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 Waking

By Theodore Roethke

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go. . . .

Waking from Sleep

By Robert Bly

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,
Tiny explosions at the waterlines,
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood. . . .

The War in the Air

By Howard Nemerov

For a saving grace, we didn't see our dead,
Who rarely bothered coming home to die
But simply stayed away out there . . .

War Widow

By Chris Abani

The telephone never rings. Still
you pick it up, smile into the static,
the breath of those you’ve loved; long dead. . . .

The Watchers

By William Stanley Braithwaite

Two women on the lone wet strand
   (The wind's out with a will to roam)
The waves wage war on rocks and sand,  . . .

Waving Goodbye

By Gerald Stern

I wanted to know what it was like before we
had voices and before we had bare fingers and before we
had minds to move us through our actions . . .

The Way It Sometimes Is

By Henry Taylor

At times it is like watching a face you have just met,
trying to decide who it reminds you of—
no one, surely, whom you ever hated or loved, . . .

Ways of Talking

By Ha Jin

We used to like talking about grief
Our journals and letters were packed
with losses, complaints, and sorrows. . . .

Weighing In

By Rhina P. Espaillat

What the scale tells you is how much the earth
has missed you, body, how it wants you back
again after you leave it to go forth . . .

The Well Rising

By William E. Stafford

The well rising without sound,
the spring on a hillside,
the plowshare brimming through deep ground . . .

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