“You Write Sixteen Lines and Whaddya Get?” by Ken Gosse

I write by the foot
using meter and rhyme
and my poetry’s light
almost all of the time.
I rarely mix prose
with a rhythm which flows
to the snags and the sandbars
which cause others woes
as its course twists and turns
through its trochees and dactyls
its iambs and anapests,
knotted like fractals
which sometimes go on …
on and on, on and on …
Unless they’re well-crafted,
attention’s soon gone.

I use many forms,
mostly those I’ve rehearsed;
there are dozens to choose from,
none best and none worst:
villanelle and senryu,
sestina, rondeau,
double-dactyl and pantoum
(I rarely use those).
Some are one line, some two
when a couplet will do;
most are four lines called quatrains,
and then there’s a few
where a line intertwines
like a series of vines
though the verses, called stanzas,
like extravaganzas.

Cinquains and acrostics,
haiku, elegies,
madrigals, palindromes,
and, if you please,
the Rannaigheact Mhor
(never heard that before;
I just looked it up
but I think I lost score:
heptasyllabic lines—
seven syllables per—
and so many more rules
that I think I’ll defer).
For the most part, I mix ’em
and ramble, like here,
using rhythm and rhyme
just to tickle your ear.



Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Eclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

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