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I, with my childish hand, Tamed the gerfalcon; And, with my skates fast-bound, Skimmed ... Really knows how to draw. But his awful paintings. Have caused many ...

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the power of poetry

The Power of Poetry

Lux Middle School

8th Grade Poetry Unit

Sitting silently,

Doing nothing, Spring comes,

And the grass grows by itself.


  • Traditional Japanese Form
  • Composed of 17 syllables 5/7/5
  • Acts as a “snapshot”
  • Must include elements from nature.
Glint of dragonflies

Here and there, beside the reeds

Of the Red River.

-Phil Adams

On a withered bough

A crow alone is perching,

Autumn evening now.



papa has gone

his limelight, a green flash

     of tequila going down in

  Key West

-Cindy Tebo

  • American Form
  • Composed of 5 lines of 2/4/6/8/2 syllables or 1/2/3/4/1 words
  • Each line carries a different meaning:
          • Theme
          • Description of theme
          • Action of theme
          • Author’s feeling about the theme
          • Restate the theme


Feeling great

Fun with friends

Happiness is very desirable


-Logan Samuelson


dark rain and wind

seas on the port quarter

for three days we heave, roll and pitch

sea sick

-Darrell Byrd

Casey At The Bat

by Ernest L. Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day,

The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair.

The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.

They thought, "if only Casey could but get a whack at that.

We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat."


But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake;

and the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake.

So upon that stricken multitude, grim melancholy sat;

for there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all.

And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball.

And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,

there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;


it pounded through on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat; for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place, there was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, no stranger in the crowd could doubt t'was Casey at the bat. Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt. Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip. And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.


Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped -- "That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said. From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore."Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand, and it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.


With a smile of Christian charity, great Casey's visage shone, he stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on.He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew, but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!" "Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!" But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, and they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate. He pounds, with cruel violence, his bat upon the plate.


And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow. Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright. The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout, but there is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has struck out.

  • Traditional Form popular in both Europe and the Americas
  • Typically composed of rhyming couplets or quatrain verses
  • Easily set to music
  • Tells a story about a comedic or tragic figure.
from paradise lost
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice, 

To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell: 

Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. 

But wherefore let we then our faithful friends, 

Th' associates and co-partners of our loss, 

Lie thus astonished on th' oblivious pool, 

And call them not to share with us their part 

In this unhappy mansion, or once more 

With rallied arms to try what may be yet 

Regained in Heaven, or whatmore lostin Hell?"


From Paradise Lost
blank verse
Blank Verse
  • Composed of non-rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter
      • Iambic pentameter is a meter using ten syllables with a da-DA da-DA da-DA da-DA da-DA rhythm
  • Often featured in epic poems and elegies.
hamlet s soliloquy shakespeare
To be, or not to be--that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--

No more--and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--

To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There's the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

Hamlet’s Soliloquy-Shakespeare
From When Lilacs last in the Door-yard Bloom’d


WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,  

And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,  

I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.  

O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;  

Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,

And thought of him I love.  

O powerful, western, fallen star!  

O shades of night! O moody, tearful night!  

O great star disappear’d! O the black murk that hides the star!  

O cruel hands that hold me powerless! O helpless soul of me!

O harsh surrounding cloud, that will not free my soul!  

In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,  

Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,  

With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,  

With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,

With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,  

A sprig, with its flower, I break.

  • Began as Greek and Roman poem written in a specific meter
  • Dates back to 7th cent. B.C. in Greece.
  • Later taken up and developed in Roman poetry, it was widely used by Latin poets.
  • In English poetry the term elegy designates a reflective poem of lamentation or regret, with no set metrical form, generally of melancholy tone, often on death. The elegy can mourn one person or it can mourn humanity in general.
The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,

And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.

Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,

I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.


We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rats' feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed

With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom

Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost

Violent souls, but only

As the hollow men

The stuffed men.

