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SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S #DOUBLEENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 9

Happy October! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch #DoubleEnnead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

We’ve been writing 99 syllable poetry for a few months now. Explore your own 99 syllable structure. In other words, you don’t have to abide by the syllable structure above. Just make sure that your poem comes out to 99 syllables! Have fun and experiment. I did!

Image by Bany_MM from Pixabay

October is my favorite month of the year! Halloween is just around the corner. As a child, I loved this holiday and still do today. I think the attraction was the opportunity to switch identities for one night a year. At Halloween, you could be anything you wanted simply by changing your appearance.

If you could assume any form or persona, what would you choose?

What is a Persona Poem?

Scott Sigil shares his definition: “A persona poem is a poem written in first person from the perspective of someone or something other than yourself. When writing a persona poem, the poet embodies a figure from history, or a fictional character, or even an inanimate object, and writes imagining what that person or thing might say if they had the chance to write a poem.” (Persona Poems by Scott Sigil)

Let’s celebrate Halloween together by writing a persona poem in the style of a double ennead. Be creative! Let your imagination run wild! Have fun!

My example follows:

"A Wise Woman's Companion"

the veil thins when dusk falls
Samhain spirits rise
now, the purveyors of death walk among us...
maybe crones in disguise?
black magic lives on

they burned us at the stake
not believing our truths, only lies
bad luck, or animal-shaped spies?
my coal-black color determined my death

my reputation's ruined
by superstitions,
ancient mythologies, and false statements...
My one redeeming feature—
black cats have nine lives!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem where you assume a persona. It can be Halloween related, or not. Remember, your poem must have 99 syllables in total. Have fun!

  • Post your poem on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog by Friday, November 12, 2021.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Chloe & Sophie assert that no black cats were harmed in the creation of this poem!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Whew! Welcome to Anyone Can Poem, the time when we scare away the I-can’t-coyotes and embrace the I-will-wallabies.

Yes, our rodeo has wallabies.

Thank you to all the amazing poets who responded to my challenge to murder their children -erm, to remove their unnecessary or superfluous words.

Now, after taking out extra adverbs, adjectives, and grandiose language; we will spend this month filling our poetry with the best words.

How do you choose the best words? Easy.

  1. Decide what your poem (or, intended poem) is about. What moment do you want to capture; what feeling do you want the reader to feel; what action do you want to encapsulate?
  2. Which form (metered, rhymed, free verse, specific syllable count) do you feel works best with your theme?
  3. Take time to free-write descriptors, actions, feelings, colors -WHATEVER about the poetic moment.
  4. Pick your favorites from Step 3. Form phrases. Make it poetic.
  5. Form those pieces into a ‘final’ poem.
  6. Take the poem, line by line, and check if the words you picked are just showing off. Check if they are flowery. Make sure they are not fluffy bits of wallaby fur only intended to look cute.
  7. Instead; pick impactful, meaningful words and phrases that put the reader in the moment.

Let’s say my answer to #1 is chocolate. I want to capture the delectable moment when a piece of chocolate melts across your tongue and drips down your throat. Ah, the anticipation! The sensation! The bliss!

For #2, I choose to write it free-verse.

#3, Free-write: chocolate, rich, tasty, moist, mouthful, bliss, gurgling tummy, slip down, melt, rich goodness, milk chocolate, smooth, tantalizing, anticipation, square….

Now, I pick my favorites (#4) and smash them into a poem (#5):
Milky mouthful slips and drips
Across my licking, moist tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy.

Oh, dear. I have some removal to do of extra words (#6). While I’m at it, I’ll change or add better words (#7):
Milky mouthful slips and drips Rich and silky milky slice
Across my licking, moist tongue -Simmers on my tongue
Come to me, my choc’late bliss -Melting down; oh, choc’late bliss!

Slip down down down to my gurgling tummy. Anticipation, come.

Hmm. Looks like it wanted to be formed after all. In terms of word choice, what do you think? Did I pick impactful or unnecessary? What would you edit or suggest?

Now, as always, it’s your turn. Go through the steps. Edit and refine. Then, send me what you’ve got or share it in the comments. You can also share what you’ve got at any point along the steps, for pointers. I’m happy to help.

And, above all, have fun!

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 8

Happy September! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch double ennead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

With the first day of Autumn quickly approaching on September 22nd, my thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin spice, hot apple desserts, and warm cuddly blankets. Think about how this season interacts with our five (or six) senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing.

