Poetry challenge #20: Hourglass poetry

I admit it, I made this one up. The form is inspired by Peter Bouchier’s lantern poem that he christened a ‘pine cone’ poem because its shape grew rather out of control. This is simpler than a pine cone, more like a butterfly quintain.

The form: ten lines with a syllable count of

Those of you with a good grasp of maths will have noticed that this only makes nine lines. I did wonder why my poem had ten lines and it’s because I broke my own rule and had two central lines of one syllable. Since I did it so can you.

(Note to self) Remember to centre the poem to get the hourglass shape.

If you want to make it more complicated for yourself, try making the word in the middle a pivotal word that sends the poem off in a different direction. I haven’t tried that yet but will see what I can do today.

You have one week to make me an hourglass. Post links in the comments. Looking forward to reading your work ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo ยฉPilismo


In the dark night calls

a lonely bird







death in its wings

winter frozen heart.


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.

48 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #20: Hourglass poetry”

  1. I enjoyed this challenge ๐Ÿ™‚
    Winter’s freezing grasp
    squeezing back life
    the earth
    weak shoots
    gather strength
    and push together:
    Verdant uprising!

  2. This is a nice challenge. Both this and your followup are great examples.
    Mine is a series of three – centered, of course, on my page:

    Flying Free

    darkness, like a hood
    at once
    pent energy
    prized light and freedom

    forward beat of wings
    reeling higher
    seeking prey
    quick turn
    eyes fixed
    ground rising
    closing on prey
    talons find their mark

    visions of darkness
    clouding hunger
    for freedom
    wings beat
    wild and free
    bidding farewell
    constraints left behind



  3. The price of the hourglass

    It is every girl’s dream
    That one day she’ll
    Achieve the
    Though wise
    Heads warn her
    She’ll regret the
    Figure paid for that dream

    Not quite right, unless you can squeeze ‘figure’ in as one syllable!

  4. Another famous hourglass..
    Marilyn Monroe’s
    Shapely bosom
    Led Men’s eyes
    To her
    From where
    Those same men
    Concluded she
    Had no brains. Dickheads

  5. This one of mine may need some explanation. In the days of sail, until the early years of the 20th century, ships used to calculate their speed by use of a log line running out from the afterdeck. As long as an hour glass was running, the knots in the log line were counted, each knot representing a nautical mile per hour. Up to the present day a ship’s speed is still expressed in knots.
    The picture dates back as far as 1872 when tea clipper Cutty Sark ran into port with a jury rudder that had been very cleverly shipped in mid-ocean by her crew.

      1. That’s a good analogy. In school I was never good with real open-ended assignments…I need some kind of structure to focus my thinking.

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