Update: Winners announced: http://classicalpoets.org/shortest-poem-contest-winners-announced/


Write the shortest possible rhyming poem that still has meaning. Post it in the comments section below under your full name and general area of residence (“Bob Smith, Denver, Colorado”). You may choose any topic, but please be respectful and no dirty humor. Two entries allowed per poet.

When: Now June 9, 2018 midnight EST. Winner Announced June 18, 2018.

Who: Anyone in the world, any age or background, may participate. From within the Society, anyone not involved in judging the contest may participate.

Prize: $100

Judge: Advisory Board Members who choose to participate

Entry Fee: None

Examples: Our first example comes from Joe Tessitore of New York City, New York, who came up with this contest. Thank you, Joe!

 

Cooperation

One ant can’t.

 

A classic example comes from Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954). It has also been published under the name “Fleas”:

 

Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes 

Adam
Had’em

 

 

 

 

Related Post

The Society of Classical Poets 2019 Poetry Competition   “Let glorious acts more glorious acts inspire, And catch from breast to breast the noble fire!" —The Iliad, Homer, Book V, Pope translati...

184 Responses

    • Zachary Dilks

      Zachary Dilks, Austin TX

      “Love Through The Ages”

      She left, bereft

      Reply
    • Bruce Deckert

      Bruce Deckert — Greater Hartford, Connecticut

      #1
      Wise Career Advice to LeBron James When He Was a High School Senior
      Go pro!

      #2
      Jeopardy Redux: Alex, “How Am I Able to See?” for $1,000
      My eye.

      Reply
    • Bill Eihausen, Fort Collins, Co.

      “Political Season”

      Lavish Lies Loom

      Reply
    • Lawal Jimoh

      Hello sir Michael!

      How beautiful your penning I can’t quantify quintessential quality of a quite quiet quick pen. I doff my hat here at all times.

      I can’t appreciate you enough of which I got the improvement I sought for in my writing, the training, you took me through on Facebook, awesome you! My account was later finally blocked by Mark Zukerberg and the Facebook team on those two pieces, poems, I posted with the writing learning codes, “L002AD” and “L003AE”, titled, “Questions to Facebook” and “Sometimes Facebook”.

      Thanks a bunch,
      sir Michael Burch.

      Lawal Jimoh,
      Lagos, Nigeria.

      Reply
  1. Yvette Beshier

    One Thing People Hate to Admit.

    Yvette Beshier, East Orange, New Jersey

    I
    lie.

    Reply
  2. Sathyanarayana

    To rhyme thy writ!
    Search where my wit?
    It’s all in whits…
    oh how to knit?

    Reply
  3. Yvette Beshier

    Seafood Festival Fun

    Yvette Beshier, East Orange, New Jersey

    Grab, crab.

    Reply
  4. David Hollywood

    Old Age

    What seasons doth a life gone past?
    As ventures! do they show,
    A body aged, and wisest cast,
    Into an embers glow.

    Past Tomorrows

    Past tomorrows, come and stay,
    Timed pressed presents, gifts today,
    Passing backwards, thoughts that say,
    Gentle times, now gone a way.

    David Hollywood, presently: Villars – sur – Ollon, Switzerland

    Reply
  5. Carole Mertz

    Carole Mertz lives in Parma, Ohio.

    Title: To the Progeny of a Bi-racial Marriage

    Transcend the blend

    Reply
  6. Carole Mertz

    Carole Mertz of Parma, Ohio

    Fatigued by a Loquacious Friend

    Gab, grab cab

    Reply
  7. Dusty Grein

    ~ Oregon State, US ~

    [Broken Trust]
    You lied… I cried,
    then died inside.

    [Clarity]
    For disambiguation,
    just eschew obfuscation.

    Reply
  8. Suchitra Das

    (Survival)
    Seeds feed needs.

    (Freedom)
    Uncaged bird;
    Music heard.

    Fremont, CA

    Reply
  9. C.B. Anderson

    Transcendental

    Thoreau
    Wrote slow.

    Self-reliant

    That Ralph
    Was top-shelf.

    Reply
  10. Amy Foreman

    Amy Foreman of Cascabel, Arizona

    Short Poem Rules

    This sort
    Of sport
    Is short.
    Don’t snort.

    My song,
    So strong,
    Not wrong,
    Or long,

    Is brief
    Relief,
    A chief
    Motif

    That’s small,
    Withal,
    To all
    Enthrall.

