In an Acrostic a phrase is written down the page and each line of the poem begins with each word of the phrase, this is referred to as a Phrase Acrostic. There is also a Word Acrostic in which a word is written down the page and each line of the poem begins with the corresponding letter of the word. Words or phrases can also be hidden diagonal through a poem as well. The Telestich is similar to an Acrostic except that the significant word or phrase is spelled out by the last letters or words of each line rather than by the first letters or words. In a Mesostich the phrase occurs in the very middle of the lines. Another variation of the phrase Acrostic is the Emmett. In an Emmett you begin with a five word phrase as the first line, the second line begins with the second word of line one, the third with the third and so on, there is also an end rhyme scheme of A,B,B,A,B.

An Acrostic
creates poetry with hidden letters or phrases in a
row down the page
on the left
side, when
the word or phrase
is spelled our on the right side it is called a Telestich
can I stop now?

Words or phrases can also be hidden diagonal through the poem or there can be more than one word or phrase in the poem if you want to challenge yourself and your reader. Theoretically you can have the same number of words in a line and spell our various phrases with each row and column, but I’m not going to do that just now, you try that one for yourselves. I am going to keep it simple and start with a quote:

“hunting a new horizon of howls” Theodore Roethke

hunting the end of
a trail of
new grown night, I look to the
horizon and dream
of time without boarders, then
howls awaken me to a groggy morning chill


the dream of hunting
frozen turkeys in a
valley of mustard seed and new
tomato shoots on every horizon
recalls me to a time of
breaking fasts when every scent is greeted with saliva and howls


the hunting pigeons of Madagascar
dig a trench with their toes
and new shoes in order to disorientate worms of their sense
of horizon and time
and of course, the worms don’t like it
their howls can be heard all throughout the soil

You get the idea.

“darkness walks into the sun” Robin Skelton

darkness is a virtue where the dream
walks self-assured and proud
into the dying light of
the dying night
sunlight brings a new kind of light and the dream is forgotten

darkness dissolves into a woodpecker
who walks beyond the forest
tapping messages into silent dance hop dance
dislocating branches and the occasional monk who climbs trees for a
better view of the sun

“I burn desiring what the heart desires” Mahadeviyakka (translated by A. K. Ramanujan)

I, the eternal question
burning in liquid lamentation
desiring only
what it is to know
the knowledge of knowledge, the
heart of all that can be forgotten…
desires waver and vanish

“Can you keep the deep water still and clear” Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching via Ursula K. Le Guin

can this moment begin to keep
you near
keep you almost close
the distance of a fire between the
deep of the next flame, where
water doesn’t touch
still, near is only important compared to far
and far is where you are
clear blue sky between us and the wind touching each of our distant lips

“I walk through the words of my words” Robin Skelton

I exist to be taken for a
the park shouting my
words which you don’t understand
of which are curses, blessings, exclamations, questions, and greetings
my whole vocabulary
words which you don’t need to understand to understand

“what a congress of stinks” Theodore Roethke

what happens in DC stays on TV
a situation in which every
Congress disagrees with but does nothing about
of course no one wants them to change that one, we just want the incredible
stinks to get aired out, preferable somewhere far away from our noses

“in the hour of ripeness the tree is barren” Theodore Roethke

in this quiet staleness
the room begins to buzz, an
hour has passed, will we mourn
of this disappeared unit of existence which
ripeness never touched?
the clock continues, not even a moment of silence for this hour like a
tree cut down in its prime saw blade minute by minute
is it wrong to feel for the abstract, such a
barren world filled with the graves of seconds and second thoughts

“burn the neat dead answers from my mind” Robin Skelton

burn the wrong period
the proceeding answer
neat and
answers without punctuation call
from the forest in the back of
my heart, though my
mind will not listen

“remember someone is always climbing a different mountain” Robin Skelton

remember: re-member, reconstruct the dismembered past
someone I knew, but don’t know, Frankenstein’s Monster
is our past, bits and pieces torn stitched together
always something missing, always something extra
climbing out of the mix
a kind of fusion with reality and fantasy which reality always is
different from reality only by distance like a
mountain seen from a different mountain seen again from the first

Here is a Mesostich:

tell me what is it
that makes sound without air
since when does vacuum vibrate?
how does it remember itself?
can I make magic too?

And an Emmett:

trapped in an instant photo
in a pose I didn’t mean to make
an irritating mistake
instant like a komodo
photograph I wish was fake


1 Comment

  1. carlpapapalmer

    WordPress is being difficult, won’t let me comment unless I have your permission.Maybe you don’t want my comments, but I will comment that the background still sucks. My user name is carlpapapalmer

    Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 04:35:10 +0000 To:

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