Skeltonic verse is named after the poet John Skelton (1460-1529).   It consists of short rhyming lines that just sort of flow on from one rhyme to the next for however long one chooses.  Skeltonic verse generally averages less than six words per line.  The challenge is to keep short rhymes moving down the page, in an energetic and engaging way.  Have fun with it!



We met to reminisce
but then he stole a kiss,
and my-oh-my the bliss!
He coaxed me from my shell –
I felt all fear dispel,
and fell under his spell.
Then, what was that – his cell!?
“A conference … clientele …”
Oh great, I thought.  Just swell.
Oh well.
I guess I’ll sit a spell.
But I could not foretell
he’d drone on for an hour,
his spell would lose its power,
and leave me feeling dour.
My pride, I admit,
took a hit,
so I split,
and that’s it.

Now some will react,
“Is this fiction, or fact?!”
Though the pen I may wield,
My lips? They are sealed. 😉

 © Marie Elena – 2012



I find whenever I’ve the time
I sit with pad and pen in rhyme
penning proses quite sublime
a feat completed in my time.
I have a love affair with words;
be they rhythmic or absurd,
the grandest poems ever heard
take flight like flitting feathered birds
and reach for heights yet unachieved.
When poets ponder, I believe
they write their thoughts as they’ve perceived
and when they’re done are quite relieved
to know their points were made.
And no matter how their thoughts pervade,
ideas insinuate; invade,
evoking emotions (some delayed)
and some are never quite displayed.
Back to the poem, I digress,
this sample skeltonic mess.
I could erase, resume, I guess,
but I won’t. I think I’ll leave it as it is
you’ll think me a poetic wiz,
a poet that pops, plop-plop, fizz-fizz,
I’m done! (Oh, what a relief it is!)

© Walt Wojtanik – 2012


  1. Old Yeller

    A different type of dance
    happened by perchance
    as I closed the door
    on what I did before.
    My two-step faltered,
    my waltz haltered.
    I slowed my pace
    and wrinkled my face
    when a new young pup
    says my time is up.
    I’m just ‘old folk’
    now brunt of his joke.

    But in my old-age fog,
    I might shoot that dog.

    • HaHaHa 🙂 go ahead shoot him! 😉

      Looking forward to what will come by way of this Skeltonic.

      Marie – yours is delightful, a fun read.
      Walt – Great to see you goin’ so great. Says you are feeling a bit better which is wonderful.


    I wander to the bay
    and on the sand lay,
    to watch for the moon
    that will come up soon
    to bath the land at night
    in soft, entreating light.
    It plays tag with a cloud
    that tries to crowd
    the stars that shine
    (They are sublime)
    as they all seek
    ‘round the cloud to peek.
    Then they sway with the tide
    as they dip and hide.
    Then flood the beach with light
    almost to daylight bright.
    While on the beach
    night critters creep
    to find a save repose
    where no one else goes.
    There comes a light flash,
    moon reflecting a fish splash,
    I hear the soft sound
    in tide-motion found.
    And lay at easy
    in the soft breeze.
    When the night birds call
    and I can no longer stall,
    so rising to my feet
    a steady step I keep,
    using the moon light to guide
    as it stays at my side.
    The beauty of the place
    nothing can erase.
    ‘Til the moon is over head,
    and I must seek my bed.
    I will leave my night post
    to let all the water host,
    no more the beach to roam
    as I turn to head home.


    When I was younger
    I wished my legs were longer
    and my wrists were stronger
    to be on equal terms
    and make boys squirm
    with my Chinese burns
    reach stuff up high
    no need to sigh
    ‘til someone comes by
    ask for help in manner shy
    simper thanks and say bye bye
    I wish to buy
    an inch of leg
    no need to beg
    a man to try
    to undo a lid when I
    can’t do it. Just ask why
    they need to be so tight
    it isn’t right
    to need a vise
    and not quite nice
    to be precise
    to take a monkey wrench
    from off the bench
    call out the marines
    and smash the jar to smithereens

  4. Ha, ha, both delightful. And timely, as I was trying to think of a fun form to apply to my Grandchildrens’ visit! 🙂 !


    …She has a little, sharp mind of her own,
    No matter what you tell her, she does things alone…

    Put this one on that one
    You try to say
    But she jus knows better
    NO!!! Leave ’em that way!
    So you try not to laugh
    At the wrong shoe display
    Cause they look so darn cute
    When they’re left… HER WAY!


