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.

The Obligation to Be Happy

By Linda Pastan

It is more onerous
than the rites of beauty
or housework, harder than love. . . .

The Ocean

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Ocean has its silent caves,
Deep, quiet, and alone;
Though there be fury on the waves, . . .


By Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers . . .

Ode on Solitude

By Alexander Pope

Happy the man, whose wish and care
   A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air, . . .

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

By Robert Duncan

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,   
that is not mine, but is a made place,
. . .

['Often rebuked, yet always back returning']

By Emily Brontë

Often rebuked, yet always back returning
    To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning . . .

"oh antic God"

By Lucille Clifton

oh antic God
return to me
my mother in her thirties    . . .

“Oh could I raise the darken’d veil”

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Oh could I raise the darken’d veil,
Which hides my future life from me,
Could unborn ages slowly sail, . . .

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes

By Charlotte Smith

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
      How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the withered rose, . . .

Old Ironsides

By Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
   Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see . . .

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