Whittled Words – Triversen Poem



Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:




Here is, Triversen, a fun poetic form developed by William Carlos Williams (one of the principal poets in the Imagist movement). I like this form because of its flexibility.


Here are the Triversen rules:


  • Each stanza equals one sentence.
  • Each sentence/stanza breaks into 3 lines (each line is a separate phrase in the sentence).
  • There is a variable foot of 2-4 beats per line.
  • The poem, in total, should add up to 18 lines (or 6 stanzas).



 I have found one variation of the form, written by Williams himself, that has 21 lines (or 7 stanzas).




Examples of Triversen Poems:




by Keith Beekler


I’m on a train headed home
to visit my parents on a
whim that was convenient.

there’s a woman stitching up
her granddaughter’s stuffed animal
because it was ripped.

she said she was doing surgery
and not to worry, because the
little guy was gonna make it.

her little granddaughter asked
if he was asleep, if it would
hurt when he woke up.

the grandmother said, “He just needs
to rest and to take it easy;
I’m prescribing a lot of love.”

a lot of love is all a stuffed
animal needs when he’s
getting stitched back up at the seams.




By Rob Halpin


The winter sun dips slowly down
behind the lonely hill
where we bury our loved ones.

The cross atop grandma’s tombstone
casts a shadow that bridges
the distance to our house.

Taking this dark pathway,
the ghosts of our dead kin
come to call on us each night.

What we found terrifying
at first, we now accept
as something of a blessing.

It’s difficult to explain
to others, so we don’t
invite many folks over.

But each sunny, winter day
means a family visit
from our loved ones under the hill.




By Brad Osborne


A flash of chrome,

on the long run home

as skies fill with gray.

I need more speed

from faithful steed,

to hold the rain at bay.

If I had known

how far I’d roam,

I’d given it more thought.

Of how it feels,

when on two wheels,

and in the rain be caught.

As my vision narrows,

raindrops sting me like arrows,

and I search for cover to borrow.

I get home all soaking wet,

beaten down but I would bet,

I’ll be riding again tomorrow.





I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Triversen poem. Thanks for reading!




18 Responses to “Whittled Words – Triversen Poem”
  1. yassy says:

    This is nice , Brad. Thank you for sharing .

  2. kristianw84 says:

    Excellent work, as per usual. I absolutely adore the first poem as well. I really like this style of poem too. I might have to try my own. 😊❤

    • Brad Osborne says:

      It is a fun style to work in. It allows for more complete thought to be conveyed and lends itself beautifully to a number of subjects. Can’t wait to see what your inspiration leads to! Always sending love and best wishes! ❤😘🤗

  3. Brad, thank you so much for sharing. Wonderful post. I am learning from you. 💕

  4. WildHeart says:

    Hey Brad, here’s my attempt at Triversen Poem. It’s 7 stanza, 21 lines. But I don’t know if I got it right. 😬🙈

    Best friends since five,
    his charming smile,
    stole my heart. 

    Went to highschool together,
    his flirtatious ways,
    killed me every day. 

    Then suddenly, one fine day,
    a beautiful miracle happened,
    he looked at me in a different way.

    My heart leapt with joy,
    as he looked into my eyes,
    and finally he confessed.

    “You’ve been the one all along,
    that’s why it never worked with another;
    let’s promise a forever together.”

    As he leaned towards me,
    for our very first kiss,
    my dream broke, I woke up. 

    But I felt his lips on mine,
    as he smiled and whispered,
    “Happy 5th Anniversary.”


    • Brad Osborne says:

      You did better than just getting it right. The form is perfect (six or seven stanzas is the norm) with each stanza being its own sentence that could stand alone. And the story that unfolds leads to such a beautifully heart-warming closing stanza. I love your poem and thank you for sharing it here so that my readers can also enjoy your artistry! Much love, always! ❤🥰❣😘💕

      • WildHeart says:

        Thank you so much Brad. I was a little skeptical that it didn’t fit the 2-4 beat per line rule. But if you like it, I love it!! You’re such a motivation. Thank you so much!! 🙈🙈🥰❣️💕💕

  5. Brad Osborne says:

    As I read it, I did not notice that there was an overabundance of stressed feet in any line. It is hard sometimes to determine stressed meter when it can depend on the readers own linguistic tendencies and conceptualized delivery. You did great. Don’t worry about fitting a mold exactly. What is important is the beauty you create in the effort, and your poem is beautiful! 💋🍌🐵

  6. Jim Borden says:

    I like this style of poem, and I can tell you are getting itchy to get back on your bike!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] This is a poem inspired by Brad Osborne’s Whittled Words – Triversen Poem. […]

  2. […] learned this form of poetry from Whittled Words- Triversen Poem by Brad Osborne. I had so much fun writing […]

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