Sunday, August 3, 2014


       The minute is a 12-line poem with iambic meter and couplet rhyme (aa, bb, cc, dd, ee, ff).  It is also a syllable- count poem.  Lines 1, 5, and 9 have 8 syllables; the rest have 4.  So the total poem may be represented as follows:  8-4-4-4-8-4-4-4-8-4-4-4, for a total of 60 syllables, the number of seconds in a minute. The poem appears as one block.  The message of the poem is supposed to capture a moment in time.
       The minute was created by Verna Lee Hinegardner, former Poet Laureate of Arkansas (deceased).  The first example is by Mary Harper Sowell.

Deer Hunt

I stood and raised my rifle high
as he walked by.
He paused to drink
at water's brink.
He stood erect and sniffed the air--
and saw me there.
I held my breath
as still as death.
But when he stared with frightened eyes, 
to my surprise,
I walked away--
and let him stay. 

Here's a second example. This one is from Lee Ann Russell's book, How to Write Poetry (1991, 1996, revised edition 2000). 

Quiet Time

A place behind the old garage,
a warm mirage
with window seat
and things to eat.
The dolls that shared my time alone
were often prone
upon my lap
where they could nap.
The playhouse filled my life with charm
wherein no harm
would dare intrude
on solitude.


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