Writing Poems Within a Poem

My Apologies

I want to apologize for my spotty blog posts, but I seem to be having plenty of problems concentrating and maintaining my focus on writing. I find I must do writing in small increments – at least until this week. I finally seem to be able to get back on track. I do hope everyone is keeping safe and well during these trying times.

Writing One Poem That Turned Into Many

I hope you enjoy this learning experiment along with me on how to go about putting together poems within a poem. My journey about composing my poems all started because April was Poetry Month. I challenged my writing group – which is all via email now – to write a poem about stars – any type of stars. It took me a couple of weeks to get myself motivated, but I began by writing out a free form verse list (of sorts) of types of stars and phrases that contained the word ‘stars.’ I entitled that poem Variations on Stars. Later I added a numerical indicator ‘I’ so that people would know that was the foundational poem for the more fleshed out poem that followed. Here is that first poem.

Variations on Stars I

By Marie Staight

Starlight, Starbright

Star of Bethlehem

The brightest star

Star of David

The gold star on my paper

Shooting star

Yellow Holocaust Badge

Bam! He saw stars!

You are the star of the show

Rising Star

Morning Star

The Great Star of Africa

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Star-Spangled Banner

Silver Star

Bronze Star

Star in your heavenly Crown

Swinging on a Star

Stars in your eyes

Reach for the stars


Expanding the Poem

After wrestling with the knowledge that I wanted to say a whole lot more about this list, I began trying to expand on each line. It was as if I was trying to write small poems within the entire poem. My first attempt was to write a four-line stanza, rhyming lines B and D. However, this attempt was terrible, and I didn’t like what I was coming up with at all.

A couple of mornings later, I was sitting in the sunshine on my patio and meditating. I was trying to keep my mind clear, but as with many times when I meditate, my mind was hard at work solving the problem of the second poem. Snap! Instead of a four-line stanza, try a three-line stanza rhyming lines B and C.  As soon as I was finished meditating, I got down to trying out this idea. The words flowed easily for about two stanzas, and then I hit a wall. To try and move on, I tried skipping over the next lines and picking out a line I thought I could expand. I continued in this manner day after day, all through the rest of April.

I cannot tell you how many times I revised and edited this second poem – it was a lot! I wanted to be precise in the words I used, and at the same time, I wanted to build strong imagery of the concept of each type of ‘star.’ The thesaurus became my friend, along with RhymeZone – a beneficial aid for writing poetry. I worked on the poem in fits and starts. I found that when I hit a snag, it was best just to walk away and try again the next day. On May 1st, I finally decided I had polished the poem enough. This second poem I entitled Variations on Stars II – Poems within a Poem.

Here is the finished poem. I hope you enjoy it!


Variations on Stars II – Poems Within a Poem

By Marie Staight


Starlight, Starbright

First star of the night

Signaling a wish tonight.


Star of Bethlehem

The wise men of the East were led,

To a baby in a manger bed.


The brightest star

In the darkest night.

Shine on with brilliant light.


Star of David

A duality of triangular steeples

Symbol of The Chosen Peoples


The gold star on my paper

So proud. For a job well done

A well-deserved home run.


Shooting star

Across the sky you bust

Leaving a trail of cosmic stardust.


Yellow Holocaust Badge

Symbol of raw hate

Forever may we abrogate.


Bam! He saw stars!

When a fist broke his jaw.

Stars! That’s all he saw.


You are the star of the show!

You make them cry and laugh

Accolades of bows, and after, autographs.


Timid Rising Star,

First to shimmer in the night

Tentative, you emit tremulous light.


Beautiful Morning Star

Lingers for its last stand,

Until the Sun takes command.


The Great Star of Africa

Royalty dons the bejeweled Crown, and takes the throne,

As light dances hither and yon from the spectacular stone.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Emitting light rays so faraway

You make us wonder; will we visit someday?


The Star-Spangled Banner

Waving proudly above

Hands to our hearts with love.


Silver Star, Bronze Star

Beribboned medals decorating uniforms, tell

Of Valor, and Heroes, as well.


“A Star in your Heavenly Crown!”

My mother’s saying

For unrequited acts of do-gooding.


Stars in your eyes –

Hopeful for the future? Or naïve?

Or to romantic notions they cleave?


Swinging on a Star

A composition as an absurdity

But – “You can be better than you are” – not a whimsicality.


Reach for the stars!

That longing into the Universe for adventure

As far as our imagination can venture.


Stars have many meanings –

Glowing, Brilliant, Burning hot,

Glorious, the lot.


Comments are welcome.


2 thoughts on “Writing Poems Within a Poem”

  1. Marie, I enjoyed reading your poems. I liked both. Made me think quickly as each stanza was different, so my mind went from one scenario to another. Very creative.


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