“Your five senses help you take in information from the world around you. These senses are also a powerful tool to use when you’re writing. They help convey a message to readers by providing a strong image in their heads.” Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/article-5-senses-in-poetry

For example, think about Autumn and describe it using your five senses:

  • Taste: pumpkin spice, mulling spices, apples, pears, harvest foods, etc.
  • Touch: wet rain, cold fog, warm sunlight, soft blankets, bonfires, etc.
  • Sight: leaf piles, fall color, red gold and orange leaves, wheat sheaves, corn stalks, bales of hay, pumpkins, etc.
  • Smell: wet, moldy, wet leaves, decayed leaves, pumpkin spice, baked bread, etc.
  • Hearing: autumn rains, cool or stormy winds blowing, geese honking in migratory flocks, etc.

My example follows:

"Lady Autumn"

welcome Lady Autumn— 
wet dew on grasses,
foggy sunrise awash over the fenland
sunshine between shadows,
chilly to the touch

red-tipped maples glitter
embracing the Queen 
of all seasons, trouping their finest colors
like burnished leaves displayed
in a royal crown

nothing gilded can stay
every leaf must fall
for a vivid autumn is death's finest hour
cold rain despoils the bracts
death, decay follow

© 2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem dedicated to Autumn. Pay special attention to sensory words.

  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

If’n your summer (or winter) has been as busy as mine, I shore do ‘preciate your comin’ back for more poeming.

Still, I didn’t get many volunteers in last month‘s offer to send me your poem needing a bit of meter-tinkering. The offer is open, even if you’re reading this months or years after its posting.

Now, on to more FUN poetry specifics:

If my #1 pet peeve is meter, my #2 is when people write poetry for entirely the wrong reasons and are therefore showing off.

Their work is flowery, superfluous, showy, fluffy, wordy, adverby -in short, too much tell AND show in some of the worst ways possible. Their poem ends up a mash of obscure words and emotional pleas that lack a concise theme.

If a poet is new to The Game, s/he will do this innocently.

If a poet is old to the game, s/he will do so because swaths of followers are wowed by a naïve misunderstanding of what really makes poetry good. What will make it memorable. What makes it timeless.

How do you avoid this pitfall? The same way you do with regular writing exercises: brutal murder of useless words.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

Stephen King

This is one reason why I believe Dr. Seuss is among the poetic masters. How many words does he use in The Cat in the Hat? And yet, I love it. And yet, with my kids, that book I still get…

This is also why, in intentionally ignoring the other rules haiku must follow, I had us try 5-7-5 for our first form. I am sorry to those who felt stabbed at my casual treatment. It had to be done.

Make your poem concise!

Compact!

To a point -please, please have a point to your poetry!

Easier said than done? Nah.

The way I see it, the most common reason a poet strays too far is because the poem doesn’t feel special enough. We have a misconstrued idea that poetry must be mysterious (obscure), beautiful (flowery), long (wordy), and impressive (vainglorious). It DOESN’T; at least, not in the blundering way we try to get it there.

The purpose of a poem is to capture the feelings of a moment and then use the artistry of words and meter to convey that exact moment and its feelings to another.

So, take your moment; your idea.

  1. Write the moment. Try the first exercise we did, word balloons, free-writing, doodling, or finger paints.
  2. Form the words of your moment more poetically. If you feel comfortable following a form, do so. If free verse appeals, try that.
  3. Follow the first two steps a few times. Let someone else read what you’ve got and tell you what they think you’re writing about.
  4. Next, fix the meter. Even free verse poetry follows a meter.
  5. Last and most difficult, murder the unnecessary.
  6. Polish.

And, I want you to use the attached form to send me what you’ve got at any step along the way. I’m happy to give pointers and I NEVER judge writers negatively. Writing’s difficult enough without worrying about judgment.

If you feel up to it, comment with what you end up with after step 6.

I’m waiting.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

SADDLE-UP SALOON; COLLEEN’S DOUBLE ENNEAD CHALLENGE NO. 7

Happy August! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch double ennead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Poetic Inspiration

Do you search for poetic inspiration? If you do, I’d like to share a discovery with you. I’m obsessed with the Oracle… what is the oracle, you ask?

POETRY ORACLE

The poetry Oracle is magnetic poetry. Click the link above and choose one of the category icons in the lower online version after the first group. A series of words will appear and you can drag and drop the words into the white area to create your poetry. I often use the Oracle when I’m looking for inspiration.

The Oracle works for syllabic poetry as well. On another browser tab, I usually have a syllable counter open as I compose my poem. I type in the words to check my count.

Here are the words I received from the Poet Kit:

Now, I will drag and drop the words until I have the makings of a poem. There is a button to choose more words. I cycle through the word selection and grab words as I compose my poem. I’m conscious of syllable counts, but for now, I’ll just grab words that closely match the count.

