Six Poems You Can Write

From Penny Gardner’s “Beautiful Works” class given at the 2015 youth conference. Listen the whole recorded class here in our audio library.

Here are six different poems you can learn to write today.

1. Cinquain

Five short, non-rhyming lines:

  1. A one-word title
  2. Two descriptive words
  3. Three action words
  4. Four feeling words
  5. A word or two that renames title


Beautiful, free
Lives, changes, flies
Once a small caterpillar

2. Diamante

Seven short, non-rhyming lines:

Adjective, Adjective
Verb(ing), Verb(ing), Verb(ing)
Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun
Verb, Verb, Verb(ing)
Adjective, Adjective
Noun (Synonym or antonym)


Humid, Sticky
Sweating, Gasping, Melting
Sun, Heat, Beach, Ball
Rolling, Sliding, Building
Cold, Stiff

3. Haiku

Very short, non-rhyming poem with three lines
Traditionally of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, but that is optional.

Often connects two seemingly unrelated things. Describe something in fewest words to make a strong impression.


Reading at bedtime:
Too dark to see the pages
Reads on anyway

Beautiful petals
Deadly thorns

4. Pile-On Poem

A long, non-rhyming poem with short lines. This may be a run-on sentence or a few sentences, but keep each line short.

Every day
I run
To the bus
But I can
Never catch it
And I
Am always
Late for school
And this makes
My teacher
Very, very
Very, very

5. Acrostic Poem

A special word (or words) is formed by the first letter of each line. May rhyme or not.

Fed the sheep
And the pigs before dawn
Roster crows which means
Morning is here

6. Narrative Poem

A poem that tells a story. Use personification and some alliteration. May rhyme or not.


This morning I woke up,
I put on my coat, my crazy coat,
And walked out the door.

I had to stop my walk
Because of the cows, the creepy cows,
Standing in the road.

I asked them politely,
Using all my charm, my confident charm,
To please step aside.

But listen they would not.
I started to cough, calmly calm,
To scare them away.

I coughed and coughed and coughed,
‘Til I saw a cat, a cranky cat,
One that crossed my path.

The cat scared the cows,
The cows scared the cat, the cowardly cat,
Both groups ran away.

I continued my walk,
But thought of the cows, the creepy cows,
And I thought of the cat, the cranky, cowardly cat,
And the adventure I had that day.