Passion For Poetry

Today I'd like to share a new form with you that I stumbled across a few months ago.

The Sevenling

According to most sources, the Sevenling was inspired by this short verse by Anna Akhmatova:

He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America.

He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.

… And he married me.

Roddy Lumsden, in the American Poetry Journal, has this to say about the form of the Sevenling:

The first three lines should contain an element of three – three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. This can take up all of the three lines or be contained anywhere within them. Then, lines four to six should similarly contain an element of three, connected directly or indirectly or not at all. The seventh line should act as a narrative punchline or as an unusual juxtaposition. There are no set metrical rules, but being such a short form, some rhythm, metre or rhyme is desirable. To give the form a recognisable shape, it should be set out in two stanzas of three lines, with a solitary seventh, last line. Titles are not required. A sevenling should be titled Sevenling followed by the first few words in parentheses. The tone of the sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing giving a feeling that only part of the story is being told. The poem should have a certain ambience which invites guesswork from the reader.

Although the Sevenling does not require a strict rhyme scheme or syllable count, I found it did require a bit of thought. This would be a great form for beginners.

Sevenling (A moonlit garden)

A moonlit garden at midnight
Where fairies dance, and pixies caper
And crickets sing.

A mistaken step and
Fairies fled, and pixies gone
And silence now

I wish they would return.

Sevenling (A view from outside)

A view from outside my window:
The sun has fled, the leaves have turned,
The winter comes.

Looking inward I see
New growth has stilled, the air is close,
The cold descends

without the changing of the season.

Go ahead and give the Sevenling a try. Once you get the hang of it you may not want to stop.


Cat Lavoie said...

I've never heard of this form (which is embarrassing since I'm an English grad) but it's really interesting. Your poems are lovely. The first one is my favourite. :)

C R Ward said...

Thank you Catherine! And don't be embarrassed that you've never heard of the Sevenling before. I've explored over 100 different poetry forms and I'm still finding new ones!