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 Cities Inside Us

By Alberto Ríos

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

Clear Night

By Charles Wright

Clear night, thumb-top of a moon, a back-lit sky.
Moon-fingers lay down their same routine
On the side deck and the threshold, the white keys and the black keys. . . .

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; . . .


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 . . .


By Ravi Shankar

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