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 Cities Inside Us

By Alberto Ríos

We live in secret cities
And we travel unmapped roads.
. . .

The Clouded Morning

By Jones Very

The morning comes, and thickening clouds prevail,
    Hanging like curtains all the horizon round,
Or overhead in heavy stillness sail; . . .

Coda

By Basil Bunting

A strong song tows
us, long earsick.
Blind, we follow . . .

Cold Blooded Creatures

By Elinor Wylie

Man, the egregious egoist,
(In mystery the twig is bent,)
Imagines, by some mental twist, . . .

Come into Animal Presence

By Denise Levertov

Come into animal presence.
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white . . .

The Coming of the Plague

By Weldon Kees

September was when it began.
Locusts dying in the fields; our dogs
Silent, moving like shadows on a wall; . . .

Concord Hymn

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood . . .

The Consent

By Howard Nemerov

Late in November, on a single night
Not even near to freezing, the ginkgo trees
That stand along the walk drop all their leaves . . .

Contraction

By Ravi Shankar

Honest self-scrutiny too easily mutinies,
    mutates into false memories
Which find language a receptive host, . . .

Cool Tombs

By Carl Sandburg

When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs, he forgot the copperheads and the assassin ... in the dust, in the cool tombs.

And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall Street, cash and collateral turned ashes ... in the dust, in the cool tombs. . . .