The Hollow Men

-T.S. Eliot


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams

In death's dream kingdom

These do not appear:

There, the eyes are

Sunlight on a broken column

There, is a tree swinging

And voices are

In the wind's singing

More distant and more solemn

Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer

In death's dream kingdom

Let me also wear

Such deliberate disguises

Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves

In a field

Behaving as the wind behaves

No nearer --

Not that final meeting

In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land

This is cactus land

Here the stone images

Are raised, here they receive

The supplication of a dead man's hand

Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this

In death's other kingdom

Waking alone

At the hour when we are

Trembling with tenderness

Lips that would kiss

Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars

In this hollow valley

This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places

We grope together

And avoid speech

Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless

The eyes reappear

As the perpetual star

Multifoliate rose

Of death's twilight kingdom

The hope only

Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear

Prickly pear prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear

At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is

Life is

For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper

the skeleton in armor longfellow
The Skeleton in Armor-Longfellow

"SPEAK! speak! thou fearful guest!  

Who, with thy hollow breast  

Still in rude armor drest,  

  Comest to daunt me!  

Wrapt not in Eastern balms,

But with thy fleshless palms  

Stretched, as if asking alms,  

  Why dost thou haunt me?"  

Then, from those cavernous eyes  

Pale flashes seemed to rise,

As when the Northern skies  

  Gleam in December;  

And, like the water's flow  

Under December's snow,  

Came a dull voice of woe

  From the heart's chamber.  

"I was a Viking old!  

My deeds, though manifold,  

No Skald in song has told,  

  No Saga taught thee!

Take heed, that in thy verse  

Thou dost the tale rehearse,  

Else dread a dead man's curse;  

  For this I sought thee.  

"Far in the Northern Land,

By the wild Baltic's strand,  

I, with my childish hand,  

  Tamed the gerfalcon;  

And, with my skates fast-bound,  

Skimmed the half-frozen Sound,

That the poor whimpering hound  

  Trembled to walk on.  

"Oft to his frozen lair  

Tracked I the grisly bear,  

While from my path the hare

  Fled like a shadow;  

Oft through the forest dark  

Followed the were-wolf's bark,  

Until the soaring lark  

  Sang from the meadow.

"But when I older grew,  

Joining a corsair's crew,  

O'er the dark sea I flew  

  With the marauders.

Wild was the life we led;

Many the souls that sped,  

Many the hearts that bled,  

  By our stern orders.  

"Many a wassail-bout  

Wore the long Winter out;

Often our midnight shout  

  Set the cocks crowing,  

As we the Berserk's tale  

Measured in cups of ale,  

Draining the oaken pail,

  Filled to o'erflowing.  

"Once as I told in glee  

Tales of the stormy sea,  

Soft eyes did gaze on me,  

  Burning yet tender;

And as the white stars shine  

On the dark Norway pine,  

On that dark heart of mine  

  Fell their soft splendor.  

"I wooed the blue-eyed maid,

Yielding, yet half afraid,  

And in the forest's shade  

  Our vows were plighted.  

Under its loosened vest  

Fluttered her little breast,

Like birds within their nest  

  By the hawk frighted.


"Bright in her father's hall  

Shields gleamed upon the wall,  

Loud sang the minstrels all,

  Chanting his glory;  

When of old Hildebrand  

I asked his daughter's hand,  

Mute did the minstrels stand  

  To hear my story.

"While the brown ale he quaffed,  

Loud then the champion laughed,  

And as the wind-gusts waft  

  The sea-foam brightly,  

So the loud laugh of scorn,

Out of those lips unshorn,  

From the deep drinking-horn  

  Blew the foam lightly.  

"She was a Prince's child,  

I but a Viking wild,

And though she blushed and smiled,  

  I was discarded!  

Should not the dove so white  

Follow the sea-mew's flight,  

Why did they leave that night

  Her nest unguarded?  

"Scarce had I put to sea,  

Bearing the maid with me,  

Fairest of all was she  

  Among the Norsemen!

