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.

[What horror to awake at night]

By Lorine Niedecker

What horror to awake at night
and in the dimness see the light.
               Time is white . . .

What It Does

By David Ferry

The sea bit,
As they said it would,
And the hill slid, . . .

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain . . .

What to Say Upon Being Asked to Be Friends

By Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Why speak of hate, when I do bleed for love?
Not hate, my love, but Love doth bite my tongue
Till I taste stuff that makes my rhyming rough . . .

When All My Five and Country Senses See

By Dylan Thomas

When all my five and country senses see,
The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark   
How, through the halfmoon’s vegetable eye,    . . .

When I Am Asked

By Lisel Mueller

When I am asked   
how I began writing poems,   
I talk about the indifference of nature.    . . .

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
   And that one Talent which is death to hide . . .

When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be

By John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
   Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery, . . .

When You Are Old

By William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look . . .

The White City

By Claude McKay

I will not toy with it nor bend an inch.
Deep in the secret chambers of my heart
I muse my life-long hate, and without flinch . . .

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