Write a rhyming poem that works as either ten lines of tetrameter or eight lines of pentameter. Post it in the comments section below. This challenge comes from poet Paul Erlandson who learned of it some time ago from his friend Russ Smith. Paul’s example is below:

.

A Winter’s Eucharist (London, 1990)

A winter’s Eucharist I took
At noon, with Cranmer’s little book
My fork and spoon to eat the bread
Of heaven as we sung and read,
The blood of Jesus on my tongue.
St. Paul’s Cathedral round me rung
With late echoes of Donne and Wren.
How very great out God is then
Who on His wise wheel spun the sun,
As well as Messrs. Wren and Donne!

.

A winter’s Eucharist I took at noon,
With Cranmer’s little book my fork and spoon
To eat the bread of heaven as we sung—
(And red the blood of Jesus on my tongue).
St. Paul’s Cathedral round me rung with late
Echoes of Donne and Wren. How very great
Our God is then, who on His wise wheel spun
The sun, as well as Messrs. Wren and Donne!

.

.


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42 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    As Summer Slowly Fades Away to Fall

    As summer slowly fades away
    To fall, with every shortening day
    The cheerful call of meadowlarks
    Grows silent in the trees and parks,
    As cooler air stirs memories
    Of winter with each morning breeze.
    And when the golden leaves are shed,
    The branches then, though seeming dead,
    Will celebrate the days and raise
    Their hands upward to God in praise.

    As summer slowly fades away to fall,
    With every shortening day the cheerful call
    Of Meadowlarks grows silent in the trees
    And parks, as cooler air stirs memories
    Of winter with each morning breeze. And when
    The golden leaves have shed, the branches then,
    Though seeming dead, will celebrate the days
    And raise their hands upward to God in praise.

    Reply
    • Paul W Erlandson

      Mr. Tweedie …

      Just excellent! You hit all the marks, with nothing seeming forced, and it all rolls up to a very satisfying conclusion!

      I am very impressed!

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        Paul, thanks for both the kind word as well as for the challenge itself. As for your own fine poem I was drawn back to a number of happy memories of worship, concerts and general awe in several visits to St. Paul’s dating back to 1966, although I do not recall ever receiving Communion there. Your riff on Wren and Donne was clever and (of course) well donne.

      • Sandi Christie

        It was terrific and it took him at least 5 or even 6 minutes to complete it. (He was slacking!)

    • Leonard Dabydeen

      Splendid. Beautiful flow of thoughts and excellent rhyme scheme. Enjoy the read, James A. Tweedie.

      Reply
    • Roy E. Peterson

      James, I am really taken with your great matching twin tetrameter and pentameter poems. I have reread them several times. Not only does the rhyme and meter fit, but the words and final lines inspire!

      Reply
    • Michelle O'Brien

      I LOVE that so much!!! What a great poem and great metre, it was a pleasure to read outloud to myself x2 🙂 Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Joe Tessitore

    Hats off to Mr. Earlandson and Mr. Tweedie and to anyone else who manages to submit one of these.
    What a truly remarkable accomplishment!

    Reply
  3. Julian D. Woodruff

    “Eights are my size, but tens feel so good I wear twelves”—Adage I heard in elementary school from Thomas Caldwell, violinist extraordinaire

    Wear It Anyway

    As my first music teacher used
    to say to students, quite amused,
    “You know, eights are the size that fit
    these poor, sore feet. But hey, no bit
    as good as tens are they—by far
    the size that I prefer. You are
    aware, twelves have their points. In thick
    new woolen hose my feet feel sick,
    and sweat if there’s no air that flows
    to make a draft around my toes.”

    As my first music teacher used to say,
    to students, quite amused, “You know, eights are
    the size that fit these poor, sore feet. But hey,
    no bit as good as tens are they—by far
    the size that I prefer. You are aware,
    twelves have their points. In thick new woolen hose
    my feet feel sick, and sweat if there’s no air
    that flows to make a draft around my toes.”

