Poetry challenge #8: Butterfly cinquain

A butterfly cinquain is a nine-line syllabic verse of the following pattern:

2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 2 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 2.

This is a poem that makes a pretty pattern, a butterfly, in fact.

Here’s my example, based on yesterday’s drenched grass poem.

silver grass2


Damp grass weeping,

Trailing, sorrow-weighted,

Beneath a leaden autumn sky.

New day,

The dead are buried, tears all shed,

mountain of memories,

candles burning,


Simple and effective. I’ll leave the theme up to you. Just leave the link to your poem, or the poem itself if you don’t post it on your blog, in the comments. Looking forward to reading your poetry.

Poetry challenge #7 Circular poem: the entries

Last week’s challenge was a challenge for me too, since a rather quirky poetry form I find appealing may not appeal to anyone else. Apparently it did though, and the results are wonderful. Here they are, as usual, in order of appearance.

Jennifer from Graceful Press Poetry got the challenge off to a tremendous start when she posted this double take, of which the second is a circular poem.


Next is Ken’s contribution. Definitely a Monday morning poem 🙂


For a grind, grating on his ear,
near to cacophony as any sound
round about sunrise,
eyes open barely enough to see,
he seems not to mind,
finding satisfaction in the scene,
beans’ aroma pleasing,
teasing his palate with yet to be savored
flavor, its brew offering so much more,
for a grind, grating on his ear.


Then Carol from WritersDream, I suppose what happens after you’ve had Ken’s start to the day.



Doug, the Elusive Trope sent this, specially for writers.

Therapeutic Coloring

black line pattern on white page
assuage with an invite

incite the mind to focus
locus after locus asking for color

whir of inner gears
blear at first

immerse in the pigment plethora
opera of hues

blue brown green
marine and earthen

beckon down serenity’s track
black line pattern on white page



Janice, Ontheland, sent this one, another serene poem accompanied by a luscious photo.

Cloud Arrow in Sunset Sky | Ontheland

Bastet sent in this gorgeous offering, a watery poem I particularly liked—you listening, Ken?

Reflections at a Water Fountain – Circular Poem and Hay(na)ku – November 28, 2015 | Bastet and Sekhmet’s Library


Éilis sent in this tremendous poem.

How can I recall what is almost forgotten
Lost in a thorny world
Hurled into ceaseless motion
Oceans of grief rise their tides
Behind a heart shut tight to more pain
Again I am wandering
Squandering what I cannot name
Game up, and I have little to show.
Oh, but I’ll stand strong against the cold…
Old stories those, we learn little
It’ll be a wonder if anything changes
Ages may pass, what of the new
Do you really think it will be so enlightened and grand
And in the survival of the day to day
We pay dearly, the cost passes but a few
Too many left hungry, pleading, wanting
Some haunting the places where they learned to be tame
The same, alas, they and I
I am what is almost forgotten.

I’m linking to another of Éilis’ poems, Navigation, another circular poem you might like to read too.

Last one in this week is from Kerfe, short, terse, and with a great illustration!

Junk Mail Art 7: A Portrait and an Interview | method two madness

Thank you so much for participating, and for creating so much lovely poetry. Look in for challenge #8 tomorrow;



Poetry challenge #7: Circular poem

I know it’s a strange sort of form. Indulge me. I don’t know if it has a pedigree or if I invented it, but I like using it and so might you if you give it a try.

The rules are simple. A circular poem is one that goes round full circle. The last word of the first line rhymes with the first word of the following line and so on until you end up back at your first line.

Lines can be any length, it’s the rhyme that’s important. Ideas and images can be as stream of consciousness as you like, theme, whatever springs to mind. Some of you might want to try out a Thanksgiving theme.

Remember, you have a whole week to concoct something.

Here’s an example to give you an idea of what I mean.

Photo ©Benoit-Caen


It unfolded with the morning,

Warning light, flashing red and gold,

Told us to hide,


Glide away on silent wings.

Stings, the dawn when it brings sorrow.

Tomorrow will be better, they say,

Betraying their lack of courage to defeat,

Beat the devil in the garden, the worm,

Squirming in the rotten apple,

Grapple the problem of today,

Stay the hand with the gun.

Run, only to help, not to flee,

Be the steadfast rock that breaks the wave,

Save the slender, fragile human spirit—

It unfolded with the morning.

Poetry challenge #6: Cinquain

Another new one on me, and a relatively new form. To find out the rules, have a look here at some examples as the rules aren’t hard and fast and there are several types to choose from. I had a go at two of the styles. The first two poems follow the syllable rule: five line poem on any theme with syllables following a 2-4-6-8-2 pattern.

Hope drops

In trills of song,

Bird-fluttering rushes.

River runs ever to the sea.



I hear

Among dry sedge,

Flutter of brown songbirds,

While sorrows slide into the stream,

Sweet balm.


This third poem is based on the ‘words’ style: 1-2-3-4-1 pattern of words where the first is a noun, the second two adjectives describing the noun, three and four description, emotion, and the last word a synonym for the first noun. Sounds complicated when I tell it, but it isn’t.



