Here are some simple poems that you can try. First think of a place, an emotion, a feeling, a person, or situation, and then imagine it and describe it. Many poems are about love, loss, hate, a feeling, or a reaction to an event.

Diamond Poem

Diamond poems mostly nouns, adjectives, and sometimes verbs. Usually, diamond poems follow these rules for each line, one word, two words, three words, four words, three words, two words, one word; or whatever keeps the diamond shape. choose a theme or place, and imagine a sequence of events.

Snow & holidays
Parties, skiing, snowboarding
Speeding fast, downhill exhilaration
Tree, tree, tree. Oow! Help!
Ambulance, hospital

Defining a concept

Choose a word, and describe in four lines what it means to you. How you experience that concept. Do not make it like a dictionary definition. Choose a topic like: Loneliness is…, Love is…, Autumn is…, etcetera. Examples:

Loneliness is cold sheets on a cold bed
Loneliness is sitting at a table for two with a breakfast for one
Loneliness is returning home to a dark house
Loneliness is working on Christmas day.

Autumn is lots of colours in the trees and underfoot
Autumn is digging out warm coats and jumpers
Autumn is last days sitting at outdoor cafés
Autumn is having hot chocolate drinks at night, with you.

Autumn by Gratisophotography, CC0, https://www.pexels.com/photo/forest-meadow-leaves-autumn-380/
Autumn by Gratisophotography, CC0, https://www.pexels.com/photo/forest-meadow-leaves-autumn-380/

The senses (3-8-3)

Choose a sense and a place, and imagine the details. Describe it. Senses include taste, touch/feel, sight, sound, smell, social situation, etc. Title (to set context), then three words, eight, and three. Example:

My sweaty neck,
Sticks to my collar, and stinks a little
Finally, the train!

Possible places:

  • On a train station platform
  • In a movie theatre
  • In an exam room
  • Standing on a train
  • Waiting in line at a convenience store
  • Waiting for pizza
  • Anywhere

Without… Is like…

Choose a theme, situation, a person, or an emotion, and describe it in four lines. But don’t use the key word you really want to say. “…without… is like … without…”. Example:

A life without a best friend is like coffee without milk,
Living without love is like a world without a sun,
You without a smile is like a night without stars,
A day without you is like Christmas without presents.

Couple by GraphicStock, CC0, https://www.pexels.com/photo/love-couple-sunset-sunrise-40525/
Couple by GraphicStock, CC0, https://www.pexels.com/photo/love-couple-sunset-sunrise-40525/

I have… and then…

List opposites. It is better if you can have a theme in the whole poem. Perhaps it can be a sequence of events, how you feel about something, or how overwhelmed you are by a person.

The Traveller
I have seen camels,
And then cats.
I have seen slaves,
And then princes.
I have seen stone,
And then diamonds.
I have seen life,
And then death.
I thought I had seen love,
But then I met you.

Teaching & researching EFL listening in Japan