25 Lines and Fewer

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ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2013-2014 Poetry Out Loud competition. More information here.

The moon now rises to her absolute rule

By Henry David Thoreau

The moon now rises to her absolute rule,
And the husbandman and hunter
Acknowledge her for their mistress. . . .

More Lies

By Karin Gottshall

Sometimes I say I’m going to meet my sister at the café—
even though I have no sister—just because it’s such
a beautiful thing to say. I’ve always thought so, ever since . . .

The Mower

By Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass. . . .

Mrs. Adam

By Kathleen Norris

Wake up,
you’ll need your wits about you.
This is not a dream, . . .

Mrs. Kessler

By Edgar Lee Masters

Mr. Kessler, you know, was in the army,
And he drew six dollars a month as a pension,
And stood on the corner talking politics, . . .

mulberry fields

By Lucille Clifton

they thought the field was wasting
and so they gathered the marker rocks and stones and
piled them into a barn    they say that the rocks were shaped . . .

Musical Moment

By Virginia Hamilton Adair

Always the caravan of sound made us halt   
to admire the swinging and the swift go-by   
of beasts with enormous hooves and heads    . . .

The Man with Night Sweats

By Thom Gunn

I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat   
Wake to their residue,    . . .

[My mother saw the green tree toad]

By Lorine Niedecker

My mother saw the green tree toad
on the window sill
her first one . . .

My Papa’s Waltz

By Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath   
Could make a small boy dizzy;   
But I hung on like death:    . . .

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