    Reply
  11. Amy Foreman

    Amy Foreman of Cascabel, Arizona

    A Parent’s Advice on Winning:

    To my children, on winning:

    Don’t shun
    The one
    Outdone,
    My son.

    Reply
  12. James A. Tweedie

    Unintentional poems I have actually seen.

    A sign in Logan, Utah:

    City Center
    Parking Enter

    A postage cancellation mark from South Australia

    Postage Paid
    Adelaide

    Reply
  13. Jack Michael Dashiell

    Romantic Summary
    When you approach my frequency ascends,
    When you depart it falls and slowly ends.

    Reply
  14. Joe Tessitore

    Overheard at Ballet Class

    “Pirouette?”
    “No, yet!”

    Reply
  15. Marie-Anna

    fabric hate
    fabricated

    yam yum

    sending again…left out place South Africa

    Reply
  16. Bernnard Austin

    oh,mysterious time,
    tick tick tick tick…
    you keep singing to our ears,
    Telling us the end is near,

    Bernnard Austin, Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  17. David Watt

    David Watt, Canberra, Australia

    Slow Service

    We ate at eight.
    Too late!

    Reply
  18. Joe Tessitore

    Since I didn’t know that my example was going to be an entry can I add a second line to it so it reads:

    one ant can’t
    three? maybe

    Joe Tessitore
    New York, NY

    Reply
  19. Lou Fortunato

    Lou Fortunato, Apex, North Carolina

    My Humor…

    I dribble drivel

    Reply
  20. Shiny Titus

    Shiny Titus , New York
    Epitome of Love
    “For your embrace
    I forego paradise “

    Reply
  21. Mutshidzi Kwinda, Eastern Cape, South Africa

    To my cancer scars

    The eloquence, a sign of survival
    Either visible or hidden, you are a symbol of bravery
    The essence, definition of a fighting warrior, a phenomenal
    A knock of a slight oblivious rage-subconscious trickery

    Let the soul pour out a lavish smile of pride
    It is flesh not soul injured, you assured
    From a broken temple, courage and bliss you provide
    A panacea of battles fought and conquered

    To you is hidden a million intriguing reasons why?
    The reason you exist is perplexing yet amusing and greater
    A mark only a warrior can imprint with no shy
    A vanquisher, fighter… A true victor!

    I admire you
    I embrace you

    Reply
  22. Carmine Jablonsky

    To make or spend
    To earn or burn
    Hunt or feast
    Bliss in the end

    Reply
  23. Leo Yankevich

    RUSSIAN ROULETTE

    Bang, poof, the devils dance!
    Neither side had a chance.

    Trumpster showed his dukes.
    and Putin sent back nukes.

    —Leo Yankevich, Gliwice, Poland

    Reply
  24. Leo Yankevich

    RUSSIAN ROULETTE

    Bang, poof, the devils dance!
    Neither side had a chance.

    Trumpster showed his dukes,
    and Putin sent back nukes.

    —Leo Yankevich, Gliwice, Poland

    Reply
  25. Sathyanarayana

    This tome, a song of holy om;
    a roaming soul’s journey along
    the yonder dome, ov’r ocean foam
    to reach the home, we all belong.
    (This poem is from my book FINDING THE MOTHER , published in 2012)
    Sathyanarayana,
    Nellore, India

    Reply
  26. Bruce E. Wren

    Meditation on Aging

    Such amazement
    at where his days went!

    Reply
  27. Leonard Dabydeen

    Invitation

    Visitor is a critter.

    Wall Tab

    Stick ‘um with gum.

    Leonard Dabydeen, Brampton, Ontario.

    Reply
  28. Tonya McQuade

    Tonya McQuade, San Jose, CA

    Don’t be a fool;
    School is cool,
    Not your Juul.

    Reply
    • Jose Rizal M. Reyes

      I’ve stopped smoking for a month or two by now without Juul. 🙂

      But I was wondering earlier today if … I can smoke during my birthday and a month thereafter (being the birthday of my namesake). That means being able to smoke during the said two days each year.

      If you were my fairy godmother, Tonya, would you grant to me those two days when I could enjoy the right and freedom to smoke? It means I wouldn’t still smoke for the rest of the year.

      Jose RMR

      Reply
      • Jose Rizal M. Reyes

        Please reply quickly. There are only a few hours left in my current birthday. 🙁

      • Tonya McQuade

        If you’re able to limit yourself to those two days a year, then sure, go for it if it makes you happy. Happy Birthday!