    Reply
  4. Jeff Kemper

    A Brief Colloquy

    At fifty-five I said to Sue,
    “Dear Sue who bore me children, two,
    Oh don’t you wish with me that we
    Had had some more by count of three
    To bring our offspring count to five?
    What joy would we by now derive!”
    Said she, “My darling Jeff, old boy,
    Five kids you say? Would you annoy
    Me with more chaos and more pain?
    Oh tell me true: Are you insane?”

    When I was fifty-five I told my wife,
    Who bore us offspring numbering two, “Our life
    Would be the richer, darling Sue, if we
    Had had more children by a count of three.
    Five kids. O wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
    Said she, “Oh darling Jeff, a blunder-full
    Household our home might be, besides the pain
    In excess for poor me. Are you insane?”

    Reply
      • Jeff Kemper

        I’m sorry, I missed that you were calling for the same words and word order throughout! Ack!

  5. Sandi Christie

    That Place Within the Heart

    As the light fades into the break
    Of dawn, and still I lie awake
    As night drags on into the birth
    Of just another day on earth.
    I take a moment now to pray,
    Transported very far away
    Outside of time where timelessness
    Is testified at Your Address.
    That place within the heart of Hearts
    Where we can never be apart.

    As the light fades into the break of dawn
    And still, I lie awake as night drags on
    Into the birth of just another day
    On earth. I take a moment now to pray,
    Transported very far away outside
    Of time where timelessness is testified
    At Your Address. That place within the heart
    Of Hearts where we can never be apart.

    Reply
  6. Ryan P. Tunison

    Distant Over Ocean Bounds

    Distant over ocean bounds I
    Oft hear beauties at leisured lie,
    In songful sneer upon the rock
    Of sailors’ woe where hulls did knock,
    Desperate to escape the lulls
    That sweet did sound over wave rolls.
    They come by tide, these myths, to meet
    Me as a hum far incomplete
    Like that attempt my heart to dart
    Away from what love does impart.

    Distant over ocean bounds I oft hear
    Beauties at leisured lie, in songful sneer
    Upon the rock of sailors’ woe where hulls
    Did knock, desperate to escape the lulls
    That sweet did sound over wave rolls. They come
    By tide, these myths, to meet me as a hum
    Far incomplete like that attempt my heart
    To dart away from what love does impart.

    Reply
  7. Mia

    The Eternal Soul

    The eternal soul comes down as a flame to shine,
    Like a lantern to glow on this earth and to light
    Some kindness and love to banish the cold,
    But the heart of the human can be selfish and bold
    It is full of its needs and refuses to spark,
    Like a snake in the desert that hides in the sand
    It will burrow with stealth and will bite all at hand
    For it knows how to poison until nothing can stand;
    But this heart will not last, like a stone it will smash
    And the flame will ignite with the fire of God’s wrath.

    Reply
    • Mia

      Sorry got the brief wrong. Thought we could choose to write either in tetrameter or pentameter ( although reading all the other brilliantly crafted poems should have given me a clue…)
      As this poem is supposed to be anapaestic tetrameter it is not going to work so well in pentameter.

      Reply
      • Ravi Choks

        Guess at times we all get things wrong. But one wrong led to one right- a beautiful poem you penned!! So it’s par for the course!

  8. Leonard Dabydeen

    BIKE RIDER

    When I was just thirteen and three
    The youth of life belonged to me.
    Or so I thought, riding my bike
    With gusto and speed as I liked.
    The girls coming off a school bus
    Would turn their eyes without a fuss,
    Knowing that Leo was passing
    Riding his bike, bell was ringing.
    Until that particular day
    It rained. I slipped, fell. Poor display.

    PELICANS

    Morning at the sea-shore, watch pelicans
    Silently waiting, no politicians
    Casting a vote for their first wind-rush meal.
    All keeping a keen eye for the prize; deal.
    To each his own around the mound of rock
    Where the fishes will falter on the dock.
    With azure sky and early morning sun,
    The pelicans watch shoreline breakfast run.

