Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Shortest Poems

How short can a poem gets?

photo by krosseel
image from

A haiku, 3 lines, 17 syllables? Ginsberg's American Sentence, 1 sentence, 17 syllables, no more no less. Or a monostitch, a one line poem, usually less than 17 syllables?

Or Strickland Gillilan's couplet "Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes" :

      Had 'em.

Seems like the title is longer than the poem.

Or "Ode to a Goldfish", often attributed to Ogden Nash :

      Oh, wet

Just 3 syllables, my friends.

Or how about this one, just one word "lighght" by Aram Saroyan, which caused a little storm between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Congress.

Or how about this one, "ly" by Geof Huth? Was he thinking of adverbs when he wrote this?

Or this by Bill Pauly (from The Haiku Handbook) which doesn't even had a word. Do you see the cat on the fence?

And in my opinion, the best shortest poem, if there is such a thing, is by jwcurry. Just a lower case i dotted with his own fingerprint. Like this (done with my own fingerprint, for this illustration).

And from me, just for the fun for this post, 2 "short poems".

Do you see through the Lies?

another visual word from me. and how about this monostich that i wrote at my other blog :

pregnant silence after she said she was.

I know. Our attention span in this internet age is shorter than the power cable on the computer. This post is getting too draggy, so it is time to cut it short. Promise to be back with a longer poem next post. :)


(this is not a short poem)

sometimes, the less said, the better.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #285 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

Thought this was insightful indeed :D sometimes the lesser we speak the more impact we create.
Hope you're having a nice weekend!

Lots of love,

10 January, 2016 22:15  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Sanaa!
the weekend was good, but the earlier part of the week was... tough. :)

10 January, 2016 22:18  
Blogger Mary said...

Very, very clever! I like both of your contributions. Excellent visuals! Love the "G" in pregnant..... Truthfully, I think it is harder to write a VERY short poem oftentimes than to write a very long one. Yours took a lot of thought.

10 January, 2016 22:24  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

This was so much fun....I had not encountered many of these and they really make you clever....loved both of yours!

10 January, 2016 22:42  
Blogger Susan said...

Fun! To me this is an entire essay in/on short form.

10 January, 2016 23:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I still ramble on!!

10 January, 2016 23:55  
Blogger brudberg said...

Short poems is a challenge... indeed a good visual might help.. I guess a double meaning helps.

11 January, 2016 00:00  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

An interesting post, ds. I especially liked the pregnant pause, LOL.

11 January, 2016 00:23  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

Ooh we enjoyed very much! Couldn't choose between Ogden Nash or the j... Less is definitely more and very true about attention spans shorter than the computer ca.... ;)

11 January, 2016 00:49  
Blogger C.C. said...

Very interesting, indeed. There is something to be said for brevity, for sure. I am very intrigued by the "Adam Had'em" poem. Ha :-P

11 January, 2016 03:18  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

I love pregnant. Very, very cool.

11 January, 2016 06:26  
Blogger Susan said...

I thought I left a comment about the fun of reading and the overall form leading from one to the other being mighty compelling! Here it is again ... Great!

11 January, 2016 06:56  
Blogger Toni Spencer said...

Very interesting! I'm all for brevity.

11 January, 2016 12:04  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Love it! In the eighties (in Australia at least) these would have been classed as concrete poetry.)

11 January, 2016 17:31  
Blogger Marcoantonio Arellano said...

sometimes one leaf dangling speaks for the whole tree...etc.

insightful.we must remember; all is one


11 January, 2016 19:35  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


i do agree with you on this point, about being harder to write a very short poem than a very long one. because we have this less words to convey images and emotions
and yes, they do require much more thought. :)


glad you find it fun! :)


ah, you find it fun too. :)


thank you! :)


yes, short poems can be fun and challenging. i love writing haiku. i do have another blog just for shorter verses. :)


thank you! clever, eh? :D


haha, thank you! i prefer the jwcurry work though. nothing can be shorter. :D


that's true about brevity. you tend to put more thought into it.

Mama Zen,

haha! thank you. :)


thanks again. i have comment moderation on and sometimes it is late when i reply, due to work and so on. so it seems the comment may have been gobbled up by Blogger. :D


yes, i know. i have read your haiku. :)


yes, these are still classed as concrete poetry. not to everyone's taste though.

11 January, 2016 20:37  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Marcoantonio.

thanks for your insightful comment. :)

11 January, 2016 20:50  
Blogger ~Broken voices~ said...


11 January, 2016 22:21  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Tatius! :)

11 January, 2016 23:02  
Blogger Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Short. Breath. Ahhh.

12 January, 2016 00:48  
Blogger James Toma said...

this was a fun read! thanks.

12 January, 2016 08:44  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

M M T,

i think that's another short poem to savour!


the word "fun" keeps cropping up. i must be doing something right. :)

12 January, 2016 23:38  
Blogger A Cuban In London said...

That was fun. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

17 January, 2016 06:14  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

hey Cubano, glad to see you! :)

17 January, 2016 09:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it!

21 January, 2016 09:55  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, Rick! :)

21 January, 2016 23:18  

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