Finally, I’ve composed the first stanza of my double ennead poem (6, 5, 11, 6, 5 syllables). I took a screenshot to share with you:

Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to convey meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com/syllables/ as a syllable counter. I checked my one stanza below:

I don’t expect you to compose your entire double ennead poem using the Oracle… although the Oracle works well with longer-form freestyle or prose poetry, too. If I’m looking for inspiration when writing syllabic poetry, I enjoy the magic the Oracle sends.

This month, try experimenting with the Oracle. Write only ONE stanza of a double ennead poem and share it on your blog.

My example follows:

"Full Moon Magic"

velvet smiles let joy dance
through vast heart-sky clouds,
remember hot kisses lingering—steamy...
delicious poetry, 
warm perfumed desire

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Experiment with the poetry Oracle. Write only ONE stanza of a double ennead poem (6, 5, 11, 6, 5 syllables) using magnetic poetry. If you’d rather write a double ennead poem, and not try out the magnetic poetry site, write about a theme of your choice.

  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some syllabic poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Man, oh woman, this has been one heck of a month! Thanks to all the poets (you *are* all poets!) for playing along with these prompts despite your busy lives. I tip my hat to ya.

Last time I got up on this here stage, I encouraged y’all to intentionally mess with meter. A few did so in the comments; I hope many more tried it on their own.

Now, destruction is always easier than construction. To create more difficult than to destroy. Ice cream is far better than raisin cookies. -You get the idea.

Therefore, we must now turn our metering ear to improvement. I have a few, easy exercises for your poeting minds:

  1. Read this poem, preferably aloud:
    At last, I lie upon my bed.
    At last, I sigh; rest my head…
  2. Decide what’s wrong with its meter.
  3. Fix it.

I’m waiting.

If you did Steps 1-3, your Answer Key is that the meter -the BEAT of the poem- trips up between sigh and rest. It needs an extra syllable there; maybe an and.

Did you see that? Did you fix it?

Let’s try another:

  1. Read this one; again, preferably aloud:
    The cow is a member of the bovine ilk;
    One end is moo, the other, milk
    .
  2. Decide what’s wrong.
  3. Fix it.

This one is a mutilated version of Ogden Nash’s The Cow. If you are familiar with his original, your mind automatically corrected it to how it should sound. If you are unfamiliar, your Answer Key hint is that I added two words (a member) where there were none.

Let’s try another!:

  1. Read it so they can hear it in the back:
    Because I could not stop for Death –
    He sure stopped for me –
    The Carriage held just Ourselves –
    And Immortality.
  2. *Tick* *Tock* *Tick* -Can you find the problems? There are two.
  3. Well, fix them!

You may have guessed that this is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson’s Because I Could Not Stop for Death. You may have cheated and fixed it based on her original words; I replaced kindly with sure and omitted but from The Carriage held but just Ourselves. Did you choose to add the same words as she? Another two-syllable word will work for kindly; another one-syllable for but.

What am I trying to do here?

…Actually, I’m trying to enclose your mind more than free it. I’m trying to help you see the pattern of words. I’m trying to help you feel the rhythm. Feel the ride.

Films aside, learning to feel the meter of a poem is very important. Knowing this meter is vital to taking your own poem and realizing one reason why it just doesn’t sound right.

So, you have homework:

Send me your poem. Use the form that I’ve included and send me that bit of your creation that’s niggling at you so much you just want to stick it in a shoebox and shove it under the bed. You and I are going to do what you did with my poem, Ogden Nash’s, and Emily Dickinson’s: FIX IT! We are going to look at the meter and decide what will make it flow.

Go on. I triple dog dare ya.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 6

Happy July! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing: double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ❤

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Last month’s challenge was TUFF! So, this month, let’s write our double ennead using the image below or expound on the theme of travel!

For more inspiration read: What Is Ekphrastic Poetry?

Our Inspiration:

Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay

Use the image above to compose your double ennead poem. Remember to count your syllables using the sodacoffee.com/syllables site.

My example follows:

"Travel through Books"

books give me wings to fly
to charming spaces
where characters invite me into their lives
to stay for just a while—
bittersweet friendships

books give me wings to fly
to far-off places
where the battle against good versus evil
wins out at the finish—
soul-satisfying

books give me wings to fly
to learn new concepts
for writing poetry and fun flash fiction—
travel the world of books
enjoy your flight—read!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

Poetry is based on your perceptions. After all the places I lived and traveled to, in and out of the Air Force, the theme of travel is still exciting. (Although now, I do most of my traveling through reading). While I wrote this double ennead with the theme of travel through the reading of books, you might feel and interpret the image differently. Follow your inner voice for inspiration.

