Whittled Words – Concrete 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:




Concrete poetry, sometimes referred to as ‘sculpted poetry’, is one of the more experimental poetic forms available to poets. Concrete poems use structure and space to communicate the meaning of the words as a visual representation. In this way, concrete poetry is one of the most visual poetic forms.

These shapely poems can be read apart from their forced visual form and still be understood clearly. However, the shape is meant to add to the beauty, not detract from it. Of course, concrete poetry has plenty of detractors because of the weight structure has on the words, but as much thought goes into concrete poetry as any other form.

There are no requirements for this form. And, although it is an open form of poetry, the creative poet can find a way to include meter or rhyme scheme should they wish. The hardest part for me was finding a way to create the desired shape while writing within a standard word processing software. Takes a little time, good word choices, and a bit of creative editing, like additional spaces between words to hold the shape of one line to the next.


Examples of Concrete Poems:



by George Herbert



Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,

Though foolishly he lost the same,

Decaying more and more,

Till he became

Most poore:

With thee

O let me rise

As larks, harmoniously,

And sing this day thy victories:

Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne

And still with sicknesses and shame.

Thou didst so punish sinne,

That I became

Most thinne.

With thee

Let me combine,

And feel thy victorie:

For, if I imp my wing on thine,

Affliction shall advance the flight in me.



By George Starbuck





O glitter-torn!

Let the wild wind erect

bonbonbonanzas; junipers affect

frostyfreeze turbans; iciclestuff adorn

all cuckolded creation in a madcap crown of horn!

It’s a new day; no scapegrace of a sect

tidying up the ashtrays playing Daughter-in-Law Elect;

bells! bibelots! popsicle cigars! shatter the glassware! a son born



while ox and ass and infant lie

together as poor creatures will

and tears of her exertion still

cling in the spent girl’s eye

and a great firework in the sky

drifts to the western hill.



By Brad Osborne

Alabaster markers

perfectly aligned,

where those who

willing gave a life

now lie enshrined.

The many names

of the bravest women and men are carved in stone and

remembered then. The sons and daughters, the husbands

and wives, who for their country gave their lives. Freedom

born in their sacrifice. Cherished gift bought with highest

price. The souls laid to rest in long, neat rows. A final and

fatal honor given in the tears that flow. A salted dew falls

on the grass. And,

winds of war blow

from our conflicts

past. As far as the

living eye can see,

our heroes sleep

in their reverie. We

live on by grace but

they do not. They

have earned their

hallowed resting

spot. And guarded

by a soldier alone,

is a monument to

the ones unknown.


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 Concrete poem. Thanks for reading!


12 Responses to “Whittled Words – Concrete Poem”
  1. beth says:

    very clever flag and pole, brad. and very poignant as well

  2. Jim Borden says:

    very creative structure, along with powerful words. a winning combination…

  3. jonicaggiano says:

    This is a lovely style of poetry. Your piece moved me Brad as they generally do but this one more than others. I could see the rows as far as one could see. So many brave resting. What a beautiful piece my dear friend. 🤗❤️💝💕🌷🌺 love Jonikins

  4. Phil Huston says:

    I learned something today. Several years ago, tired of the usual Hallmark moments called poetry, I wrote a poetic farce about Internet “poetry” in the shape of a trophy. Here I discover poetry and learned something. Thanks!

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks Phil! I hope we can expand your perception on what poetry can be.

      • Phil Huston says:

        I’ve been aware of hard line breaks for authorial emphasis since (too long) but was unaware concrete was an actual form of free verse. As no other “form” either rhythm, thyme or syllable count could be used as a visual construct. But now I know!

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