Monday, January 06, 2014

Monday Poetry Stretch - Trimeric

Happy new year! After a short break for the holidays, the Monday Poetry Stretch is back and ready to take on another form.

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.
I hope you'll join me this week in writing a trimeric. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Oh, the example poem hits me in my heart.

  2. Hoping to write an original piece later this week, but here's a reprise of my trimeric from last time this form came around:

    How to Play Bass Guitar

    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.

    ©2014 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  3. Oh my gosh--that is gorgeous! I have to write a sonnet and an ode this week for a teaching guide, but maybe I'll play with a trimeric, too, if time permits...Never heard of this form. Thanks!

  4. I knew right away it would be hard to get lines that worked in multiple ways but it took me a while to realize it would also be hard to keep the poem moving forward. Thanks for the challenge! I was clearly inspired by the content as well as the form.

    The Best Day of Sixth Grade

    One day after school
    he was waiting for me.
    Without saying a word
    he handed me a candy and ran off.

    He was waiting for me!
    Nobody else
    went home that way.

    Without saying a word
    I took it.
    I knew peach jolly ranchers were his favorite.

    He handed me a candy and ran off
    leaving me
    with a sweet memory.

    © 2014 Elizabeth Steinglass, all rights reserved

  5. I really like this form! It seems to lend itself to narrative. My first attempt ended up telling a sad story:

    As she lay feverish and dying upstairs,
    downstairs he was renovating the kitchen cabinets.
    Long ago she had wished this wish;
    now he knew he was running out of time.

    Downstairs he was renovating the kitchen cabinets
    with new handles, spring-bright colors.
    His memory as fresh as paint, he recalled that

    long ago she had wished this wish,
    and he had scoffed, probably rolled his eyes,
    muttered about lack of money or time – yes, time.

    Now he knew he was running out of time.
    The robins in the garden tree were nesting,
    And the egg-blue cabinets were just half-done.

    ~Elisabeth M. Priest, 2014

  6. Such good stuff this week! I read about this online and wrote a poem…

    Weather God

    No one should leave the house right now—
    the temperature is 30 below.
    My brother’s outside making snow,
    creating clouds like a weather god.

    The temperature is 30 below.
    If it weren’t, he would burn his face,
    throwing boiling water into air.

    My brother’s outside making snow,
    shaping a miniature storm
    while I’m inside where it’s warm.

    Creating clouds like a weather god,
    he smiles. Then bangs into the kitchen.
    He leaves the pan on the table.

    —Kate Coombs, 2014
    all rights reserved

  7. Liz and Kate, I enjoyed reading your poems of memories and weather gods. I can relate to both.

    Beth: I read this one three times, as it's a fantastic use of the form and an intriguing, well-crafted narrative.



    The snow has finally melted.
    The sidewalks are clear again.
    My morning walk is free of danger:
    confidence returns to my step.

    The sidewalks are clear again,
    although piles of grainy, dirty snow remain
    where snowplows cleared parking lots.

    My morning walk is free of danger,
    is again a time of brisk strides
    and introspection.

    Confidence returns to my step
    until my nose alerts me:
    it's also warm enough to awaken skunks.

    ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

  9. LUCKY 13

    Mom didn’t make it to my 13th year –
    It’s not like she didn’t try.
    “I can’t wait ‘til you’re a teenager!” She said.
    I’m sorry it never came to pass.

    It’s not like she didn’t try;
    Writhing in pain, cancer’s a train
    That leaves angels in its wake.

    “I can’t wait ‘til you’re teenager!” She said.
    That was her mantra, a daily affirmation
    Of a mothers love.

    I’m sorry it never came to pass,
    I know you’re celebrating somewhere –
    Forgive me if I don’t feel like doing the same.

    (c) Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.