This week, YOU pick the form. Write a poem using your favorite form. Try a form you’ve wanted to attempt. Take the challenge of writing a form that scares you (sestina). Either way, write your poem, giving the name of form and a brief description of it so others may be enticed to write. Have fun and explore.

Marie’s Form:

I chose the Nonet. I cheated, as this is one I wrote back in May of 2010.

Here are the Nonet rules:

A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc., until line nine, which finishes with one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional.


As the sun slips beneath the water,
Her afterglow lingers above –
Much to wooing moon’s delight.
And they bask in the glow
Those fleeting moments
They call their own,
As their hearts

Walt’s Form:

Created about twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong, this titled form, the Etheree, consists of ten lines of unmetered and unrhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five. I too cheated. An older poem.


A man
Standing guard.
Despite efforts
To be fair and firm,
Sometimes he folds under
The pressure. Bright hazel eyes
Flash their semaphore to signal
The next barrage to a father’s heart.
Daughters in tug of war for Dad’s favor.

40 thoughts on “IN-FORM POET – FREE-FORM FORM

  1. I took the easy way out and wrote a form that I’ve written more recently. My favorite next to the haiku, the fib. Starting with 0 or silence (so no title), then 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Each line added to the last equals the amount of syllables in the next line. 0+1=1 / 1+1=2 / 2+3=5 etc., for a six line form. Happy fibbing! 😉

    Both are
    The work of
    Loving Creator
    One longing for us to know Love.

  2. Hannah’s right, a Fib should have a beat of silence (I often cheat and title mine). This time I shall play by the rules. A Fibonacci; this one is ascending/descending, though the verdict seems to be out as to whether or not you double the 8 syllable line. I have researched, and found them both ways. Anyone more knowledgeable with this form able to weigh in?

    a lot,
    tell that girl
    in the looking glass
    she’s not good enough for these words
    that the fragments of her worn heart
    won’t bleed proper ink;
    truth, I think
    flows slow

  3. For my first effort I have chosen to write an Etheree. This poem also fits for the PAD challenge day 16.

    Created about twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong, this titled form, the Etheree, consists of ten lines of un-metered and unrhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five.

    Once Upon A Rainbow

    a rainbow
    all seven hues
    blended together.
    Once upon a rainbow,
    light was monochromatic.
    Multitudes of wavelengths gathered
    and expressed themselves in unity.
    All appeared as it is supposed to be.

    By Michael Grove

  4. Free Form

    I wish my emotions
    could be boxed
    or counted
    neatly organized
    by letter or number
    but they chose
    to slither
    viscous and elusive
    flowing into crooks
    and crannies
    until there is no more
    place for the tears
    to go but out
    dressed to the nines
    disguising themselves
    as poems.

  5. Another In-Form poem, the HexSonnetta, created by Andrea Dietrich, consists of two six-line stanzas and a finishing rhyming couplet with the following set of rules:
    Each line contains six syllables.
    Meter: Iambic Trimeter
    Rhyme Scheme: a/bb/aa/b c/dd/cc/d ee

    Once Upon A Daydream

    Once upon a daydream,
    each wish would become true.
    The sky a vibrant blue.
    Drifting down a slow stream.
    Basking in a sunbeam.
    And I was there with you.

    A vision on a cloud.
    It all became so clear.
    No reason now to fear.
    A voice was clear and loud.
    It promised and it vowed.
    I’ll always love you dear.

    The beauty of this day
    will never go away.

    By Michael Grove

  6. The following is “blank verse,” by Jane Shlensky. She says, “It’s blank verse (I seem to be caught there in blankness for days now).” 😉 Blank verse is written in non-rhyming iambic pentameter.

    Once Upon the Ground (By Jane Shlensky)

    Once upon the ground in our small tent,
    The snow turned ice along with all our toes
    I lay awake considering the wet
    Condition that our only wood might be,
    Dozing and dreaming off and on of flame,
    The fledgling early tendrils orange and gold
    Growing under my gentle breath to blue
    Intentioned bursts that make so little smoke
    You know instantly this fire will give heat,
    Fed properly with patient kindling hand.

    Upon that ground, you whining in your sleep
    And moving closer to me for my warmth,
    I think how we should heed weather reports,
    How summer sleeping bags don’t do the job
    Of even autumn forays in these parts,
    How we may have some trouble on this ice
    Driving, no fleeing, down this mountainside,
    How nice coffee and bacon smell outside
    When you wake hungry and someone else cooks,
    How if this were a blizzard, we’d become
    A tiny igloo, trapped under the snow,
    How several months from now in springtime thaws,
    Some hapless camper loving nature would
    Discover us beneath these ancient trees
    So perfectly preserved under the snow,
    Like fruit-based yogurt, raspberries still pert
    As summer days and flushed with ripening sun,
    That he would stand a while and look at us
    Like art one least expects—two people, us,
    Still cuddled up and waiting for the spring,
    A hibernation project gone all wrong.

