25 Lines and Fewer

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

Immortal Sails

By Alfred Noyes

Now, in a breath, we’ll burst those gates of gold,
   And ransack heaven before our moment fails.
Now, in a breath, before we, too, grow old, . . .

The Impossible Replication of Desire

By Lee Herrick

How much delight before we collapse
How much earth in the lungs
How much wine . . .

In

By Andrew Hudgins

When we first heard from blocks away
the fog truck’s blustery roar,
we dropped our toys, leapt from our meals,    . . .

In a Dark Time

By Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;   
I hear my echo in the echoing wood— . . .

In a London Drawingroom

By George Eliot

The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke.
For view there are the houses opposite
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall . . .

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, . . .

[in Just-]

By E. E. Cummings

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little . . .

In Memory of Joe Brainard

By Frank Bidart

the remnant of a vast, oceanic
bruise (wound delivered early and long ago)
. . .

In Praise of My Bed

By Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side! . . .

In Praise of Pain

By Heather McHugh

A brilliance takes up residence in flaws—
a brilliance all the unchipped faces of design
refuse. The wine collects its starlets . . .