Terza rima at long last

Day 15: Terza Rima

I’ve always wanted to write a poem in this form, and now’s my chance. It features three-line stanzas with ABA, BCB, CDC, etc. rhyme scheme ending with a final line rhyming with the first and third lines of the previous stanza. There’s no set rhythm, but I tried to keep to iambic pentameter. I decided to change the structure slightly by ending with a three-line stanza, where the middle line rhymes with the first and third lines of the first stanza.

A friend requested I write a poem about insomnia ages ago, so I’m finally fulfilling my promise to her. I tend to fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow, unless I’m sick, so it’s not something I can much relate to. However, I’m a bit sleep-deprived today, which means I can use my exhaustion as inspiration.


I close my eyes to sleep, but still I can’t.
My limbs refuse to find a comfort zone.
Few hours more of this I’ll start to rant.

I went to bed too late; I should’ve known.
I must not check the clock! But – oops – I did.
That time cannot be right (internal moan).

I feel the weight bear down each lash-rimmed lid,
and yet no dreams will overtake my mind.
If I don’t fall asleep soon, god forbid,

I’ll never make it through the daily grind.
(You don’t suppose they’ll notice I’m asleep?)
Oh, no. Already half the night’s behind!

What moron recommended counting sheep?
And “soothing” music keeps me wide-awake.
Whoever touts these methods is a creep.

I’m too enraged to sleep for goodness sake!
It cannot be the dawn’s cursed early light,
when every atom in my body seems to ache.

The sun should not contend to be so bright!
Oh, why is time for catching up on sleep so scant?
I can’t remember when I slept all night.

Without Question

Day 14: All questions except the last line

Today’s prompt is to write a poem where everyone line but the last is a question. I was thinking this sounded like something I did last year, and it turns out it’s the opposite of last year’s Day 7 prompt.


Why can’t I see my computer screen?
Why are my blinds askew?
Why can’t I sleep on my pillows?
Why is my clean laundry orange?

What did I trip over in the dark?
What happened to the papers I set down?
What was that crash at 3am?
What keeps crushing my ribcage?

A three-letter answer
to a four-legged problem.

The king of Viking poetry

Day 13: A Poem with a Kenning or Two

My last semester of college, I took a class on the Vikings and became well-acquainted with kennings in the various sagas I read. A kenning is a compound word used to describe another word, e.g. “whale-road” to mean ocean. They can also be genetive, such as “feeder of ravens” to mean warrior (one wonders if a great warrior would be called “starver of ravens”). I figured a Scandinavian literary trope would be a good way to describe one of my favorite Scandinavian sights.

Foss Hope

The earth’s locks frame her silvery face,
perched atop a land-wave,
in a gown of liquid lace.

Rainbow ensnarer, bottler of air,
her foam-song is inviting,
but her basalt blades tear.


Day 12: Replacement Poem

Today’s prompt is to create a poem by looking up sentences containing a common noun for a physical thing and replacing every instance of that word with an intangible noun; otherwise, the sentences should remain the same. This resulted in one of the more bizarre poems I’ve written.

Hope Crystallized

Hope come in many types.
Hope is typically brittle.
For most of its history, hope was seen as unfashionable.
Hope caused individuals to be stigmatized and stereotyped as pious clergymen.
Since, hope has become an acceptable fashion item and often acts as a key component in individuals’ personal image.
Sometimes hope is worn simply for aesthetic or fashion purposes.
Hope remains very common.

Wining Whining

Day 11: Anacreontic Verse

This lyrical form was named after Anacreon, a Greek poet from the 6th century BC. Given that these poems were originally written in Ancient Greek, and the form was then adapted into English many centuries later, there’s a lot of disagreement about what English Anacreontic verse should be. Overall, it seems it should be made up of seven-syllable lines in some sort of variation of the ionic meter (short-short-long-long) with an AABB rhyme scheme. Topics include wine, love, and general revelry. The writer of the NaPoWriMo prompt suggested one could write an anti-Anacreontic poem, and that sounded much more fun to me.

