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.

England in 1819

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring; . . .

Enough

By Suzanne Buffam

I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.
  . . .

Entirely

By Louis MacNeice

If we could get the hang of it entirely
   It would take too long;
All we know is the splash of words in passing    . . .

Envy

By Mary Lamb

This rose-tree is not made to bear
The violet blue, nor lily fair,
   Nor the sweet mignionet: . . .

Epilogue

By Robert Browning

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
When you set your fancies free,
Will they pass to where—by death, fools think, imprisoned— . . .

Epitaph

By Katherine Philips

What on Earth deserves our trust?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain, . . .

Epitaph on the Lady Mary Villiers

By Thomas Carew

This little vault, this narrow room,
Of Love, and Beauty, is the tomb;
The dawning beam that gan to clear . . .

Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child, the Last of Seven that Died Before

By Aphra Behn


This Little, Silent, Gloomy Monument,
Contains all that was sweet and innocent ; . . .

every single day

By John Straley

Suppose I said the word “springtime”
and I wrote the words “king salmon”
on a piece of paper . . .

Ex Machina

By Linda Gregerson

When love was a question, the message arrived
in the beak of a wire and plaster bird. The coloratura
was hardly to be believed. For flight, . . .