THE GROSSBLANK

a nonce poetry form

This is a nonce form I created in 2001. I hope some of you try it and tell me what you think.

It's blank verse, but with 12 syllables per line instead of ten. Twelve lines, iambic meter, unrhymed, any format. Where did it get its name: 12X12 = 1 Gross, so I called it a Grossblank because I couldn't think of anything better at the moment. If you can, let me know. (For those of you who don't know, my name is GrossóLarry Gross, stirred but not shaken.)

I envision it as a sort of poor man's sonnet, with the first 9 lines setting a scene, problem or proposition, and the final 3 commenting, contrasting or concluding. But that is my way. You are free to do whatever you want. My first attempt:

The Quiet Eye

I come from folks who tend the land, who search the sky
at sunset, search again each morning, learn to do
just what the elements determine. Wheat is ripe

when solar rays paint fields with gold; then harvest comes
unless impending rainfall interrupts. A stalk
of corn may bear three ears if summer's heaven wills,

or one or none in barren autumn. Those who work
the earth accept such necessary bargains with
their world and reap the fruits of bold humility.

The process brings two worlds together, out and in,
as newborn birds may bravely leave the branch
and dive, though not aware quite yet if they can fly.



It's very simple: 12 lines of 12 syllables each, iambic hexameter, unrhymed, any format.

Here, as far as I know, is the second Grossblank ever written:



THIS OLD HOUSE

The old abandoned house stands all alone, forlorn,
its yard a field of thigh-high hay and mustard weed.
The paint is gray and peeling off in spots and makes
a strange mosaic on the walls. A shutter hangs
atilt, and wind has blown some shingles off the roof.
Verandah railings sag, the steps are falling down,
and window pains are broken, open to the rain.
Inside uneven hardwood floors and mildewed walls
portray neglect, while dust motes float in musty air.
But silent ghosts remember happy, sun-filled days
with children's laughter, parents' smiles and baby's coo,
when kittens frolicked in the purple pansy bed.

Joyce Shiver



Please try the Grossblank and send your poem(s) to me for possible inclusion on this page.

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Created: 010520
Updated: 080302