In this double ennead, I used the literary device of repetition by intentionally using the phrase “books give me wings to fly” for effect. Poets often employ this technique. We should use the phrase at least two or more times for the repetition to be noticeable. The words or phrases should be repeated within close proximity of each other. Repeating the same words or phrases in a poem brings clarity to an idea and makes it memorable for the reader.

In the next month:

  • Write a double ennead poem based on the image above.
  • Post it on your blog or in the comments of this post.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some syllabic poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Today’s the day for more poem-ing! Don’t look at me like that; the title should have told you something poetic lay round the nearest hay bale!

If’n you’re old hat, you definitely knew where we were going. You also tried limericks last month, haiku before that, parody before that, and a loosening up exercise back when we started.

Myself, I’ve been right pleased with the results. Y’all oughter be proud. But let’s talk where this wagon train’s a-headed now…

Back when I took piano lessons, I preferred the parts where I played interesting songs. Impatient, distracted, bored; I skipped out whenever theory reared its ugly head. Why learn about The Circle of Fifths when I could learn “The Music of the Night?

What’s that to do with rodeos and poems? We’re going to learn a little ‘theory.’ Since it’s me teaching, however, we’re gonna have more fun than a bull-riding competition.

Thing is, despite encouraging everyone to poem (they need to!) and saying anyone can poem (they most certainly can!), I have some pet peeves about poetry.

#1. BIG NUMBER ONE: Meter! Meter is the beat of the poem. It’s the pattern you feel as you write or read poetry. It’s the syllables and how we place them. It’s reading something aloud and clapping along with a preschool class, for Pete’s sake!
And many, many poems screw this up.

…including my own. No joke.

At last, I lie upon my bed.
At last, I sigh; rest my head…

Meter can be difficult because of us. Because of YOU! You and I and every other artist out there is subject to viewing his or her work through the way it was created. We read our poem the way we thought of it and not the way others will read it.

Meter is also difficult because we get tied up in counting syllables (think haiku) and do not pay attention to where we put stress in words. Frigidaire works differently in a poem than Washington; both have three syllables, but the stress in Frigidaire is on the last while Washington‘s stress is on the first.

Meter applies to both structured and free verse poems. Despite a free verse poem not fitting rules like 5/7/5 or iambic pentameter, our minds still seek a meter like we seek a comfortable gait whilst walking down the sidewalk.

Enough boring theory, though. Let’s apply our more-fun-than-bull-riding activity.

I want you to totally mess up a famous poem by intentionally inserting extra syllables or by intentionally changing words to ones with different stresses.

To be helpful, I suggest the following:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Because I could not stop for Death – 
He kindly stopped for me – 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
And Immortality.


One fish
two fish
red fish
blue fish.


If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


With a sincere apology to the masters who wrote them, I command you to congest a poem to mess up its meter.

Type us up one in the comments, or send me your terrible work through the form.

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge No. 5

Happy Summer Solstice! Welcome to the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.


This month, let’s take the double ennead through the TUFF challenge like we do for the Carrot Ranch Rodeo. I’ll show you how to take your double ennead from 99 syllables to 48 syllables, to 24 syllables to finally, a haiku *(12 syllable poem).

Why? This exercise illustrates the importance of the brevity of words. This is a great way to craft the shorter forms of syllabic poetry like haiku, senryu, tanka, etc.

*What happened to the 5-7-5 (17 syllable) haiku?

On page 22-23 of “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry,” I explain why poets no longer write their haiku in 17 syllables. It’s a matter of linguistics. The Japanese write in sounds called onji, and we use syllables in English. The Japanese onji are shorter than our syllables. If we’re going to embrace haiku, we should write the form as authentically as we can.

William J. Higginson and Penny Harter, in their book, “The Haiku Handbook” explain:

“Approximately twelve English syllables best duplicates the length of Japanese haiku in the traditional form of seventeen onji.”