When on the white sea-strand,  

Waving his armèd hand,  

Saw we old Hildebrand,  

  With twenty horsemen.  

"Then launched they to the blast,

Bent like a reed each mast,  

Yet we were gaining fast,  

  When the wind failed us;  

And with a sudden flaw  

Came round the gusty Skaw,

So that our foe we saw  

  Laugh as he hailed us.  

"And as to catch the gale  

Round veered the flapping sail,  

'Death!' was the helmsman's hail,

  'Death without quarter!'  

Mid-ships with iron keel  

Struck we her ribs of steel;  

Down her black hulk did reel  

  Through the black water!

"As with his wings aslant,  

Sails the fierce cormorant,  

Seeking some rocky haunt,  

  With his prey laden,  

So toward the open main,

Beating to sea again,  

Through the wild hurricane,  

  Bore I the maiden.  

"Three weeks we westward bore,  

And when the storm was o'er,  130

Cloud-like we saw the shore  

  Stretching to leeward;  

There for my lady's bower  

Built I the lofty tower,  

Which, to this very hour,

  Stands looking seaward.  

"There lived we many years;  

Time dried the maiden's tears;  

She had forgot her fears,  

  She was a mother;

Death closed her mild blue eyes,  

Under that tower she lies;  

Ne'er shall the sun arise  

  On such another!  


"Still grew my bosom then,

Still as a stagnant fen!  

Hateful to me were men,  

  The sunlight hateful!  

In the vast forest here,  

Clad in my warlike gear,

Fell I upon my spear,  

  Oh, death was grateful!  

"Thus, seamed with many scars,  

Bursting these prison bars,  

Up to its native stars

  My soul ascended!  

There from the flowing bowl  

Deep drinks the warrior's soul,  

Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!"

  Thus the tale ended.

  • A long narrative poem celebrating a hero
  • Found in many cultures including India, Greece, Rome, Babylonia, and Arabia
  • Famous epics: The Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Beowulf
  • Typically long and written in a consistent rhyme and meter popularized by the culture of the poet
  • Often includes moral lessons like fables and myths
From Beowulf

-author unknown

Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings,

leader beloved, and long he ruled

in fame with all folk, since his father had gone

away from the world, till awoke an heir,

haughty Healfdene, who held through life,

sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad.

Then, one after one, there woke to him,

to the chieftain of clansmen, children four:

Heorogar, then Hrothgar, then Halga brave;

and I heard that —— was ——’s queen,

the Heathoscylfing’s helpmate dear.

To Hrothgar was given such glory of war,

such honor of combat, that all his kin

obeyed him gladly till great grew his band

of youthful comrades.

From The Odyssey


Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.

digging heaney
Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound

When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:

My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flower beds

Bends low, comes up twenty years away

Stooping in rhythm through potato drills

Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft

Against the inside knee was levered firmly.

He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep

To scatter new potatoes that we picked

Loving their cool hardness in our hands.


By God, the old man could handle a spade.

Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day

Than any other man on Toner’s Bog.

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up

To drink it, then fell to right away

Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, going down and down

For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head.

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.

free verse
Free Verse
  • Poetry without regular meter or rhyme
  • Employed in most “modern poetry”
  • Focuses more on images and meaning than word patterns
Touched by An Angel

-Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage

exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

Love arrives

and in its train come ecstasies

old memories of pleasure

ancient histories of pain.

Yet if we are bold,

love strikes away the chains of fear

from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love's light

we dare be brave

And suddenly we see

that love costs all we are

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love

which sets us free.

Not Waving But Drowning

-Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man

But still he lay moaning:

I was further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


Larry the Monster

-M. Catron

There once was a monster named Larry

Who so desp’rately tried to be scary

He’d rant and he’d roar

But his victims would snore

So now he makes cheese in a dairy.

