Poetry challenge #5: Nonet

Something different this week. Well, it was to me. A nonet is a nine line poem with a syllable pattern of: 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Simple. If you like, you can call your poem a stanza and add as many of them as you like. For symmetry, I added a second stanza going backwards, working up to nine syllables.

As it’s the 11th of November today, an appropriate theme would be war in any of its forms, taken from any angle.



Along the brow of the hill, poppies,

Wind ripples, red petals blowing.

Voices whisper messages:

Seek no heroism,

No glory in death,

Celebrate life,







To the wind.

Petals scatter,

Roots stir the deep earth,

White graves empty of bones,

Full of grief and wasted lives.

Yearn not for pomp and circumstance,

Nothing’s so sweet as the blackbird’s song.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

58 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #5: Nonet”

      1. I agree that comedy in poetry is often cringe-making, although when it works I quite enjoy it, whether it’s mine or another’s. And black humour can be extremely effective. On the other hand it it can be both gross and disgusting.

  1. Here’s my entry, inspired by the poppy picture. I will post it on my own site once I find a fitting picture of my own.
    Oh, if I may ask: is the word ‘fire’ considered one or two syllables?

    your way
    towards peace
    so that you may
    bloom like a poppy
    the battlefield is wide
    there is room for all of us
    carrying our ammunition
    we will move in the line of fire

    the fields will colour a shade of red
    once we have overcome the foe
    fighting deep within ourselves
    peace will only prevail
    when our blooming hearts
    beat like war drums
    as we march

      1. There is also http://www.wordcalc.com/ which will calculate the number of syllables in a word or words.

        My two cents: There are words that are legitimately pronounced with, say, one or two syllable depending on the articulation of the reader. Fire is a good example. Without the audio one doesn’t know which way the author intended. Put syllable count aside, using a word like ‘fire’ with 2 syllables would create a different stress unstress pattern for a line than the 1 syllable pronunciation.

  2. I really enjoyed this poem and the new-to-me form. It stuck with me all day, so much so that it inspired me to write one myself, also in honor of our veterans; thank you! 🙂

      1. The picture was taken by my brother, during a re-enactment of a battle. I’m afraid I don’t know which one but judging from the dess of the soldiers I think it must be one of many battles during the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648).

  3. In the bleak quagmire of no-man’s land,
    My best friend, wounded and trapped,
    Buried to his chest in mud.
    He begged for our help.
    We had our orders,
    We passed by
    And left him

    Those still left
    Alive after
    Charging hostile lines,
    Pointless, bloody slaughter,
    Trudging home found him again,
    Buried to his neck now, in fear
    He begged again; my last bullet.

  4. A day late, goes with my Veterans Day post from yesterday (https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/headline-haiku-veterans-day-2015/). I do my headline haiku by rearranging the words from headlines of the page I’ve embroidered or collaged. For this poem, I took phrases from the article. A bit dark, but so was the story.

    He was doomed to watch his friends die.
    Life seemed increasingly bitter.
    He never mentioned the war
    after the funeral.
    But he was alive.
    He did not care
    to try to.
    Gave up.

    things they did.
    but what choice was there?
    It becomes part of you.
    He never mentioned the war.
    Life seemed increasingly bitter.
    Only regrets and flashbacks remained.


  5. Here’s my attempt–based on your photo.

    On Flanders Fields the poppies grow now
    Hiding the bones of the fallen.
    Red blooms instead of red blood
    But do the ghosts still walk
    Crying and in pain?
    Peace has not come
    To take root.
    But plants

  6. It was nice having a reminder that there is a whole week to write. I wrote three poems, the last one, this morning, in the wake of the tragedy in Paris.

    Why remember?

    Why remember on remembrance day?
    Let’s remember to reflect on
    war, our tragic addiction
    to deadly weapon fire,
    and bold young heroes’
    squandered on


    Resounding to the heavens, joyous
    dove songs mark terror’s overthrow
    bombs and guns are obsolete
    dictators have no sway
    confused violence
    has stepped aside
    for reason
    love and


    What glass shards pierced their murderous hearts?
    What dark horrors tangled their minds?
    Who schemes murder in God’s name?
    Resisting fear’s poison,
    I grasp for answers,
    How to oppose
    madness with


  7. Hi Jane
    Not entirely sure I have this right yet. It’s based on a piece my dad wrote years ago about the day war was declared in 1939. After the announcement my grandfather shut off the radio and said ‘it’ll be a good year for plums’. Dad always maintained it was his father’s way to avoid crying at the upcoming waste.
    ‘No response received; we are at war.’
    The wasp is drunk on rotting fruit
    Spins slowly. Disturbed it jabs
    Its sting, thoughtless who’s hurt.
    It’s instinct. It knows
    No better. We do.
    Yet still we
    Let them

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s