    I try my best
    With puffed-up chest
    To pass each test
    life throws my way
    And safe to say
    There is no day
    I choose to play
    When duty calls
    I break down walls
    I fist through brawls
    I take the falls
    I will not quit
    I rise when hit
    It keeps me fit
    Though I admit
    Someday I’ll lose
    Earn one last bruise
    Burn down my fuse
    Sing the blues
    But for right now
    I will not bow
    I took a vow
    To try my best
    Refuse to rest
    I do not jest
    Let me confess
    I feel I’m blessed

  7. Rain-born

    I hear the rumble tumble again
    from northwest, like some bowling lane
    where noisy cloud-mass tries to drain
    the moisture from the heavy sky.
    The wind picks up and sends a sigh
    through limbs and leaves that by and by
    will feel the pitter pat of rain
    washing the dust away, no stain
    of bone-dry yesterdays remain.

    I’ve watched white skies for days and weeks
    cheerleading clouds, hoping their leaks
    to drench the ground below, where peaks
    of temperatures have been common fare.
    I’m not above a water prayer
    or rain dance offered for garden care.

    Birds long accustomed to the heat
    come out to celebrate the sweet
    return of showers, their clasping feet
    ride flowers twisting in the storm
    or flit to limbs, the rain so warm
    they think it dropped for them, no harm
    in jagged light or puddle ponds.
    All bird and animal life responds
    so like the plants’ unfurling fronds.

    They lap at water-wonder and wait
    for skies of blue, returned from slate,
    for lamb clouds grazing at the gate
    of heaven, droplets rainbow-draped
    and sunlit, nature’s diamond-shaped
    tribute to rainfall, a world aglitter
    with blue and green and songbird twitter,
    small thanks for life fallen from the skies,
    small life new-born. What underlies
    the biggest breaths, the deepest cares
    are drops of rain and faithful prayers.

  8. “The Hat-less Cat”

    The “Kiki” cat without a hat
    pawed, knocking at my door.
    My fingers curled round doorknob whirled
    as opening, spied hat-less cat

    Upon his haunches, gravely sat.
    He, purring, stroked my arms quite fat.
    Posited self with dignified sprat
    and lay upon my floor…by the door.

    He hissed a strong “hello”
    having come from regions “below”.
    He eyed me quizzically
    As if to efficiently see
    my value, as a human;
    he, being quite Tibetan.

    He spit into my loving face
    and then with teeth did me embrace!

    (this story true! sent me to Emergency room for
    repair and Tetanus shot. His owner died in apartment below and I agreed to care for him temporarily. Kiki was his name.)

  9. “It almost rained today”

    It almost rained today
    like I almost sneezed last May
    my nose in a bouquet
    of yellow daffodils
    on the window sill;
    I stuffed it back in. Still
    it almost rained today.
    One stray cloud, gray
    and rare, too lonely to play
    in the rain. It drifted away
    down-sky, like down-stream
    leaving airy blue between
    more airy blue—a dream
    for sunbathers and the flood
    wounded wrestling with mud.
    I’d give a pint of blood
    for an ounce of rain
    instead I frame
    the cloud in my window pane
    and continue to complain.

  10. I hold no grudge
    So please don’t judge
    A reputation smudged
    A heart once nudged

    You think you know
    It isn’t so
    Her pain will show
    Her heart will grow

    She tried before
    Fell to the floor
    Crawled to the door
    Alone once more

    Now she will cry
    Her eyes to dry
    Tempted to fly
    Always asking why.


    To think you lived so long ago!
    Not a chance that you could know
    That you would be considered so
    Wonderful, by high and low.
    To think we say, when we converse,
    ‘He wrote such very structured verse!
    With lines so short they seemed quite terse.’
    (Some poems now are the reverse.)
    John Skelton, we revere your name
    Although it does seem quite a shame
    That no-one else can stake a claim
    To poetry that sounds the same!

