, you might want to spend more time on it to make sure it is right and says what you want to say.

In another example, imagine something you write is going to be public, very lasting or in some sense singular.  Imagine you are getting to have a poem posted in a public space and it will be there for a long time.  Or imagine you get to have just one poem in an anthology.  In these cases, you might want to spend more time on what you write.  It might not mean you spend all that time writing one poem.  You may write many or you may spend a lot of time thinking about or revisiting a poem.  Given the weight of what you are doing though, you might feel it is important to give what you are doing the proper time.

When deciding how much time to spend on a poem you should take different things into account and make a decision that fits the situation.  Sometimes you’ll decide that five minutes is enough, other times you feel that five hours isn’t.  It all depends on the situation.

Poem with an explanation: Don’t look, just listen, time will pass

Don’t look at the sand,
don’t look at the stone,
don’t look at the fire.

Just listen to bells,
just listen to flutes,
just listen to melodies.

Time will pass,
as eyes are closed.


This poem is about walking on a treadmill.  The idea of the poem is about not doing things and doing things to help the time go by faster.

The first stanza, has three don’ts.  It says not to look at the sand, the stone and the fire.  On the treadmill, there is a display.  It shows the time, distance and calories burned.  The idea is that if a person looks at these things as they try to reach some goal, that the time will feel slower.  Focusing on the numbers as they change has the psychological effect of making them seem to move slower.  The first stanza says not to look at them.  The sand, is symbolic of sand in an hour glass, which is representative of time.  Stone is symbolic of a road which represents distance.  Fire refers to burning which represents the calories burned.

The first stanza said what not to do.  The second stanza says what to do.  It is saying to listen to music as a form of distraction.  The first stanza was more symbolic than the second.

The last stanza describes the effect of the actions of the first two stanzas.  It is basically saying that by not looking at the display, and listening to music instead, that a person will be distracted, and their mind may wander.  When the person’s mind wanders, they may not see in a sense.  This can happen when a person daydreams.  The end effect is that the time exercising feels faster.

This poem is written as three stanzas and three sentences.  The first two stanzas are filled with repetition.  The first one repeats “Don’t look at the” and the second one repeats “Just listen to”.


Do you like poems with explanations?  Do you like to support writers whose work you enjoy?

M. Sakran has a self-published book of poems with explanations. It is called Understanding: poems with explanations and is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. If you like poems with explanations and like to support writers whose work you enjoy, then consider purchasing a copy today.

Artwork to inspire poetry: five minute tree

five minute tree

This is an artwork to inspire poetry.  It called five minute tree.  This tree was made using computer software.  Before the tree was started, a timer was set for five minutes.  The actual artwork itself was only worked on for the duration of the timer (the program was opened before the timer, and the artwork was saved and then used for this post after the timer).

The idea here was to have an arbitrary restriction on art and see the result.  In this case, the restriction was time.  Some things came from this restriction:

  • The tree has no leaves.
  • There are some areas of the tree, like very thick branches, that would have been changed if given the time.
  • The top of the tree is not shown.
  • There is no background around the tree.
  • The tree has few details.
  • There are only two shades of brown in the tree.
  • There are no extras, like birds’ nests, in the tree.

The fact that time was restricted, led to a different artwork than if it wasn’t.  This same idea could be applied to poetry.  A poet could set a time limit (or other restriction) on the creation of a poem and see what the result is.  Like using a form for a poem, having restrictions can change the outcome.

In addition to the restriction used to create this artwork, it can also inspire poetry by itself.  Poets could write about a tree with no leaves, for example.  They could, for example, compare the idea of a tree with no leaves in winter, with the idea of a tree with no leaves in summer.  In the first case, there is a sense of hope, in the second, there might not be.

Poem Series: Experimental Poetry Forms: Seven lines, random syllable counts, and a rhyming pattern: Flowers

Flowers that were planted some place in the past,
put there for a time thought not to last,
and yet one day before the even time,
from the dark they came up fast,
and though there was no memory they still did climb,
silently like a mime,
right through forgetfulness that was cast.


(29/40) Experimental Poetry Form: Seven lines, random syllables counts, and a rhyming pattern