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  • Clerihew
  • Four lines, two rhyming couplets. The first line is the name of a person. The rhymes and the line lengths are allowed to be - supposed to be, even - a bit rubbish.
  • Golden shovels
  • A golden shovel takes another poet's poem (or extract) and uses its words as the end words of the lines of a new poem. So if you read down the right-hand side, just the last word of each line, of the golden shovel, you will be reading the poem that inspired it. The golden shovel expands, develops or even changes the meaning of the original.
  • Haiku
  • First: five syllables Next line: seven syllables Last: five syllablesThere are some other rules too, but I'm ignoring them.
  • Limericks
  • Five-line poems, usually funny or light-hearted; the first, second and fifth lines rhyme with each other; the third and fourth lines also rhyme with each other, and are shorter.
  • Pantoums
  • A form of poetry comprised of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza being repeated as the first and third of the next, until the last stanza, where the second and fourth lines are the third and first lines of the first stanza. Got that? Good.
  • Sonnets
  • Fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. The two most usual rhyme schemes are ababcdcd-efefgg (English/Shakespearean) and abbaabba-cdecde or abbaabba-cdcdcd (Italian/Petrarchan). The move from the first eight lines (the octave) to the remaining six lines (the sestet) often sees a turn in the poem's theme or 'argument'. Plus some fourteen-liners that are not strictly sonnets.
  • Triolet
  • Eight lines. The first and second lines repeat as the seventh and last lines, and the first line also repeats as the fourth line. The rhyme scheme is  ABaAabAB, capital letters representing the repeated lines.

Fallen Idol

colston

after Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley   I met a bruised and smiling activist, elated, vindicated in their deed, who’d tossed into the harbour’s swell at Bristol the form of Portland stone to fishes feed Of one whose eight-foot statue’d … Read more

Us and Them

Peterloo monument, Manchester

A golden shovel based on the final stanza of The Mask of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley. They hold us down but still we rise, deference dies, we bite them down to size. Like Jayaben roars, we are the lions, … Read more

Clerihew: Owen Paterson

owenpaterson

Owen Patterson takes envelopes with splatters on One hundred grand and he’ll do your bidding Fit for public office? You’ve got to be kidding.

Be Streetwise

Police commissioner urged to resign over 'streetwise' comment

Be streetwise, girls, be streetwise and you won’t get false-arrested Look out for cuffs and meat knives Be streetwise, girls, be streetwise and memorise our treatise on what to do when pestered Be streetwise, girls, be streetwise and you won’t … Read more

Peacehaven Primary’s Pool

Peacehaven Heights school

– a villanelle about this. Kids needed somewhere safe to swim so locals raised funds for a pool, got sponsor forms and filled them in Again they shook donation tins to keep aquatics at the school, to keep the children … Read more

History Lessons

Eventide

after Eventide by the Faith Brothers At the first opportunity, I dropped history – lists of dates of kings, queens and gilded greats, handed out from books by teachers who looked just as down about it as we felt. It … Read more

Ribbons of Scarlet

Cush at my 50th birthday gig

– a golden shovel after ‘Scarlet Ribbons’, for Cush At the peal of the bell, they don’t tell you there’s a field that not everyone comes back from. The survivor’s been fearing that he’ll never stop hearing the gunfire even … Read more

Self-Isolation in a Single Hostel Room

single room

Day 1 confined to room – no going out Day 2 do push-ups, Netflix, clean the floor Day 3 phone friends and scrub the tiling grout Day 4 a breakfast bag outside the door Day 5 phone friends and tell … Read more

Triolet: Just a Dusting

Dogs in garden with light snow cover

Just a dusting’s not enough There’s barely ample white to fight It’s floating free like frozen fluff Just a dusting’s not enough No handful for a snowball – tough! This winter’s snowfall’s far too light Just a dusting not enough … Read more