  • An English form named for “Limerick” Ireland
  • Contains 5 lines with an AABBA rhyme scheme.
  • Each Line contains roughly 9-9-5-5-9 syllables
  • Should be humorous
Our novels get longa and longa

Their language gets stronga and stronga

There’s much to be said

For a life that is led

In illiterate places like Bonga

-H. G. Wells

There was a young soldier called Edser

When wanted was always in bed sir

One morning at one

They fired the gun

And Edser, in bed sir, was dead sir!

-Spike Milligan

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud


The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed--and gazed--but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

  • Adopted from a Greek form
  • Has no specific rhyme or meter though most lyrics rhyme and have a sing-song rhythm.
  • Expresses the poet’s personal feelings
  • Most classical Lyrics describe joy though the poems may be about any emotion.
The Fly


Little Fly

Thy summer’s play

My thoughtless hand

Has brush’d away

Am not I

A fly like thee

Or art not thou

A man like me

For I dance

And drink & sing,

Till some blind hand

Shall brush my wing

If thought is life

And strength & breath,

And the want

Of thought is death;

Then am I

A happy fly,

If I live

Or if I die.

Stay Together For The Kids

-Blink 182

Its hard to wake up

When the shades have been pulled shut

This house is haunted

It's so pathetic

It makes no sense at all

I'm ripe with things to say

the words rot and fall away

If a stupid poem could fix this home, I'd read it every day

The anger hurts my ears

Been running strong for seven years

Rather then fix the problem

They never solve them

It makes no sense at all

I see them everyday

We get along so why can't they?

If this is what he wants

And its what she wants

Then whys there so much pain?

So here's your holiday

Hope you enjoy it this time

You gave it all away

It was mine

So when your dead and gone

Will you remember this night

Twenty years now lost

It's not right


Ode to a Nightingale


MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains  

  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,  

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains  

  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:  

'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,

  But being too happy in thy happiness,—  

    That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,  

          In some melodious plot  

  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,  

    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

Oh for a draught of vintage! that hath been  

  Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,  

Tasting of Flora and the country green,  

  Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!  

Oh for a beaker full of the warm South,

  Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,  

    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,  

          And purple-stainèd mouth;  

  That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,  

    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget  

  What thou among the leaves hast never known,  

The weariness, the fever, and the fret  

  Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;  

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,

  Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies  

    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow  

          And leaden-eyed despairs;  

  Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,  

    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,  

  Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,  

But on the viewless wings of Poesy,  

  Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:  

Already with thee! tender is the night,

  And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,  

    Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;  

          But here there is no light,  

  Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown  

    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.


I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,  

  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,  

But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet  

  Wherewith the seasonable month endows  

The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;

  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;  

    Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;  

          And mid-May's eldest child,  

  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,  

    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time  

  I have been half in love with easeful Death,  

Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,  

  To take into the air my quiet breath;  

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,

  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,  

    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad  

          In such an ecstasy!  

  Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—  

    To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!  

  No hungry generations tread thee down;  

The voice I hear this passing night was heard  

  In ancient days by emperor and clown:  

Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path

  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home  

    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;  

          The same that ofttimes hath  

  Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam  

    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell  

  To toll me back from thee to my sole self.  

Adieu! the Fancy cannot cheat so well  

  As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.  

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades

  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,  

    Up the hillside; and now 'tis buried deep  

          In the next valley-glades.  

  Was it a vision, or a waking dream?  

    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?

  • A classical form of expression popular in Romantic poetry
  • Very much like a lyric
  • Expresses the poet’s personal feelings about a specific thing
  • Rich in poetic devices and imagery
  • Often, each stanza takes a different approach to the subject
ode to the laundromat woman hester
I spotted you under fluorescent lights

You were sorting out your darks and your whites

On top of your machine lay a bottle of Cheer

In your sweatpants and t-shirt, you looked so dear

The dryers were spinning and it was time to be Bold

I felt my opening line was as good as gold

You threw in some sheets so the fabric would soften

I said "Hey baby, do you come here often?"

You rolled your eyes and told me to "Get lost"

And made me think about the line I had crossed

Was it something I said? Was it foolish pride?

