Erin Hanson Poems

12 Line Poems (Recognized as Elizabethan Poems)

Although it typically consists of a septet (7 lines) and a cinquain, 12 line poems is referred to as a Rondeau Prime in the French language (5 lines).

12 Line Poems

12 Line Poems

Despite being brief to read, a 12 line inspirational poem is long enough to contain substantial meaning.

When it comes to poetry, there are no correct or incorrect responses. Write your poetry whatever you want to, even if it lacks rhyme or syllable structure.

In this article, we have compiled some examples of unique 12 line poems that can serve as a guide to creating your own poem.

1. June:  The Gianicolo by Mary Jo Salter

Driven to this, the pairs of lovers roll

into the parking lot like shaken dice,

and though  they’ve come expressly for a vista

much grander than themselves, begin to fuse

into the other’s eyes.  Oh, that fond conviction

of a match made in Heaven!

Below them, at the base

of an ancient hill, the million lamps of Rome

light up in rosy approbation, each

signalling to one chosen counterpart

among the stars the nightly freshened wish

to lie uniquely in its dazzled gaze.

2. Picture by Tadeusz Rozewicz

Who will recognize him

mother father brothers
that other woman perhaps
whose face
in a clouded mirror
flows down like rain

and you
when you look at yourself
what do you see

I see a man created
in the image and likeness of a god
who’s gone

3. Best Friend Robot Poem by Jason Christie

The best friend robot said:  “am i than ‘smater’

are you but retard drater hrum!”  And my dad

wanted to take him back to Robots ‘R’ Us,

but I felt bad for him because he’d been

getting into my dad’s really good oil stock

lately.  Normally, he’d have a few squirts on

New Year’s or Christmas Morning, but lately

my Robot dad and my Robot Best Friend have

been disagreeing a lot.  Mom won’t talk to either

of them.  She plays bridge with all of her online

friends once a week and I overhear her complain

when I sit quietly at the top of the escalator.


4. Prodded Out of Prayer by Margaret Avison

Stilled yet by
the gauzed withdrawingness of
midmorning sky:

lo, a sharply lit
acutely poignant
and wonderfully humorous

It was an ant
towing a grass-blade
in a bee-line, but on
rougher terrain,
to the anthill.

5. The Dogwood Trees by Robert Hayden

Seeing dogwood trees in bloom,
I am reminded, Robin,
of our journey through the mountains
in an evil time.

Among rocks and rock-filled streams
white bracts of dogwood
clustered. Beyond, nearby, shrill slums
were burning,

the crooked crosses flared. We drove
with bitter knowledge
of the odds against comradeship we dared
and were at one.

6. Words by Martin Carter

These poet words, nuggets out of corruption
or jewels dug from dung or speech from flesh
still bloody red, still half afraid to plunge
in the ceaseless waters foaming over death.

These poet words, nuggets no jeweller sells
across the counter of the world’s confusion
but far and near, internal or external
burning the agony of earth’s complaint.

These poet words have secrets locked in them
like nuggets laden with the younger sun.
Who will unlock must first himself be locked
who will be locked must first himself unlock.


7. The Yoga Exercise by Floyd Skloot

Within a rushing stream of morning light
she stands still as a heron with one sole
held flush along the other inner thigh
and her long arms like bony wings folded
back so that when the motion of a breeze
passes through her body there is a deep

repose at its root and in an eye’s blink
she has become this gently swaying tree
stirring in the wind of its breath while linked
to ground by the slow flow of energy
that brings her limbs together now in prayer
and blessing for the peace she is finding there.

8. Sender’s Address by Henrik Nordbrandt

The storm is rising and the buried people who lay
smouldering in me all summer are glowing
would break out in a blaze
if the wind found so much as a crack.

But the house is wind-proof. The ash from my cigarette
falls off by itself
and the postage stamp on the window-sill lies unmoving
although the walls shake under the force of the storm.

Here there’s nothing to be sent
and nothing to be received.
The letters on my table are not going to fly.
The sender’s address is too heavy.

9. The Art of War by Tony Towle

I’m sorry I was asleep when you called.

I was up till dawn

attacking the Prussians at Ligny,

and I didn’t do a good job, I’m afraid, there

were still plenty left

when I pushed “save”

and shut down the computer.  I’m glad

I didn’t know any of them personally

as I ordered the 12 – pounders

to concentrate on the tiny clusters of veteran brigades,

and clicked on all the available cavalry

to erase the inexperienced Landwehr from the screen.


10. Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Opus 59 by Linda Pastan

The violins
are passionately
occupied, but
it is the cellist

who seems to be
holding the music
in his arms,
moving his bow

as if it were
a dowsing rod
and the audience
dying of thirst.

11. The Song of the Whisk by Eric Ormsby

My flail demolishes
The gold of yolks;
My mesh abolishes
What it would coax.

The waterspout can frisk
While it souffles the sea;
What’s the twister but a whisk
For instant entropy?

I will erect a pinnacle
Of undulant bearnaise;
With clicking quite clinical,
Paradisal mayonnaise.

A sonnet comprises 14 lines, however, a poem with only 12 lines is recognized in the literature as an Elizabethan poet’s variation on the sonnet. There is no specific name for a 12 line poems in English literature other than what is used here.

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