      • Jose Rizal M. Reyes

        Too late the heroine. My birthday is over 🙁

        But comes June 19, I’ll consider what you said. I posted my 2 entries right before your first. And you mentioned Juul which I found out is related to smoking. Maybe it was a divine sign … that you have been appointed by Heaven … to decide on the two-day privilege or indulgence … that I was contemplating on. Thanks.

      • Tonya McQuade

        Hi Again – I would not ever encourage you to use heroin, even on your birthday. You asked whether I thought it was okay to smoke a Juul twice a year (at least that’s what I thought you asked). To that, I said go ahead, if you can do so without being addicted. I personally hate any kind of smoking, and a lot of middle and high school students have recently taken to smoking Juuls, thinking they are “cool” and not as bad for them as cigarettes. They can be equally addictive and are a very bad choice, especially for young people – that’s why I wrote the poem I did.

    • Jose Rizal M. Reyes

      Hi Tonya! I don’t know what Juul is. I first met the word in your post. It had a strange, unusual spelling so I looked up for its meaning. My understanding was that it was some sort of a safe substitute substance or something — just like candy or chewing gum, for instance.

      So what I meant was I stopped smoking cigarette for a month or two without the aid or Juul or anything. I simply quit smoking (which I offered to God in exchange for healing my mother who developed a rare disease in her blood vessels.)

      I was thus surprised by your mention of heroine. I have never taken any drugs in all my life … and grew up in a culture where drug addicts … were looked down upon. Cigarette is — or was — my sole vice. I drink very occasionally but I can live without it. But when I do drink, I only enjoy it if … I am smoking. So if I would celebrate my birthday with a drink, for instance, I could only enjoy the drink if I can smoke cigarette at the same time.

      Reply
  29. Bruce E. Wren

    Meditation on Aging

    So múch amázement
    At whére his dáys went.

    (Variation on first submission; accents added to clarify stressed syllables)

    Reply
  30. Luke Knutson

    Aurora, Illinois

    Title: A Plea from SAT Questions Twenty-Seven to Thirty-Three

    BAD DAD

    Reply
  31. Nathan Evans

    Nathan Evans, Baltimore OH

    “Love Emancipated”
    First Kiss
    Heart’s bliss

    “Waking Nightmare”
    Decaf morn’, forewarn!

    Reply
  32. Jason Larsen

    The functional way
    Of feng shui

    Jason W Larsen, Connecticut

    Reply
  33. Dylan R.T. Gibbons, Toronto, ON

    “Discontent from Living in an Ugly City”

    There is no quaint churchyard for which to speak
    Or romantic tumult for which to peek;
    And the only place I can read my Keats
    Is at home, in bed, atop linen sheets.

    Reply
  34. Adina Wagner

    Adina Wagner, Brunschweig (GER)

    I lived. And died.
    But I tried.

    Reply
  35. Jack Michael Dashiell

    Romantic Couplet
    For love at first sight, spreading waves begin,
    We most perceive the content, not the skin.

    Reply
  36. John Rumbley

    I have already submitted these two entries but probably to the wrong web address. Please pardon me if they are duplications.

    Motivation

    Gun?
    Run!

    Bede’s Need

    “Need mead!”
    Cried Bede.

    Reply
  37. Bruce Edward Wren

    I already submitted this one, but forgot to add my name and general area of residence below, so here goes:

    Meditation on Aging

    Such amazement
    At where his days went.

    Bruce Wren, Chicago Illinois

    Reply
  38. Dipanwita mahata

    “Roses are red voilets are blue you are my mummy and I love you”.

    Reply
  39. Kendyll G

    Kendyll Gambone, Royersford PA
    “Free Nation”
    It is our right to speak
    until it is our right to remain silent

    Reply
  40. Kendyll G

    Kendyll Gambone, Royersford PA
    “Lost History”
    Call me paper back
    Even my ashes tell a better story

    Reply
  41. B. L. Pérez

    [Title: “Portuguese from the Sonnets III”]

    Mine, with pulses, beats double thine;
    Thine double, beats pulses, with mine.

    [Bio: B. L. Pérez; Fuchū, Japan]

    [Notes/Hints: chiasmus-like, palindrome-like (not sure there’s a word for it)]

    Reply
  42. Daniel Galef

    Daniel Galef, Montreal, QC

    Budget Honeymoon

    For us,
    a bus.

    Reply
  43. Daniel Galef

    ***I put this in the comments above, but it looks like the website took it out as spam: Both of the poems I posted have been previously published, which I hope is no issue. I tried to put the URL underneath, but the comments showed up without them. Just FYI, “Budget Honeymoon” was printed in Light Quarterly in 2015, and “Much Fun” was printed in LUPO in 2017. Both are available for reprinting if desired.

