Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Poetry Stretch - Trimeric

After a long hiatus, the Monday Poetry Stretch is back! I hope a few of you are still out there and ready to take on some new challenges and forms.

The trimeric is a form that was invented by Dr. Charles A. Stone. Here's how he describes it.
Trimeric \tri-(meh)-rik\ n: a four stanza poem in which the first stanza has four lines and the last three stanzas have three lines each, with the first line of each repeating the respective line of the first stanza.  The sequence of lines, then, is abcd, b – -, c – -, d – -.
At first I thought this would be relatively easy because the first lines of stanzas 2, 3 and 4 are already written (seeing as how they use lines 2, 3 and 4 of the first stanza). Boy, was I wrong! That first four line stanza is so important! The lines must hang together, but they must also be able to stand on their own as introductions to the other stanzas. 

There are many examples on Dr. Stone's trimerics page. Here is one of my favorites.
by Dr. Charles A. Stone 
I sent her a secret message on her birthday,
though she thought it was an ordinary card
in an every day envelope
from the innocent boy next door. 
Though she thought it was an ordinary card
she taped it to the wall with others she had
received in her eleventh year.  Then, 
in an every day envelope,
she mailed a simple thank-you note
back to me, but she forgot to sign it. 
From the innocent boy next door
to the man I am today, I’ll never forget how hard
I cried because I had forgotten to add I love you. 
Published with the author’s permission.
So, your challenge for the week is to write a trimeric. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll share the results on Poetry Friday.


  1. Welcome back, Tricia! Here's my trimeric:


    I write poetry, too,
    I told the long thin woman in purple.
    She wants to start a poetry group.
    Now I wish I hadn’t said anything.

    I told the long thin woman in purple
    I write, but I should have found her
    a feather and fed her cookies.

    She wants to start a poetry group.
    She has burning, frightened eyes—
    Emily Dickinson caught outside the house.

    Now I wish I hadn’t said anything.
    My poems are leaves in baskets and hers
    are silver bullets looking for werewolves.

    --Kate Coombs, 2012
    All rights reserved

    1. Wow, Kate, that ending packs a punch! Great imagery.

  2. I don't always reply, but have worked to write many of your challenges, & have missed them, Tricia. I'm glad you're back. Thank you for all your ideas!
    I have been much worried about the drought this summer. We have had the terrible fires in Colorado, & I traveled to visit family in Missouri, & have never seen it look so bad. I tried your trimeric, & again I wrote about the drought.

    The Joke

    Clouds crowd the sun
    out of the picture.
    They leak into the evening
    I wouldn’t call it rain.

    Out of the picture,
    this saving of crops by farmers.
    Corn droops in sorrow.

    They leak into the evening
    drop by drop by drop,
    offending my ears.

    I wouldn’t call it rain
    but only teasing tears.
    Prayers ignored again.

  3. Here's an attempt at a humorous, rhyming variation-on-a-trimeric.


    Now all through the summer I begged and I whined
    In hopes that my parents would make up their mind
    But parents have reasons to do what they do
    And that's why I sit here and grumble and stew.

    In hopes that my parents would make up their mind
    I begged and cajoled and I craved and I pined
    Until they said, 'Yes, we are almost inclined -

    But parents have reasons to do what they do
    And that's why we're saying - No! No pup for you!'

    And with that they sent all my planning askew

    And that's why I sit here and grumble and stew
    For now there's no dog who I hoped to have 'chew'
    The homework I shirked, which I'll now have to do.


    Boy, this was hard. If the trimeric wasn't challenging enough on it's own, I think I compounded the problem for myself by trying to rhyme it... :)

  4. Bravo, Vikram! That did make it harder, and I'm impressed that you pulled it off. Linda, how poignant. I really like the line "I wouldn't call it rain." Down-to-earth with a hint of bitterness.

  5. I resisted this at first, but you three inspired me to give it a try:

    How to Play Bass Guitar
    By Steven Withrow

    Grip with both hands and throttle its throat,
    this obstinate and bell-bottomed bird
    asleep in your lap, ostrich-brained:
    there’s nothing here that’s musical.

    This obstinate and bell-bottomed bird,
    begin to stroke its fattest string
    and hear it bare its baritone.

    Asleep in your lap, ostrich-brained,
    it thrums a slow and walking blues,
    but don’t confuse your fingers yet.

    There’s nothing here that’s musical.
    Listen for the catch in its breathing
    in other birds would pass for singing.

    Copyright 2012 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  6. I like it, Steven! Especially the way you talk about its non-musicality, awkward as an ostrich, that somehow works.

  7. Hmmm--I posted this yesterday (Was #3 or 4 I believe), along with comments, and all seems to have disappeared into the ether. Will try again.

    A Novel Trimaric

    I am finishing a novel,
    It is not going well.
    Perhaps the second time
    proves or improves the charm.

    It is not going well.
    My mind bobbles the ball,
    and I struck out the first time.

    Perhaps the second time
    (and it is time moved back,
    fifty years or so)

    proves or improves the charm,
    had I a bit of magic to use
    and not just 40,000 words.

    ©2012 Jane Yolen All rights reserved

  8. Oops--forgot to post this earlier...

    Hens on holiday? Never!

    Was there ever a line quite as sublime as
    the one about hens working overtime?
    cheeping and peeping on two skinny legs,
    they spend all day pumping—pumping out eggs.

    The one about hens working overtime?
    stuck in the hencoop, clucking away,
    preening their feathers, puffing their fluff,
    they sit on their buttocks most of the day.

    Cheeping and peeping on two skinny legs,
    they cackle and crackle whenever an egg—
    speckled and brown ones, bluey ones, too—
    appears in the hollow beneath where they lay.

    They spend all day pumping—pumping out eggs—
    who’d ever have thought they’d do nothing but lay?
    no one, I’d wager, except Farmer Clay,
    who makes a good living from combing the hay.

    (c) juliekrantz, 2012


    Hey there Mom I'd like pie today
    Since today's my birthday,
    For breakfast, lunch and dinner?
    Why do you look so sad?

    Since today's my birthday
    Why not eat whatever I want?
    This only happens once a year.

    For breakfast, lunch and dinner
    I'd never get bored of your pie
    warm, sweet, flaky, a daytime/nighttime treat.

    Why do you look so sad?
    I'm on my knees, begging, PLEASE?
    Thank you Mom! Please serve it up, Baby boy is hungry!

    (c) Charles Waters 2012 all rights reserved.

  10. Thanks for sharing! I'd not heard of trimerics, but am anxious to work on one now!

  11. Used this poetic form here for the Word of the Month "Tendril" and found that its harder than it sounds to create a trimeric. Smiles!!