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!


8 Responses to “Whittled Words – Triversen Poem”
  1. beth says:

    fun form, love the stuffed animal, and of course you’ll be back writing

  2. beth says:

    oops, riding. ) and writing too

  3. Jim Borden says:

    I like the format of these poems; is your bike away for the season?

  4. kristianw84 says:

    I love your passion for riding! I can imagine riding in the rain stings a bit. I do love to walk in it, though.

    Anyway, beautiful poem, and I hope you got a lot of rides in this year!

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