Whatever it was, I couldn't turn the Tide

Some say laundromats are a good place to meet

But I beg to differ with that old conceit

If you want to ask, think twice before you try

Forget the suds or you'll be hung out to dry

Ode To The Laundromat Woman-Hester

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far red than her lips’ red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses demask’d, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As she belied with false compare.

  • A classical English form designed to represent the natural patterns of the English language
  • Composed of 14 lines of iambic pentameter. Three 4-line stanzas and one 2-line stanza
  • Sonnets must rhyme.
  • Much like and Ode, a Sonnet serves as a tribute
  • The last two lines typically employ humor or a change in perspective

Sonnet for Lowenstein


Tis wondrous how so sudden things grow strange

When brief held friendships springs to something new

And how unending far my free thoughts range

To places unseen occupied by you.

And yet at “strange” my lips should hesitate

And seek a word that might my thoughts reveal

That my heartfelt delight would indicate

And not an awkwardness I do not feel.

For though the time’s been brief, it has not been

While my fond brain has puzzled the attempt

If I should dare to dare in judging when

I’d know if I’d meet welcome or content.

Your new attention, sudden but not strange

A long anticipated welcome change.

this is just to say williams
I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were



for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

This is Just to Say-Williams
found poetry
Found Poetry
  • An American Form popularized by “minimalist” poets
  • Found poetry converts normal writing into verse by adding line breaks and stanzas to non-poetical forms (letters, instructions, essays, etc.)
  • Much harder than it seems
untitled unknown found in a physics text book
And yet no force, however great,

can stretch a cord, however fine,

into a horizontal line

that shall be absolutely straight.

Untitled-Unknown (found in a physics text book)
Our art teacher, Mr. Shaw,

Really knows how to draw.

But his awful paintings

Have caused many faintings.

  • A recent English form
  • Composed of two rhyming couplets
  • The first line must include a person’s name (typically a famous person)
  • Should offer a humorous description of that person.
michael jackson m catron
The pop icon Michael Jackson

Abuse trials he’s already won one

But the media banter has raised such a clamor

That this time he’ll end in the slammer.

Michael Jackson-M. Catron
  • A very non-traditional form of poetry
  • Uses words as paint to create images or a sense of motion
  • Does not have traditional stanzas
  • Should make use of rhythm, internal rhyme, alliteration, and other poetry techniques.

E. E. Cummings



a)s w(e loo)k







S a


rIvInG .gRrEaPsPhOs)




Shel Silverstein

destiny gregory corso
Destiny-Gregory Corso

They deliver the edicts of God

without delay

And are exempt from apprehension

from detention

And with their God-given

Petasus, Caduceus, and Talaria

ferry like bolts of lightning

unhindered between the tribunals

of Space and Time

The Messenger-Spirit

in human flesh

is assigned a dependable,

self-reliant, versatile,

thoroughly poet existence

upon its sojourn in life

It does not knock

or ring the bell

or telephone

When the Messenger-Spirit

comes to your door

though locked

It'll enter like an electric midwife

and deliver the message

There is no tell

throughout the ages

that a Messenger-Spirit

ever stumbled into darkness

  • May make use of any form, has no prescribed meter or rhythm
  • The title or first line must introduce the term the poem defines
  • Consecutive lines define and re-define the term
  • Should offer a new, insightful, and emotionally charged definition
The Guerilla Is Like a Poet

—Jose Maria Sison,

The guerilla is like a poet

Keen to the rustle of leaves

The break of twigs

The ripples of the river

The smell of fire

And the ashes of departure.

The guerilla is like a poet.

He has merged with the trees

The bushes and the rocks

Ambiguous but precise

Well-versed on the law of motion

And master of myriad images.

The guerilla is like a poet.

Enrhymed with nature

The subtle rhythm of the greenery

The inner silence, the outer innocence

The steel tensile in-grace

That ensnares the enemy.

The guerilla is like a poet.

