{Sing, Fling or Sling us a Sevenling!}

Screenshot 2016-04-04 10.00.15
(google images)


De (WhimsyGizmo) here, passionate cultivator of obscure forms.;)
If you’ve never heard of the Sevenling, you’re not alone.

A Sevenling is a seven-line poetic form created by Roddy Lumsden as a teaching exercise. He based the form on a poem by Anna Akhmatova:

He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America. 

He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.

… And he married me

Basically, you’re looking at a 7-line poem (two tercets and a one-liner as the final stanza) with these parameters:

– Three lines that contain an element of three. This could be three connected or contrasting statements, a list of three names or details, etc. The three things can take up all three lines, or be contained anywhere in the stanza.

– Three more lines that contain an element of three (can relate to stanza one directly, as a juxtaposition, or have no connection whatsoever).

– Final line: a punchline, strange twist, narrative summary, or punctuation mark, of sorts.

No particular rhyme, rhythm or meter are required. Titles are also not required. If you do decide to title it, the title should be “Sevenling:” followed by the first few words in parentheses. The tone should be mysterious, offbeat, or disturbing, and the poem should have an atmosphere that invites guesswork from the reader.

I was first introduced to the form by Robert Lee Brewer over at Poetic Asides a few years ago. (Click for Robert’s brief explanation, as well as tons of examples from poets who participated in his form prompt.)

Our own Grace offers one here.

Here’s one from fellow bartender, Gayle Waters Rose:

Sevenling (She Stayed)

She stayed with him
in spite of his alcoholism,
disparate views of life and selfish ways.

Wild winds blow day and night
through the Kansas grasslands, prairies and trees.
Change comes slowly to this small town.

A jack rabbit keeps watch on the deepening leaden sky.


And one from Toni Spencer, aka kanzensakura:

Sevenling: Her Garden

Her garden was filled with old fashioned flowers, spicy herbs
Vegetables for eating and canning
And visiting small birds and frogs.

His garden was made of gravel, small stones and moss –
A boulder in the center –
Shifting spaces of shadow and sun.

The two gardens together nourished their bodies and souls.


And here are a couple of mine, as further examples:

Sevenling, by de jackson

You taught me
the game of rock,
paper, scissors.

and the art of origami.

I fold. You win.

Sevenling (KISS)

Keep it simple, Sweet:
(mind) reading, (sky) writing
(And let’s just skip the ’rithmetic.)

I’ll buy you the moon,
then swallow the sun;
we’ll both be stars.

The sky and all its knowledge shall be ours.


A quick hint: if you’re stumped, sit a bit and make lists of three (Blind mice? Bears? Little pigs? Kevin Bacon movies?) Then pull them together. Or think of a list of 7 (Deadly sins? Days of the week? Dwarves?) that can be divided as 3/3/1.

Ready to play?
Write your poem and post it on your blog or website.

  • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL to your submission.
  • Leave a comment or join in on the fun discussion below.
  • Spend time enjoying and commenting on the work of your fellow pubsters, especially those who have taken the time to do so for you.



Other Sevenling resources:

And more of mine here (Sevenlings are addicting.)