Clubs Don’t Suit Me

Yes, I’m thinking, had enough.
My decision wasn’t tough.
No more nights in noisy clubs.
Always hated those crowd hubs.
Never hear my friends at all.
Morons spilling alcohol
on my shoes with open toes.
Who could be a fan of those
places elbows strike at will?
Stuffiness to make me ill.
Time to leave – can’t find the door.
Shove my way ‘cross jam-packed floor.
Finally, I can breathe again.
How I wish I’d never been!

Perfect ad-dition to poetry month

Day 10: Poetic Ad

As someone who writes ads for a living, writes poems for fun and has a book about Burma-Shave billboards, I cannot imagine a more fitting prompt. Before my own poem, I have to include this one by Ogden Nash, which mocks another poet (in addition to ads):

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all.

Now for my poem:

Blank Check

Hello there, would you like to buy a rhyme?
The perfect ending to each line of verse.
The syllables you need are all in stock.
I guarantee I’ve got the sounds for you.

It’s really such a classic: Shakespeare, Keats.
The list goes on with Whitman, Wordsworth, Yeats.
Don’t hesitate to buy some now because
the rhymes in English are in short supply.

We’ve got a sale on a sonnet set:
two quatrains for the price of one.
Not sure what rhymes you’d like to buy today?
You’re free to try a couplet on the house.

Music to my ears

Day 9: iPod Shuffle Poem

I’ve always liked creating poems from random lists of words, and using a list made up of five random song titles from my iPod is a great idea. This particular poem also could work for the theme on Day 7.

Food of the Gods

How lovely are your dwelling places,
silkiness adorned with foiled gold,
elegantly shaped in a silver mold,
reflecting joy on countless faces.

Short walk to a shop or miles away
little darlin’ morsels tempt us all,
an endorphin-laden siren’s call
irresistible both night and day.

Revisiting an old friend

Day 8: A Famous Poem Rewritten

Picking a poem for this was incredibly tough. Every time I thought I’d found a good poem, I’d shudder at the thought of rewriting it. It’s incredibly obvious which poem I decided to revisit.

My generation, i love you

My generation i love you
because you preach how hard work leads to success
from your parents’ couch,
but the irony doesn’t embarrass you

because you learned the definition
from a Alanis Morissette song,
and you say you lost faith in the government
but you vote like your parents anyway

My generation i love you, because you’re proud
you followed your dreams, except your boss
doesn’t care that your mom thinks you’re special
and life doesn’t high-five you just for showing up

so you forget your disappointment
by spending hours browsing Buzzfeed
but you can’t remember the last time you read a book
and don’t even blink when someone uses the wrong “your”

My generation i love you because
you look at your phone more
than the person sitting in front of you
but you don’t feel guilty ‘cause they’re doing the same

to you
and because your existence
can be reduced
to 140 characters My generation

i hate you

My favorite thing

Day 7: A Love Poem to an Inanimate Object
This is something that was very special to me as a child.

Monotreme Dream

Some kids loved their teddy bears
and adored their dolls,
purchased at a toy store
or other logical place.
My favorite toy hailed
from a Renaissance Fair.
What it was doing there,
I can’t begin to guess.

It was not a dragon or unicorn,
nor any animal dreamed of back then,
but a soft, brown duck-billed platypus
as strange an creature as you could find anywhere.
My parents said I couldn’t have her,
but they were just being sneaky.
I unwrapped her months later
and named her Aussie.

She had a great, flappy tail.
Her bill was more velvet than rubber.
Her eyes glimmered in the light.
She was the perfect pillow.

In my mountain of stuffed animals
layered over my bed,
she would always remain,
never tossed to the floor.

She stayed long after
the rest went to the attic.
I guess she’s there still
in my parents’ house like always.

Window of opportunity

Day 6: Looking out of my window

This poem is taken from a list of nouns and verbs I can see out my window. It’s good thing this prompt wasn’t on a weekday, because I’d have nothing to write about (hence, my Day 4 poem).


Today I’ll wash my face with the sky
and brush my hair with a palm tree.
I’ll string clouds from my ears
and wear a skirt of rustling wings.