He moves with the green brown multitude

In bush burning with red flowers

That crown and hearten all

Swarming the terrain as a flood

Marching at last against the stronghold.

An endless movement of strength

Behold the protracted theme:

The people's epic, the people's war.

How Come?

-Unknown (printed in an Ann Landers column)

When I was born I was black.

When I grew up I was black.

When I am sick I am black.

When I go out in the sun I am black.

When I die I will be black.

But you:

When you were born you were pink.

When you grow up you are white.

When you get sick you are green.

When you are in the the sun you are red.

When you go out in the cold you turn blue.

When you die you turn purple.

And yet you call me colored.

In this hole rests the body of Adrianne Goode

Who when told “dare” most often “would.”

He ate pounds of herring

And swam in the sewer

And once sat upon

A rotisserie skewer

The last dare he’d try, “I bet you can’t fly”

But he did, like a stone, straight down, he did die

And now in this mound of ground he does lie.

  • Humorous short poem about a fictional character.
  • Frequently makes use of puns and homonyms (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings).

Epitaph on a Tyrant


Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after

And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;

He knew human folly like the back of his hand,

And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;

When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,

And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

Here lies the body of the Marty McSwain

Who dodged the semi

But mistimed the train.

rolling through the aisles m catron
Produce to the left

Past the Apples,



we stop for grapes

fondle the plums

I eye the clementines

-but you scoff (too small and so expensive)

Collect the staples

spinach (for your salad)



squash and zucchini


-we both get excited by those

And duck out grabbing garlic



-and maybe I ask you to go back for peaches

(and you laugh and sprint off knowing

they remind me of you)

Rolling Through the Aisles-M. Catron
  • Composed of a series of words or phrases
  • Must have compelling line breaks
  • Often makes use of repetition or internal or near rhyme
we didn t start the fire copyrighted maritime music 1989
"We Didn't Start the Fire"Copyrighted Maritime Music (1989)

Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania

Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex

JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again

Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline

Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide

Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz

Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law

Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray

South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television

North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom

Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen

Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser aand Prokofiev

Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy hn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron

Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team

Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev

Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac

Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball

Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia

Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy

Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo

edgar allan poe christina m
Edgar Allan Poe-Christina M.

Eerie stories and poems

Decorate our imagination. Both

Good and evil

Are challenged along with



Love and insanity

Lurk through the pages and

Anthologies. You will

Never know what is to happen next.

Problems of murder and mystery,

Oddities and wonderment are

Expressed with such peculiarity only he could achieve.

  • A modern style of poetry that uses a word to generate the first letter of each line.
  • May have lines of any length
  • Typically the word is also the subject of the poem
  • Frequently employs “name, ” “title-down,” or “alphabet” composition strategy

Niagara Falls

-Marie Cowell


Who is playful, dependent, curious

Who is dealing with the loss of her mother

Who loves acting, Aunt Stephanie, simplicity

Who feels young, badgered, distant

Who needs to know, to learn, to hope

Who gives everyone a fair chance, Jem a hard time, Walter a black eye

Who fears growing older, Mrs. Debose, injustice

Who would like to see Dil more often, Tom aquitted

Who shares her father’s love of literature

Who is victim of a brutal attack

Who is a resident of her own imagination


  • A poem which addresses specific topics about the author.
  • Eg.
      • Line 1: First name
      • Line 2: Who is (descriptive words)
      • Line 3: Who is (related to other people)
      • Line 4: Who loves (three ideas or people)
      • Line 5: Who feels (three ideas)
      • Line 6: Who needs (three ideas)
      • Line 7: Who gives (three ideas)
      • Line 8: Who fears (three ideas)
      • Line 9: Who would like to see ( )
      • Line 10: Who shares ( )
      • Line 11: Who is ( )
      • Line 12: Who is a resident of ( )
      • Line 13: Last name
Across the icy, frozen pond

On a turn

On a jump

Into the air

Down again

For the win

With a radiant smile

  • An adaptation of the List poem
  • Makes use of short, similar phrases, typically to describe action
  • Often begins and ends with lines that can complete the phrases
surfer s dream
I lay out