“The Haiku Handbook,” Chapter 8: The Form of Haiku, p. 102″

Here’s my double ennead:

Celebrate the Summer Solstice

summer solstice blessings 
flow from father sun
we recognize the longest day of the year
wearing bright flower crowns
bonfire magic soars

celebrate the summer
new freedoms restored
cast your spells to air, water, earth, and fire
jubilant songs voiced to
the mother goddess 

give thanks for connections
family and friends
influence reality for the better
work your magic toward 
shared fresh beginnings 

For the 48 syllable poem I’ll use a 4-7-5 stanza trio:

summer solstice...
celebrate sunshine
all hail to the longest day

wear flower crowns
before the bonfire
where fiery sparks soar like stars

giving thanks for
family and friends
all together once again

Now, let’s reduce our syllables to 24 (6-6-6-6) and only one stanza:

summer solstice blessings 
honor the longest day
bonfires and flower crowns
we're together again

Finally, our 12 syllable haiku (short-long-short):

summer solstice... 
honor the longest day
give thanks

When writing haiku, you should have two images that converge to give you that special moment of insight into the poet’s experience. Here’s how you can check to see if your haiku works.

Take the first line and the second line: summer solstice… honor the longest day. We have our kigo (the season word) along with the phrase summer solstice. This gives us our first mind image. We know it’s summer and the longest day of the year.

Now, take the second line and the third line which is the pivot: honor the longest day, give thanks. The second mind image imparts the “aha-moment” when we realize the experience of the longest night of the year is truly a gift. This experience is something we should be thankful for.

The haiku’s combined images converge into our realization that experiencing the longest day of the year is truly an experience to celebrate. What a great way to celebrate summer!


Always check your syllables with a syllable counter when composing and writing syllabic poetry. The pronunciation of words is very important to conveying a meaning in your poems. You can use sodacoffee.com as a syllable counter. There is also howmanysyllables.com, which is my favorite because you get access to synonyms as you’re composing.

  • Write your 99 syllable double ennead poem on a subject of your choice. Take into consideration that haiku are written about nature. Reduce the syllables until you reach the haiku (12 syllables) written in a short-long-short syllable structure). You should have 3 poems. The double ennead, a reduced syllable poem of your choice of syllables, and your haiku (12 syllables).
  • Post it on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Now have fun and write some syllabic poetry!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Welcome, ladies and gents, to Anyone Can Poem, the rodeo where …well, anyone can poem.

Last time we were in the saddle, I introduced the basics of haiku. We used its general syllable outline to jump in and have some fun.

Where will we ride from here?

To limericks.

A limerick (/ˈlɪmərɪk/) is a form of verse, usually humorous and frequently rude, in five-line, predominantly anapestic trimeter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.

Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, pard’ner, but that was a whole chunk of intimidating text. -And limericks are not intimidating.

They’re fun. They’re edgy. They’re funny!

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
-Edward Lear

Like haiku, limericks follow a form. Myself, I find this form easy to write to once I pick up on the beat. Try reading Edward Lear’s (credited as being the master limerickist) contribution out loud. Still not hearing it? Here are a few more:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak,
Enough food for a week,
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
-Dixon Lanier Merritt

Alas for the death of Hugh Hannity
Whose boat was capsized by a manatee.
When they saw it swim by,
All the townsfolk would cry:
“There he goes! Oh the beast! The Hugh manatee!”
-Graham Lester

Now do you hear it? Do you feel it? Anyone can poem a limerick, including me:

There once was a mother of four
Who never could sweep up her floor.
The clothes and the toys
Were stuck beneath boys.
Daddy wonders who taught them to swore.
Chel Owens

  1. The pattern of AABBA and anapestic trimeter means that you start with two longer lines that rhyme. In the case of Lear’s poem, the rhymes are beard and feared.
  2. Next, you pick two shorter lines that rhyme with a different word. Again, with Lear’s, those words are Hen and Wren.
  3. Finally, you end with a zinger of the same length as the first two lines that also rhymes with them. Lear uses beard again -that cheater.

Whenever I set out to write a limerick, I first choose a subject. For today’s rodeo, let’s pick everyone’s favorite duty: cleaning up after animals. Not only will this subject fulfill the necessities of being somewhat inappropriate and humorous, it will provide many easy-to-rhyme words.

Some possible opening lines:
There once was a man named O’Coot.
There once was a grand rodeo.
I went to the show to just sit.

There! The most difficult part is over, especially since I picked some easy rhymers (except for rodeo). O’Coot can match up with poop scoop and boot and shoot! Sit, on the other hand, has at least one possibility amongst the thesaurus suggestions for animal excrement.

There’s no wrong subject or strict count for limericks if you’re worried. Many famous poets break the form left, right, and center. The main criteria is silliness and that recognizable rhyme pattern.

Send me a few samples through the form. Or, write one or a dozen up in the comments. You’ll love it and so will we!

Don’t overthink; just do it!

—–

An embarrassing mess was my brother
With one leg that was short. Not the other
Which made this eccentric
Walk in circles concentric
Causing constant distress to our mother
Richmond Road
(From the A Mused Poetry Contest)

©2021 Chel Owens