  12. I love this form!

    Did You Ever?

    Did you see that bee
    buzz into a tree
    where he should not be
    `cause the rent was free?
    He has nowhere to be,
    his hive thrown out to sea
    by a sailor named, Smee
    who sang a Shanty
    of the cruel Captain Hook,
    a scalawag and crook
    with a scornful look,
    yet he shook and shook
    when the croc mistook
    his arm for Chinook
    salmon, preferably uncooked.
    Read this tale in Book of Schnooks.

  13. Math and Science

    A butterfly was on a string.
    The bumblebee refused to sting.
    The choir didn’t even sing
    a joyful merry tune,
    so, he built a quiet cocoon
    where midnight became noon,
    and water turned to wine.
    He would simply dance and dine
    pretending everything was fine.
    Wishing so that he could stay,
    writing songs and poems all day.
    Math and science got in the way.

    By Michael Grove

  14. You Sold The Clouds
    (Skeltonic Rap)

    Born in a grass hut raised a war child
    Played on mounds where bodies were piled
    My rap reviled, my children defiled
    My people profiled cause we’re fuckin’ wild
    Cross the chasm of the spirit world
    Nurse the child before the milk curled
    Look out whitey, our curses be hurled
    Our voices be loud, our faces be proud
    A child’s voice screamed “you sold the clouds”
    From blowguns to arson, Johnny Carson’s on the run
    Mad dogs barking at the midnight sun
    Bleeding bushman weeping in crimson homespun
    No one can tell which side has won
    Rob and steal and scrape the earth’s womb
    Heart of the world encased in a tomb
    Time to make music no time to grow old
    Slave masters steal new dreams to be sold
    Bridges to the future from ghettoes of the past
    Still fighting the fight to be free, free at last

    ~ Randy Bell ~

      • Thank You Janet, I guess it was good enough for at least one comment !! Though I’m not complaining, I’m just saying how much I really appreciate what you have to say !! My biggest surprise however was finding out that some of Bob Dylan’s music actually qualified as Skeltonic verse !!

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  16. No Small Ecstasy…

    It is no small thing
    When our pulses sing
    As we absorb the thing
    That thrills our souls
    Filling us completely
    And ever so sweetly
    Fitting quite neatly
    Into life’s little holes
    For pleasure as this
    Is a rare sort of bliss
    A soft, sudden kiss
    As it leaps from its place
    Rousing desire
    And fanning a fire
    Its passion leaps higher
    As its lines we trace
    For the movement of quill
    As it curves to the will
    And the want of the thrill
    Is an intimate dance
    A tango of blood
    A heart and mind flood
    Oft misunderstood
    By the hurrying crowd
    But oh, ecstasy
    When it’s just you and me
    The poet; the poetry
    I smile out loud

    When I visit this place poems like this are born!

  17. You’re right Sara, this IS fun!


    I love the plip-plop
    Of a little rain-drop
    Kissing the crop
    All shriveled and shrunk
    Until the grand ker-plunk
    When every flower is drunk
    In the beautiful splash
    As the cloud-tears wash
    The dusty sash
    On a thirsty earth
    Suddenly filled with mirth
    For the priceless worth
    In the little plip-plop
    Of a lovely rain-drop
    That will not stop
    But alas, alas
    The garden, the grass
    Are but a scorched mass
    All tinder-dry
    And we don’t know why
    That big old sky
    Will not pop its top
    For the glorious ker-plop
    Of a little rain-drop

    © Janet Martin

  18. What Happened to the Thunder

    Don’t you wonder
    What happened to the thunder?
    Did it blunder
    Off in the same direction
    As the lightning’s reflection,
    Or did it seek correction
    Regarding how to rumble?
    Did it stumble,
    Or awkwardly fumble
    For words to growl?
    Hearing the eloquent wind howl,
    Did it scowl?
    Did it slowly skulk
    Away in all its bulk
    And find a place to sulk?
    Don’t you wonder
    What happened to the thunder?

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