-across my board

-beneath the sun

-a top the sea

The ocean

-swells beneath me

-rises before me

-a trough

-a crest

-a curl

Arms paddle

Legs tense




Surfer’s Dream

And feel

-the force of nature

-the Hand of God

-my heart in my throat

And ride above

-the water

-the earth

-my self.

mary had a little lamb revisited m catron
Mary Had a Little Lamb Revisited-M. Catron

Mary had a little lamb

Her father shot it dead

Now Mary brings her lamb to school

With milk and cheese and bread

remake tribute
  • Mimics the rhythm and rhyme of a famous poem
  • May either mock, praise, or completely ignore the original poem
  • Nursery rhymes make popular choices for remakes
  • Classic poems and poets make better tributes.

Dr. Suess on Lawn Care

-M. Catron

So once again I begin to rehearse

Putting pencil to paper, pouring out

Mediocre lines and constipated verse,

And I came to the realization that all of us are bigots.

Not about race, class, gender, Muslim, Christian, or Jew,

Though there are still a few,

But about our neighborhood lawns and flower box borders.

Grass is nothing but a weed we adore, and crab-grass and dandelions, growths we abhor

On bias of color, and height and of growth in a pattern

We segregate grass from what we deem chattel,

Not even fit for the raising of cattle..


Take a stand you PCs, you politically corrects.

Do your duty to all people, all equal, and stamp out

The degrading suburbian hex.

How long has gone, this hate? On and on

Turning blind eyes as our neighbors despise

And pluck life by the root from their “manicured” lawn.

Make haste placard holders and political thinkers

And only from labeled, French bottled drink drinkers,

And put an end to this discrimination of nations.

Is not all grass grass, regardless of hue,

And when has any grass been biased ‘gainst you?

We call longstem and crab-grass, and foxtail, and broadleaf.

This intolerance must end lest all lawns come to grief

terse verse
Terse Verse
  • Short two-line poem
  • Composed of a rhyming couplet
  • Each line contains only 1 or 2 words
  • Humorously redefines the title subject
A Rabbit’s Seat?



A Tearless Organ?



Unflushed Toilet?



Flowers By the Sea

-Williams, C.

When over the flowery, sharp pasture's

edge, unseen, the salt ocean

lifts its form--chicory and daisies

tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone

but color and the movement--or the shape

perhaps--of restlessness, whereas

the sea is circled and sways

peacefully upon its plantlike stem

  • A free verse form
  • Evokes an emotional response with a few words as possible
  • Frequently makes use of onomatopoeia, alliteration, and near rhyme
untitled robert swede
Untitled-Robert Swede

July 4

-M. Catron



wicked smiles

little tears



The effect of words to sound like or imitate that which they refer to: Growl, Bang, Hiss, etc.Onomatopoeia

Use common sound words that most people already use:




Use “new” sound words that most people wouldn’t think of:




Using words with the same or similar sounds to produce an interesting aural effect. Alliteration

Clusters of similar sounds:

“The tiger tracked its prey through the trees.”

“More mush, Amy?”

Clusters of similar sounds which “sound like” what the words describe.

“Steven walked slowly across the sand as waves washed across the silent beach.”

Deliberately using the same word, words, or line throughout a poem.Repetition


Everywhere I turn


On the street, in the parking lot,


Growling by, screeching to stops


Unavoidable, inescapable


A comparison using the words “like” or “as” that makes us imagine one thing as another. Frequently uses exaggeration.Simile

Uses a comparison that is unoriginal.

“As big as a house.”

“Strong as a mule.”

“Run like the wind.”

Creates an original, personal and appropriate comparison.

“Susan crept through the trees like a cougar.”

“The aroma of hot chocolate enfolded Wendy like an old blanket.”

