25 Lines and Fewer


ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the current Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.


By Mary Lamb

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
   Nor the sweet mignionet: . . .


By Robert Lowell

Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme—
why are they no help to me now
I want to make . . .


By Robert Browning

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned— . . .


By Katherine Philips

What on Earth deserves our trust?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain, . . .

Epitaph on the Lady Mary Villiers

By Thomas Carew

This little vault, this narrow room,
Of Love, and Beauty, is the tomb;
The dawning beam that gan to clear . . .

Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child, the Last of Seven that Died Before

By Aphra Behn

This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ; . . .

every single day

By John Straley

Suppose I said the word “springtime”
and I wrote the words “king salmon”
on a piece of paper . . .

Ex Machina

By Linda Gregerson

When love was a question, the message arrived
in the beak of a wire and plaster bird. The coloratura
was hardly to be believed. For flight, . . .


By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The lords of life, the lords of life,—
I saw them pass,
In their own guise, . . .

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