“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” Rita Dove
It’s the tingle of words, the spark of creativity that births a ripen poem. Poetry is the choosing of influential words—a kiss of humor or a strike of drama. It’s Dom Pérignon in a brothel, an elegance to the tongue transformed from the raw.
When I’ve posted a poem or talked about poetry, several people have said that they shy away from it because they’re afraid of misinterpreting it. They’re not sure if they will understand the meaning. I believe that poetry doesn’t necessarily have a singular meaning for all. Poetry lets the reader think and interpret it the way they see the poem.
I received an email in my inbox yesterday, which goes well with my pre-poetry celebration. Of course, I am so jealous. If you live in Cambridge, Boston, you’re going to want to read this article about the Sidewalk Poetry Program. The City of Cambridge is replacing sidewalks damaged by the harsh winter, and plan to imprint residents’ poetry on the replacement slabs. How cool is that!
Since April is National Poetry Month, I’ll be writing about poetry and posting poems choosing forms from Shadow Poetry and Poets. Here are a couple of poems I wrote in April 2013 and 2014. Let’s embrace our poetic side.
April Fools (2013) - Tongue Twister
Poetry that ties your tongue when read out loud. It does not need rhyme.
April Fool’s is about cruel spools of
jokes about folks of different strokes.
Trap a chap into a flat full of bubble wrap.
Friends clap to see the chap collapse.
Tweet Pete for a treat to eat
down the street in the window seat
then be discreet and retreat so Pete
takes the heat for all the meat.
Buy twelve pies for dieting Di
and watch her weight grow times eight.
Her thighs, bigger than Shanghai,
with a butt the size of Kuwait.
Play and pay this day of cliché
for it displays dismay for the game
of prey that make friendships decay
because today you went astray.
Wear Tattoo (2013) - Acrostic Poem
The first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase, which is normally the title of the poem. I attempted a double acrostic that also ends each line with that letter.
Whether we’re somebody big or a shadow
Everyone has a right to express their creative side
Anywhere on their body—a picture of Madonna,
Resting near our heart, or words from an ancestor.
The whereabouts of your artistic placement
Adds to its emotional want—your own galleria.
Tobacco grey may be the color of choice, or a light
Teal to fill in parts of a full moonset.
Oblige imagination and make your body a fresco
Or a secret message of graffito.
Made in Heaven (2013) - Free Verse
In Memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School
It’s hard to believe
our tags show
‘Made in Heaven’
when we’re nowhere
near the same.
Me—a young child,
a life ahead,
fell and perished
by the hands of
Me—a class teacher
a bucket list
I should achieve,
murdered in cold
blood by hate.
loving my job
had it taken
by disturbed hate.
‘Made in Heaven’—I
do believe you
were not what HE
had in mind when
HE gave gifts.
Was the pain and hate
too great that you
made your mom a
Or did you kill her
so she wouldn’t
see shocking acts
that her son would
Is that the price the
rest of the world
pays for all the
ill, loners, bullied,
Your legacy in
life, a monster
in disguise, is
only what we’ll
Until someone else
feels the same way
as you, and sums
up the price of
It’s not my right to
judge or question
even though my
life was cut short
of its time.
For now, I will sleep
with the angels
and pray for the
world and loved ones
And hope that they know
safe—and wait since
we were all
‘Made in Heaven’.
Unabashed Lovers (2014) - Memento
Emily Romano created this form. It’s supposed to be about a holiday or anniversary, but I didn’t write about either one. The syllable count is 8,6,2 for each stanza, and the rhyme scheme is a/b/c/a/b/c.
Ignore the judgmental whispers
That pour faster than rain
Words that form on tongues like blisters
Creating endless pain
To listen is to give power
Losing a bit of you
Stomp out the negative flower
To continue your woo
Black Eyes (2014) - Nonet
A nine line poem that starts with nine syllables and ends with one syllable. The first line is nine syllables, the second line is eight syllables, etc. It can be about anything and rhyming is optional.
Black eyes and wounds were the easy part.
The killer was my sold guitar.
You knew just how to hurt me.
My strings with me longer
Than your dirty ass.
Now I am free
Cinque Terre (2014) - CinqTroisDecaLa Rhyme
Invented poetry form created by Laura Lamarca.
This is a 10-line stanza with each line having a 15-syllable count with a rhyme scheme of AABBCCCABC.
Visions of such natural beauty goes beyond expectations
Designs sublime, magical to see, sustained generations
Hearts and minds amazed by the miracles brought forth in décor
Scenic nature, copies fail, originals we adore
Mountains, curves, straight lines of color, a glorious obsession
History of aged rock, earth corrodes, water makes impression
Creative arts are hard at work to find the right expression
Control moved from family to nation with declarations
Notable moments of love and war, bloodshed upon its shore
Its splendor holds strong; exists in peace away from aggression
Travel to Create (2014) - Blitz Poem
Created by Robert Keim, this poem is of rapid flow and repetition. The first 48 lines are short, at least two words, and the lines run in pairs. Write the first two lines, and then the last word of line 2 becomes the first word of lines 3 and 4. This pattern continues through line 48. The last two lines repeat the last line of 48 and then line 47.
The title must be only three words with a preposition or conjunction. This conjunction must join the first word of the third line with the first word of the 47th line, which is the title of the poem. Okay, I wrote this quick today, so I hope the line patterns and numbers are fine.
Live a little
Live to travel
Travel over time
Travel to create
Create the abstract
Create the concrete
Ideas that transform
Ideas that move
Move your heart
Move to a new style
Style makes you unique
Style stands out
Out of your mind
Out of old molds
Molds that redefine
Molds in different setting
Setting up the canvas
Canvas of our life
Canvas to imagine
Imagine the beauty
Imagine the sin
Sin is all around
Sin can hide away
Away from the noise
Away with the memories
Memories of love
Memories of truth
Truth gives honor
Truth knows no color
Color a new world
Color the old world
World snapped in two
World beauty never ends
Ends to a means
Ends to the artist
Artist arrives home
Artist travels Rome
Rome, the coliseum
Rome around the land
Land triggers thoughts
Inspires the artist
Inspires to create
April and Poetry,