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.

Listening

By Jean Valentine

My whole life I was swimming listening
beside the daylight world like a dolphin beside a boat
. . .

Little Father

By Li-Young Lee

I buried my father
in the sky.
Since then, the birds . . .

Little Girl

By Tami Haaland

She’s with Grandma in front
of Grandma’s house, backed
by a willow tree, gladiola and roses. . . .

Living Ancients

By Matthew Shenoda

For those of us young
healthy
we will face the mourning of our elders. . . .

The Loaf

By Paul Muldoon

When I put my finger to the hole they've cut for a dimmer switch   
in a wall of plaster stiffened with horsehair   
it seems I've scratched a two-hundred-year-old itch    . . .

London

By William Blake

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow. 
And mark in every face I meet . . .

Love Armed

By Aphra Behn

Love in Fantastic Triumph sat,
Whilst Bleeding Hearts around him flowed,
For whom Fresh pains he did Create, . . .

Love (III)

By George Herbert

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew backLove bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back compare Song of Solomon 5:6. "I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had with drawen himself" (Authorized Version, 1611). "Bade" is past tense of "bid," and in Herbert's time was pronounced like "bad."
    . . .

Love Lives Beyond the Tomb

By John Clare

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew—
               I love the fond, . . .

"Love of My Flesh, Living Death"

By Lorna Dee Cervantes

Once I wasn’t always so plain.
I was strewn feathers on a cross
of dune, an expanse of ocean . . .