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Wheeler English

Lines & Rhymes: List Poems

The list poem explained.

Some poems are organized around a central idea: things of the same a color, about which you have the same feeling, or things that go under the same label. Here are some examples for you to copy. Think of things in your favorite color, things which scare you or which you love, or humorous groupings like excuses you have heard or annoying things about little brothers.

What is Orange?

Orange is a tiger lily,
A carrot,
A feather from
A parrot,
A flame,
The wildest color you can name.
Saying good-bye
In a sunset that
Shocks the sky .
Orange is brave
Orange is bold
It's bittersweet
And marigold.
Orange is zip
Orange is dash
The brightest stripe
In a Roman sash.
Orange is an orange
Also a mango.
Orange is the music
Of the tango.
Orange is the fur
Of the fiery fox,
The brightest crayon
In the box.
And in the fall
When the leaves are tuming
Orange is the smell
Of a bonfire burning.
---Mary O'Neill

These Have I Loved

These have I loved: warm rain dripping over tile roofs,
green frogs bellowing from lily pads;
pink peonies damp with cool dew drops;
wet grass between my toes; crinkly paper;
red ink;
chubby, blond-haired children building sand castles;
mud puddles moving as the wind makes tiny ripples across them;
large footprints on wet sand;
the sweet potato cart on bitter-city streets:
cold nights and warm woolly blanket;
light wind upon my face,
wet paint brushes on rough rice paper;
old men on park benches feeding the flocking pigeons,

-Barbara Farnstein


Swift Things Are Beautiful

Swift things are beautiful
Swallows and deer,
And lightning that falls
Bright-veined and clear,
Rivers and meteors,
Wind in the wheat.
The strong-withered horse ,
The runner's sure feet.

And slow things are beautiful:
The dosing of day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles,
The opening flower,
And the ox that moves on
In the quiet of power.

--Elizabeth Coatswork

Click for page 2: more list poems