    Reply
  44. Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

    Something we don’t say

    Aye
    I
    Lie

    Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto, Nigeria

    Reply
  45. Edmund Jonah

    Infinity, Oh Divinity,
    Makes my eyes weep.
    Give me immunity prom continuity.
    Forever, Let me sleep, and sleep, and sleep.

    Reply
  46. Annabelle Fuller

    Annabelle Fuller – Yorkshire, England

    Neptune

    A Divine
    From the brine.

    Reply
  47. wendy lee klenetsky

    Overheard At The Bar-be-que:

    “Franks? “Thanks!”

    Reply
  48. Juleigh Howard-Hobson

    Martyr’s Imperative

    I
    Die.

    Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Cascadia USA

    Reply
  49. Juleigh Howard-Hobson

    Grass=Milk

    How
    Cow?

    Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Cascadia USA

    Reply
  50. Jeff Morgan

    The cold and bearded heaven
    looms ready to hurl his scepter of levin,
    an atonement from the barb of a sheep.

    Reply
  51. Skip Hughes

    Skip Hughes of central Indiana

    Even Though God Didn’t Give Me Wings

    I
    Fly.

    Reply
  52. Katherine Todd

    Katherine Todd
    Manhattan, KS

    First Submission/Saving Grace:
    What chases you in your nightmares
    is what you send to your god in prayers.

    Second Submission/Wilting:
    Wilting flowers in a vase
    get thrown away with great haste,
    and I see the smile slide off your face.

    Reply
  53. Cathy Watness

    Cathy Watness
    Indianapolis, IN

    Trump America

    Tariff risen prison.

    Reply
  54. Cathy Watness

    Cathy Watness
    Indianapolis, IN

    Death’s Oxygen

    Meth breath of Death.

    Reply
  55. Paris Providence

    “River Bodies”

    There are shadows,
    In the shallows.

    End

    Reply
  56. Damian Balassone

    The Epigrams

    The epigrams of Wilde
    console the tortured child.

    Damian Balassone, Australia

    Reply
  57. matthew scott harris

    ineluctable legal tender
    one Benjamin current enticement.

    Reply
  58. SAJAL KUMAR PAL

    Melancholy –

    Alone in crowd
    He is nobody,
    But proud.

    Reply
  59. Abdul Wahab Lawal

    Me. We.
    Vanity. Humanity.
    Choose, ye.

    Abdul Wahab Lawal, Lagos, Nigeria.

    Reply
  60. Abdul Wahab Lawal

    Abdul Wahab Lawal, Lagos, Nigeria

    Mother
    She almost murders her soul
    To mother your whole
    Mother her.

    Reply
  61. Edward Hayes

    June 2, 2018

    Here, for better or [much] worse, my pale effort:

    True poets’ lot:
    To be forgot

    And in defense of the above, slightly longer, but by any standard brief:

    True, a shorter might be found
    But none such fun, or more profound

    Ted Hayes
    Elkton Virginia

    Reply
  62. Justin Zhang

    Justin Zhang, Rockville Maryland

    The end transcends to infinity

    Hi
    Bye,

    Reply
  63. theodore eisenberg

    Theodore Eisenberg
    North Caldwell, NJ

    Limns

    Palms alms qualms psalms
    Tomes domes oms poems

    Reply
  64. Justin Zhang

    Justin Zhang, Rockville Maryland

    Title: on a boat in the white sea

    seasick with the Bolsheviks

    Reply
  65. Brady Alexander

    Brady Alexander, Louisville, Kentucky

    “Blueprints for a All Life”

    1.) Fizzy
    2.) Dizzy
    3.) Busy

    4.) Done
    5.) and Gone.

    Reply
    • Brady Alexander

      I’m so sorry, I totally goofed.

      The title should be “Blueprints for All Life.”
      If anybody knows how to edit my comment, you can totally hit me up

      Reply
  66. Michael Vines

    old days and
    lives

    for what I
    long

    with tear stained
    hands

    the cold stone
    kept

    Reply
  67. Richard Knickerbocker

    Too Much

    When we take on too much
    more often than not we might
    accomplish quite a lot
    with not
    one thing taken on done right.

    Reply
  68. Kafilah Sulaimon

    I, TOO, WEAR BEAUTY

    Sometimes,
    I want to open my hijab,
    and show the world,
    …that I too,
    am beautiful in the people’s definition.
    But, deep down here,
    in my huge heart,
    I know that beauty is by definition, a mystery.
    And it is forever more rewarding,
    to be beautiful in God’s eyes.