Bright-eyed, fearless,

Singer of songs,

Lighten our winter darkness,



For the rebels amongst you, I’ll accept any five line poem as long as it follows some kind of logical pattern.

Poetry challenge #5 Nonet: the entries

The challenge running through last week was on the theme of war and remembrance. Who could have known that there would have been another layer of horror to add to the unbearably monstrous pile we’ve already accumulated in our role as most intelligent, civilized and advanced species on the planet?

There was, as usual, a wealth of poetry inspired by this most emotive theme. Here are the nonets.

First was Ben Naga—couldn’t agree more.


No more rage, no more hate, no more war
No more rage, no more hate, no more
No more rage, no more hate, no
No more rage, no more hate
No more rage, no more
No more rage, no
No more rage
No more




Next, Peter Bouchier’s poem,


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

The link to his blog with the poem’s illustration is here:

Ken’s poem: I particularly like the way the first and last words rhyme.

War No More

Gaze into the distance,imagine
as they fade on the horizon
illusory images
of a place in time when
poppies need not grow
with thoughts of war
lost in a


This one: Veterans’ Day is from Greg who was inspired to join in for the first time. Welcome, Greg 🙂

Elusive trope. Sharp, aggressive imagery for a heartless subject.


fallen by the muck of saving face
signatures written in bad faith
the brambles of politics
the sharpest point of greed
the strange bed fellows
their conspiring
and plotting



Kris the Bard tells a whole awful story in this double nonet.

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.

In a similar style, from Kerfe and Nina (don’t know if this was a collaboration). Visit their blog for more war-inspired poems

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.


Merril Smith ends on a hopeful note. Thanks for that, Merril 🙂

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

Kat Myrman sent in this very touching double nonet.

Tomb of the unknown


Janice end this trio of poems with a nonet written after the Paris outrage.

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


This is Geoff’s contribution based on memories of his father and grandfather. I like the image of the wasp. ‘Oh Death, where is thy sting’ etc.


‘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

Some lovely lines in these poems. Thanks to all of you for joining in. Tomorrow’s theme is going to be another new one.


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.

Poetry challenge: Seasons. The entries

Poetry challenge #4 was on the theme of seasons and once again, I received a harvest of beautiful short poems. Here they are, in order of arrival.

Ben Naga was first this week with an autumn tanka.


Another Autumn
The mushrooms work their magic
Appearing, fruiting, dying
A year older certainly
A little wiser? Let’s see


then a year’s worth of seasons in a haiku


Nature Springs to life
Summersaults, leaves with Autumn
Winter drawers on now.

and just to show that he can, a sept.


Can’t wait
Valentine’s Day
As the first
Day of


Then we get the cherry on the cake.


Everyone praises Spring
Summer and Autumn while
Winter gets a bad rap
Ego got in the way


Thanks Ben, the rest of us can go home now 🙂

Peter Bouchier sent this musical haiku:


and as a reward for producing a new poem, I’m linking to three of his older poems too.
1. https://peterbouchier.wordpress.com/english-essays-and-poems-2/autumn-leave/
2. https://peterbouchier.wordpress.com/english-essays-and-poems-2/seasons-of-life/
3. https://peterbouchier.wordpress.com/english-essays-and-poems-2/stormy-haiku/

Veronica Hosking sent in a couplet of septs—a nudge and a wink to Douglas Adams fans.

Hitchhike across

Omniscient year


Having complained bitterly about being forced to try something new, Ali Isaac produced a whole string of little gems.

Autumn Sept

fall, red
as blood, gold
sun-drops from stiff
barren twigs,

Winter Haiku

Soft snow stifles sound
ice sparkles, crackles under
foot. Dark winter rules.

Spring Tanka

Ewes milk flows, lambs bleat,
her foot-steps green jaded land.
The Fiery One brings
tender warmth. Earth responds with
joy, season’s cycle renewed.

Summer Sept

Blue sky
Sand and sea
Endless sunshine
on bare skin

Kat Myrman also produced a delightful set of poems—a first for Kat too!

Someone else trying out a sept for the first time. Thanks Annie, I love it 🙂

All three forms in a beautifully coloured poem. Thanks Ken (I hope it’s Ken, easier to pronounce than rivrvlogr anyway :)).

Vibrant in Passing

autumn’s fashion show
displayed across Ozark bluffs
umber lacing green

once green
framed in blue
slowly falling
from the sky

vibrant in passing
leaves dancing, grasping the air
the days of autumn
prelude to winter’s slumber
conjured by a simple frost


A haiku and a sept from Janice. There’s obviously a story behind that sept.


As day yields to night,
summer surrenders to fall,
winds spread her bounty.

mist rises,
days shorten,
hearts stumble, ’til
golden brown

And of course somebody had to remind us that there is a winter among the milder seasons. Beautifully done.


sinks in cold
and rises in cold
frostbit blue

Thank you all for participating, and particularly for experimenting with new forms. I hope you’ll be contributing to the coming week’s challenge—theme posted tomorrow.