    Upon that ground, I see the morning sun
    Send its first fiery tendrils through the trees
    And hear the ice and snow begin to melt
    And think of warmth and cold, of love and need
    And how a single night upon the ground
    Can bear the seeds of lark or tragedy,
    How fortune gives us stories for old age
    Of sweet survival and of sleeplessness,
    Of ignorance and bliss and memories
    Of how your body cleaves to mine in sleep
    And keeps my warmth, my heart and mind, alive
    And watchful, kindling a flame of truth,
    How love on any ground makes life worthwhile.

  7. One of my favorite forms that I haven’t written in in awhile: The Triolet. A French verse form. Its rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB and all lines are in iambic tetrameter; the first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines, thereby making the initial and final couplets identical as well. The features of the Triolet are: 8 lines. Two rhymes. 5 of the 8 lines are repeated or refrain lines.

    Once Upon a Moonlit Night

    Once upon a moonlit night
    the shadows all stood still.
    Out of mind and out of sight.
    Once upon a moonlit night,
    nothing wrong and nothing right.
    Cold spine tingling chill.
    Once upon a moonlit night
    the shadows all stood still.

    By Michael Grove

    • Or maybe, blank verse from a blank mind:


      My mother said
      that I never crawled –
      running before I could walk.

      The riding master berated me
      for jumping the fence ahead of the horse,
      who stopped. I didn’t.

      I drag myself on all fours into poetry,
      bumping against the walls of language.

      I stand and totter,
      frustrated at the slow pace,
      tripping and kicking against the pricks
      of rules, enduring sore toes.

      No rhythm, no rhyme, no form. Is this what is known as blank verse?

  8. Dickson County Old Route #1: The Front Porch

    (after a poem by Donald Justice)

    There used to be a way the summer heat
    stopped at the smooth concrete front porch. The low-
    backed rocking chairs that smelled of dust, and cow,
    and snapped green beans were easy in that deep
    gray shade by Mamaw’s sawhorse quilt frame, sleeping
    out August days. And the chained green swing, pillows–
    too worn for the house, smooth from Sunday hair oils
    and darker at the center–propped against the creaking
    chain. I rocked that swing from side to side
    pressing dusty toes splotched by well water
    into the cool iron links, push and glide
    treadle work making a breeze with my short, briar-
    scratched legs. Old pillow cushions under my head
    the warmest thing on the island of porch shade.

  9. Hi!

    I’ve been playing catch-up ball for PAD this whole week – and each poem I’ve written has been in a different form. Here’s my variation on a Sevenling (with epigraph):

    Sevenling (A Horrible Poem)

    “Love is the poetry of our feelings. But there are some horrible poems.” – Antonio Gala

    Happy-in-Love is a gazillion viceroy butterflies batting about in your stomach,
    it’s drawing two sets of initials in a sketchy blue ink heart on your school loose-leaf binder
    and it’s staring out the window all googly-eyed and stuff.

    Not-so-Happy-in-Love is a just bad bummer tummy ache,
    some leaky blue ink that gets all over your school loose-leaf binder (and everything else, too)
    and it’s also the fogging up of the window with all your heavy sighs and stuff

    This is a horrible poem, which means it’s probably love.


    • I just realized that my wordiness caused more lines than the three required for each of the 1st two stanzas. So…In this case, would any readers who read the poem just pretend there are three lines for the first and second stanzas. It would make me so happy! 😀

  10. Well, I decided to go with a Ghazal, because I find it a challenge.

    February Beach

    We stood at water’s edge, gazing at white caps
    on the wind blown sands, hair tucked into white caps.
    In a February wind, sun sparkled through on blue,
    and seagulls squawked, flying low over white caps
    hunting for food–slim pickings in winter.
    Our faces burned from sea salt springing off white caps,
    but love of ocean beauty, and each other, kept
    us warm, as did the flaps of our white caps.
    A wave rose, rolled, and coasted near our feet.
    We stepped back and the white caps
    swelled and frothed, `til they were all we could see,
    as a photograph imprinted for all time, wild white caps.

  11. Shadow

    Ringed colors look
    like eyes disguised to
    assure the flutter flight
    between purple, red and orange.
    Beyond the place she sits watching
    beyond his place of remembering
    the open throat of nectar scent thick air.

    Jane Penland Hoover
    November 17, 2011

    • opps the form was this one not nonet I think – – this is new to me. Need help.
      Created about twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong, this titled form, the Etheree, consists of ten lines of unmetered and unrhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five. I too cheated. An older poem.

    (Shakespearean Sonnet)

    An afterthought of words in my defense
    Arrive too late. You turn your back on me,
    Escaping arms now empty, hanging tense,
    Two useless limbs, two muted lips. You flee!
    The coup de grâce? You toss your ring and free
    Yourself while bon mots rattle in my brain.
    I did not say, “I love you. Let’s agree
    To disagree. The night is young. What gain
    Is there to cast aside our love too soon?”
    Or cry, “This heart! It won’t survive the pain.”
    Instead, I held my tongue, which spelled my doom,
    And so I bid you heed my wise refrain:
    Before the silence failed love leaves behind,
    Declare in heart-felt words what’s on your mind.

    Salvatore Buttaci

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