    Sometimes,
    I want to wear ruffled dressed and tight jeans,
    show off what I really look like,
    under those baggy shirts and loosely fitted pants,
    make a statement,
    that I too,
    have a figure and worth looking at.
    But, I know better,
    to avoid entering the world of men’s imagination,
    for I love my future husband,
    and I am ashamed,
    what should be his, has already been unveiled by others.

    Sometimes,
    I want to show the world,
    the other side of me,
    in the raw, buff and crazier me.
    Put myself on display,
    for everyone to see,
    to be desired and admired upon.
    But, I know that eyes are not just eyes,
    seeing is not just seeing,
    Image and respect are gained,
    Shame and humility deserve a better place.
    I too wear beauty.

    Reply
  69. Richard Knickerbocker, Dartmouth, MA

    Modern Poetry

    When I ponder
    modern poetry
    in words that don’t
    connect or complement,
    I hang them out to wonder
    then wonder why I bother
    to figure out just what
    that author meant.

    Reply
  70. J. M. Lambert

    On the need to appreciate art.

    “Behoove the Louvre”

    Reply
  71. Julia McGinness

    It’s going to be a beautiful day
    Because I’ll make it that way
    And you will see that I am right
    Before today turns into tonight

    Reply
  72. Bruce Deckert

    Bruce Deckert — Greater Hartford, Connecticut

    #1
    Wise Career Advice to LeBron James When He Was a High School Senior
    Go pro!

    #2
    Jeopardy Redux: Alex, “How Am I Able to See?” for $1,000
    My eye.

    Reply
  73. Jais C.K.

    Jais C.K.
    Kottayam, Kerala.

    BURDEN

    Excess of my treasure
    Increases blood pressure

    Reply
  74. Jais C.K.

    Jais C.K.
    Kottayam, Kerala.

    The Road to Life

    I miss
    Accident’s kiss

    Reply
  75. Victoria Crawford

    Worrying About International Relations

    China
    gives
    angina

    Reply
  76. Owoh ugonna

    My grandmother lifted her dark veil
    It fell on my grandfather’s dead cell

    Reply
  77. Owoh ugonna

    I want to ask my grandmother
    If till death us path is her new wedding with my grandfather

    Reply
  78. J. Simon Harris

    J. Simon Harris, Raleigh, NC

    “On the Homeric Hymns”

    A Homer
    misnomer.

    *Footnote: the Homeric hymns were probably not written by Homer.

    Reply
  79. Mrs. Mary Joshy

    Mary Joshy
    Vazhakulam, Kerala, India

    Flower and Nail

    A good man’s words may soothe us like a rose
    A bad one’s often fix us to a cross

    Reply
  80. Mrs. Mary Joshy

    Vazhakulam, Kerala, India

    Vegetarian

    Chicken in kitchen sickens me

    Reply
  81. Johann Sergl

    Hörgertshausen, Bavaria, Germany

    The struggle of a dying art

    Information in sensation?

    Reply
    • Johann Sergl

      Hörgertshausen, Bavaria, Germany

      The forgotten first verse

      Fright makes might,

      Reply
  82. Isaac Foreman

    Jacob Foreman (son of Amy Foreman), Cascabel, AZ

    Poem #1 “My Old Farm”

    Airplanes fly low
    Over milo,
    And the silo
    Stands so tall.

    Poem #2 “The Stuck Pig”

    See the hog
    In the bog
    Through the fog
    And the smog?

    Reply
  83. Isaac Foreman

    Grace Foreman (daughter of Amy Foreman), Cascabel, AZ

    Poem 1: “Tax Time”

    Take some pills
    For all your ills,
    Then go ahead
    And pay the bills.

    Poem 2: “Uncle Fred’s Haircut”

    “Get all ready,
    Uncle Freddy;
    Just hold steady
    For Aunt Letty.”

    Reply
  84. Louisa Foreman

    Ben Foreman (son of Amy Foreman), Cascabel, AZ

    Poem #1: “Double-Fudge Ripple”

    Taste this cream;
    It’s so supreme,
    Just like a dream,
    It makes me scream.

    Poem #2: “Cheesemaking”

    Find a way
    To weigh
    The whey.

    Reply
  85. Dan Gallagher, New Zealand

    Why bees don’t have knees

    Stems
    Wreck’em

    Reply
  86. Dan Gallagher, New Zealand

    How the snake knew the apple in the Garden of Eden was poisonous

    It
    Bit

    Reply

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