From La Vraye Histoire du Bon Roy AlixandrePoetry Challenge: Write a Square Poem The Society May 14, 2019 Culture, Poetry, Riddles 20 Comments by David Watt I recently came across the following “square poem” attributed to Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carrol). Please note that each of the six lines may be read horizontally, or vertically from top to bottom. I often wondered when I cursed, Often feared where I would be— Wondered where she’d yield her love, When I yield, so will she. I would her will be pitied! Cursed be love! She pitied me … Out of curiosity, and the desire to tackle an unusual form, I wrote the following square poem: Squarely Behind Me I saw no need to stay, Saw nothing good may follow on; No good could find me there— Need may find a better way. To follow me, better lay behind! Stay on there, way behind me! In case you still don’t get it, see this visual guide. The lines work how they normally do, left to right, top to bottom, but are also mimicked vertically, such that the first line is recreated from the first word of each line, the second line is recreated from the second word of each line, and so on: I saw no need to stay, SAW nothing good may follow on; NO good could find me there— NEED may find a better way. TO follow me, better lay behind! STAY on there, way behind me! In a similar vein to Amy Foreman’s “Poetry Puzzle” of March 2018, fellow contributors are invited to post their own “square poems” in the comments section below. There is no set requirement for the line length and number of lines. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 20 Responses James A. Tweedie May 14, 2019 Here’s my off-the-cuff attempt to rise to the challenge, an odd-numbered square of sevens: Take my love, my life, and take My heart and all that’s in me. Love and hold it as your own; My all! It begs you, own me! Life that’s as you will; heart-set, And in your own heart, love me. Take me! Own me! Set me free! Reply James Ph. Kotsybar May 14, 2019 Excellent! Reply David Watt May 14, 2019 Hello James. For an off-the-cuff attempt, your poem is very good. Also, the greater square number increases the level of difficulty. Reply James A. Tweedie May 14, 2019 David, I appreciated your reference to Amy’s A-Z challenge last year. There were a host of submissions added that I hadn’t seen, including some from the past few weeks! A gift that keeps on giving! Also, one of Amy’s comments includes her attempt at what I now know to be a “Square Poem.” I’m not sure she even knew what it was at the time. Thanks for the challenge. Nancy Weber May 15, 2019 I often worry when I verse– Often fear my words won’t rhyme, Worry meter will be worse. When to hear? Midnight–late! “Dear mate, averse to reciting one more time?” “I won’t be averse to delighting your ears and mine.” Verse, I’m writing, mere verse; sweet liar, he avers a mid-May Valentine…. Reply David Watt May 15, 2019 Thanks Nancy, You have highlighted the perennial concern of all formal poets: consistent rhyme and meter. Reply Angelic May 15, 2019 Daydreaming of days in the day Of the days, I dream of Days I daydream of the day In the day I daydream of The day, I daydream of days Day is the day I daydream Reply David Watt May 15, 2019 Thanks James, Amy’s highly successful A-Z challenge has generated much interest, and continues to do so. You’re right in pointing out Amy’s poem, which is quite close to being in the form of a “Square Poem”. Reply Mark Stone May 15, 2019 Here are two poems. No collusion, no obstruction. Collusion, frame-up, basis unproven. No basis for charges. Obstruction, unproven charges, vindication. No justice, no peace. Justice denied, consensus impossible. No consensus, swelling anger. Peace impossible, anger explodes. Reply Evan Mantyk May 15, 2019 Hahaha, thank you, Mr. Stone, I enjoyed the first square poem! Very timely. Reply Mark Stone May 15, 2019 Evan, You’re welcome. And, just to be clear, the two poems are not intended to be connected. The first is about President Trump and the second relates to perceived injustices in our criminal justice system in general. Avery Miller May 16, 2019 Dolls have eyes like daughters. Have eyes like daughters they. Eyes like daughters they pass; Like daughters they pass away. Daughters, they pass away, alas! Reply James A. Tweedie May 16, 2019 Nice mathematical solution, Avery. No doubt Dodgson would be pleased! Reply Avery May 16, 2019 Thank you. I used graph paper! Reply Alexander Ream May 17, 2019 …these geometric endeavors are very impressive and very challenging also. Reply Amy Foreman May 17, 2019 What fun, David! And you are right, James, that I wrote a “sorta” square poem in the comments section of the ABC poetry puzzle a year ago! Now I know what it’s called. Here is this morning’s attempt–making all the lines rhyme leaves the last line with ALL rhymes, but it’s kind of fun that way: Shakespeare (Gets Burned) In Love I have fought both long and hard. Have a look; my hands stay scarred– Fought. Look, dear one: Hold! En Garde! Both my one-time loves now barred. Long hands hold love’s pain-ful shard, And stay on, now full though charred: Hard-scarred guard, barred shard, charred Bard. Reply James A. Tweedie May 17, 2019 rofl “Both my one-time loves now barred” I’ll be chewing on that line (with a smile) for a long time! Bravo, Amy! Reply Amy Foreman May 17, 2019 Haha, . . . Thanks, James! Well, far be it from me to speculate on the Bard’s love-life, but if there WERE more than one, then this line has them both covered. 🙂 Reply David Watt May 17, 2019 Amy, what an amusing, and creative look at the bard’s long-lost loves! You have also come up with a novel variation on the ‘square poem.’ Well done! Reply Amy Foreman May 17, 2019 Thanks, David. So glad to know what this sort of poem is called! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.