    Reply
  9. Richard Lackman

    The beauty all around me-Richard Lackman

    I saw a bluebird fly today
    Across the field, across the bay
    And though this was a common thing
    Somehow it caused my heart to sing
    I realized in seeing this
    All the beauty I daily miss
    And so much goodness I don‘t see
    I wonder what is wrong with me
    We are so blessed to just be here
    How can I forget life so dear

    I saw a bluebird flying on the wing
    And realized ‘twas such a pretty thing
    How had I never seen this sight before
    Have I been blinded to this and much more
    I don’t appreciate all that I see
    As obvious as this is now to me
    Oh God remind me how much I am blessed
    Consider all my errors now confessed

    Reply
  10. Paul Freeman

    The Canterbury Tales – General Prologue Extract

    When April frees its soothing rain,
    the drought of March is deftly slain
    and put to rout, while every leaf
    and every moistened root brings grief
    to Winter through Pan’s springtime flute.
    The West Wind breathes on every shoot
    and stirs the verdant grass, the trees,
    the heathland furze while o’er the breeze
    a newly-minted eye aims high,
    ascending England’s vernal sky.

    When April frees its soothing rain, the drought
    of March is deftly slain and put to rout,
    while every leaf and every moistened root
    brings grief to Winter through Pan’s springtime flute.
    The West Wind breathes on every shoot and stirs
    the verdant grass, the trees, the heathland furze
    while o’er the breeze the newly-minted eye
    aims high, ascending England’s vernal sky.

    Reply
      • Paul Freeman

        Thanks, Paul. Your excellent example set a high bar, added to which it helps that I’m a great Chaucer aficionado.

  11. Mia

    Thank you so much for another fun and educative challenge.

    Riplejaberock

    ‘Twas dillam and the fovis ploves
    Did dryme and dundle in the jabe
    All fovos were the dromogoves
    And the Dom Gurs outjabe.

    “Beware the Riplejaberock my son,
    The nive that stings, the prod that smarts!
    Beware the Jabjab bird and shun
    The foderous kindersnatch!”

    Reply
    • Mia

      Now Mr Anderson if you said this was a watermelon I would agree with you.
      Only because it doesn’t belong here. In fact I might say, in this instance you were being kind as it is more of a mash potato as far as this challenge is concerned.
      I will leave it for another day and another kind of challenge but perhaps
      I should ask you very kindly to remove it.

      Reply
  12. David Watt

    A Bottomless Appetite

    I had a dog of breed unknown
    To light my days when all alone,
    And firmly bite the rump of those
    Who dared disturb my sweet repose.
    I thought my restful life complete;
    As bitten callers, in defeat,
    Would make a dash for safer zones.
    But armed with steak and juicy bones,
    They overcame their fears. Through tears
    I saw that tender cuts beat rears!

    I had a dog of breed unknown to light
    My days when all alone, and firmly bite
    The rump of those who dared disturb my sweet
    Repose. I thought my restful life complete;
    As bitten callers, in defeat, would make
    A dash for safer zones. But armed with steak
    And juicy bones, they overcame their fears.
    Through tears I saw that tender cuts beat rears!

    Reply
  13. Ravi Choks

    A NEW LOVEFIELD

    Eyeball to eyeball, ol’ foes met
      On field to settle one blood debt
      That has not healed and shall not heal
      For aeons more to come- they squeal
      And wail and cry and stay so glum
      Soon we sháll hear beat of war drum
      Alarmed earth waits with bated breath
      Will it be harmed? Dark stare of death
      None wish- But now they sigh- guess why?
      Their kids eloped beyond blue sky!!

       Eyeball to eyeball, ol’ foes met on field
       To settle one blood debt that has not healed
       And shall not heal for aeons more to come
       They squeal and wail and cry and stay so glum
       Soon we sháll hear beat of war drum- alarmed
       Earth waits with bated breath- Will it be harmed?
      Dark stare of death none wish- But now they sigh
      Guess why? Their kids eloped beyond blue sky!!

