N is for nonce poems


So… for some reason, I got stuck on the letter N. Which is odd. There are plenty of N words to write about. Among them would be niece, nose, napkin, nuts, newspaper, neighbor, nephew, nickel… But still, stuck. Until the idea came to me to write a poem. And use a poetic type that started with the letter N. What I found was “nonce.” Nonce?What the heck is nonce? I did a bit of research and found that a nonce poem is a poetic form created by the poet for one-time use. 

There is something so right about using a made up poetic form after having “normal” life interrupted for a year by a virus that is now madly mutating, even as more and more people get vaccinated. Oh, wait. Normal begins with N. But what is normal? I would say that I no longer have a clue but maybe I never did. So here goes. A nonce poem about normalcy or the lack thereof.

First, for the form.

Seventeen lines: lines one & 17: three syllables

lines two & 16: four syllables

lines three and 15: five syllables

lines four and 14: six syllables

lines five and 13: seven syllables

lines six and 12: eight syllables

lines seven and 11: nine syllables

line eight and ten: ten syllables

line nine: eleven syllables

And now to make up the poem, using the nonce form that I just made up for the occasion.

Normal life

has disappeared,

squashed by a disease

spreading relentlessly.

Quickly cover your faces,

and, for heaven’t sake, don’t sing!

Have you noticed that stinks don’t stink

and that your food is a tasteless mess?

Tastes used to dance gently on your tongue

but now, fear has found a home in your brain.

Is it your turn to get a vaccination?

what makes you sneeze? Perhaps it’s tree pollen?

Has Dr. Google diagnosed you?

You work yourself up to panic

because of competing stories

posted on the internet.

you need a distraction.

to focus on health.

on joyous things.

You still live.

So, that’s my nonce poem. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the idea of a nonce poem and that, maybe, you’d like to write one of your own.

5 thoughts on “N is for nonce poems”

  1. Chapters From My Life

    When you try something new, it becomes so entertaining to both write and read them. Enjoyed your post. I had a tough time finding your blog though.

    I will try something when I have some free time and try to share it here later..

  2. I like to respond to new poetic forms in that poetic form so here goes …

    A nice poem
    Was your fine nonce
    I liked to read it
    So much more than just once.
    Co-vid life is far from normal
    Our days are very different with
    No pomp or circumstances formal
    One, two, three, four, five, six ,seven, eight, nine
    Months at the end of the year 2020
    Where I wore a mask and wore it plenty
    One, two three, four months so far this year
    That We've had doubt and we've known fear
    But every day, every week
    Seek out joy, I mean seek!
    Hope with insistence;
    But from despair …
    Keep Distance

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