Actually describing one object or idea with the qualities of another object or idea to create a comparison.Metaphor

“Dark regiments of clouds marched across the Nebraska sky and slowly spread out in siege lines around the capital. Towering warriors brandished gleaming spears and barked out battle cries. Lincoln cowered behind its walls, unable to drive off the encroaching hoard. Then, with a great crashing of war drums, the clouds attacked laying waste to the buildings and people below with icy bullets, searing hot spears, and terrifying blasts.

sense shifting
Sense Shifting

A special kind of description that may include a metaphor or a simile that describes one sense reception in terms of another.

“The cinnamon seas lapped against the rocks.”

“Her hair smelled bright, warm like an April sunbeam.”

“His voice was dark, sticky, like old pudding.”

Describing an inanimate object using language which suggests life or independence.

Describing a non-human object or creature using language which suggests humanity.


Using “conventional” personification.

“The trees danced in the breeze.”

Using “new” ideas to describe an object.

“Atop the hill squatted a broody old rock which had stoically stared out across Plugg Valley for generations.”

rhyme scheme
The pattern of rhyme throughout a poem. Lines which rhyme are assigned the same letter.Rhyme Scheme

Ode to a Nightingale

1st Stanza

-John Keats

Rhyme Schme











My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

    One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:

'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,

    But being too happy in thine happiness,--

        That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees

            In some melodious plot

    Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

        Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

end rhyme
A rhyme scheme which generates rhymes at the end of each line.End Rhyme

One day I woke up disgusted

I found out my alarm clock was busted

It was ten a clock but school started at eight

So I went back to sleep cause I knew I was late

internal rhyme
Lines of poetry which have rhyming words and near-rhyming words occurring places besides the end of the line; often the rhyming words both occur in the same line.Internal Rhyme

"The Cloud"

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noon-day dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the Sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,

And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

Two lines which have and rhyme. Often used as part of a rhyme scheme.Couplet

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face

(1st 2 Stanzas)

Jack Prelutsky

Be glad your nose is on your face,

not pasted on some other place,

for if it were where it is not,

you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose

were sandwiched in between your toes,

that clearly would not be a treat,

for you'd be forced to smell your feet.

contrast couplet
The effect of words to sound like or imitate that which they refer to: Growl, Bang, Hiss, etc.Contrast Couplet

Use common sound words that most people already use:




Use “new” sound words that most people wouldn’t think of:




A four line stanza within a poem, or a four line poem which makes use of a rhyme scheme.Quatrain

Bean Eaters

1st 2 stanzas

-Gwendolyn Brooks

They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.

Dinner is a casual affair.

Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,

Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.

Two who have lived their day,

But keep on putting on their clothes

And putting things away.

Dora Diller

-Jack Prelutsky

"My stomach's full of butterflies!"

lamented Dora Diller.

Her mother sighed. "That's no surprise,

you ate a caterpillar!"

slide94 (Phil Adams, haiku)

Mascetti, M (ed) The Little Book of Zen, The Book Laboratory, Inc. 2001. (Basho and Osho, haiku) (Cindy Tebo and Darell Byrd, cinquain)

Samuelson, Logan. Poetry Portfolio. Lux Middle School. 2004. (Cinquain) (Thayer, Ballad) (Miller, ballad) (Whitman, elegy) (Jarrel, elegy) (Eliot, elegy) (Longfellow, Epic) (Beowulf, Epic) (Keats, image) (Angelou, free verse)

Smith, Stevie, New Selected Poems of Stevie Smith. New Directions Books. New York. 1988 (Smith, free verse) (Wells and Milligan, limericks) (Blink 182, lyric)

Blake, W. Romanticism, an Anthology. Duncan Wu Ed. Blackwell Publishers. Oxford. 1994. (Hester, Ode) laudromat image (Shakespeare, image)

slide95 (found poem) (Concrete poem) (cummings, concrete) (Sison, Definition poem) (Joel, list poem) (Christina M. Acrostic poem) (Cowell, Acrostic) (Zen line drawing image) (Williams, Terse Verse) (Swede, Minimalism)