    Reply
    • Ravi Choks

      A NEW LOVEFIELD

      Eyeball to eyeball, ol’ foes met
        On field to settle one blood debt
        That has not healed and shall not heal
        For aeons more to come- they squeal
        And wail and cry and stay so glum
        Soon we sháll hear beat of war drum
        Alarmed earth waits with bated breath
        Will it be harmed? Dark stare of death
        None wish- But now they sigh- guess why?
        Their kids eloped ‘yond yonder sky!!

         Eyeball to eyeball, ol’ foes met on field
         To settle one blood debt that has not healed
         And shall not heal for aeons more to come
         They squeal and wail and cry and stay so glum
         Soon we sháll hear beat of war drum- alarmed
         Earth waits with bated breath- Will it be harmed?
        Dark stare of death none wish- But now they sigh
        Guess why? Their kids eloped ‘yond yonder sky!!

      Reply
      • Mia

        Thank you for your very kind comment
        and well done to you for succeeding at such
        a difficult challenge.
        Mia

  14. Mia

    I was going to write that I hope this is third time lucky.
    But I have learned from Mr Salemi, that poetry is
    hard work rather than luck. Thank you.
    This challenge is really difficult but well worth it.
    And Thank you Mr Erlandson.

    When ewes for shelter search
    And new life seeks the light,
    When fine, tender shoots unwind
    And snowdrops peep beneath
    The melting ice, these sights do point
    ’Tis time to plough and plant and sow.
    Now is the time to leave the hearth
    And blaze just as the generous earth
    Itself bestirs, in wishing to bestow,
    Another glorious and abundant show.

    When sturdy ewes for shelter search
    And sleepy, dormant life awakes at last,
    When delicate, trembling shoots grow fast
    And shy snowdrops peep, serene and fresh,
    Beneath the melting ice, these sights do show
    ’Tis time to plough and plant and sow. It’s time
    To leave the hearth and blaze just as the generous
    Earth, to give, a glorious and abundant show.

    Reply
    • Ravi Choks

      I too must thank for comments nice
      What more an artist wish in life
      We write to seek infinite peace
      To hide hewn heart from mundane strife

      Reply
  15. Miqa

    The marionette with no strings attached,
    After every performance, wooden bones collapse.
    Her ringing ears collecting dust,
    A puppeteers strings rely only on trust.
    She slouches when no one is watching,
    The sting of the encore approaching.
    An audience that has no faces,
    She’s tired of the constant praises.
    A portrait of Van Gogh
    The rise and fall of a puppet show.

    The marionette with no strings attached
    Her passion, roaring, remains unmatched.
    With ever graceful step, a new bridge is burned,
    For every ticked bought, a new brown bruise is earned.
    With rosy lips and a blood stained cheek,
    From the same crimson face, salty tears leak.
    And after every bow, the night draws near,
    She waves to the crowd, still smiling out of fear.

    Reply
  16. Stephen Kingsnorth

    Cornish Methodism

    A welcome for the peasant folk.
    Swift under siege, nest, eaves of oak,
    and jenny Wren, that tiny bird,
    in pecking order, place absurd,
    but sings, scurries round door coir mat,
    where dusk-fall swings low wing of bat.
    This village chapel, Wesley’s plea,
    sung Bible texts in harmony;
    when all is done, by sermon said,
    exclusive church? Here all share bread.

    Coir mat for peasant folk without prestige,
    in oak eaves, mud caked nest, swift under siege;
    a squeeze box organ, Wesley wheeze with zeal,
    this village chapel, Cornish common-wheal,
    a tabernacle raised tin mining men,
    steps clog-marked, workers’ climb, past kettle wren.
    Sermon built, slumber party, wall texts wrung,
    preaching done, commonwealth, grace said and sung.

    Reply

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