Worm verse

Continuing the invertebrate theme from yesterday, I thought I’d try my hand at worm verse. This is an invention of Ivy Alvarez. As she explained back on July 29,

I had this idea that I was talking out and working aloud with my s.o., about a chapbook of poems composed mostly of median letters.

You know, those letters that live in the middle, that don’t have tops [b, d, f, h, i, j, k, l, t] nor tails [g, j, p, q and y]. The worms of a c e m n o r s u v w x z.

How clean they look! How streamlined!

And quite surprising how many letters there are. And these are choice letters. You can do a lot with these, I thought. And you know, poets love a challenge. Well, some do.

Not satisfied with this restriction, however, she

bred it together with the hay(na)ku form, created by Eileen Tabios (a.k.a The Chatelaine), and described on the Hay(na)ku website as “a tercet where the first line consists of one word, the second line of two words, and the third line of three words”.

Some of Ivy’s recent efforts are here (scroll down for all three days’ worth). One favorite:

we ever
rename our summers

nor can
we romance names

I’ve never been too concerned about the look of poems on the page (or screen). What interests me about writing with only a few letters is that one can focus entirely on groping for sense and let alliteration and assonance take care of themselves. To be fully wormy, I think, one should follow Ivy’s example and eschew all punctuation (except perhaps for dashes and periods), a rule I was unable to stick to.


unmans me,
scours some vacuum.

zoom –
no more
raceme. no manners.

women swoon
over warm sermons,

more raves.
so are we

mere error,
a nacreous sum?

muse, we
serve an ovum.

roman urn
amazes me more.

So go ahead, try this at home. (And feel free to litter my comment boxes with the results!)

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