4 x 4 Poem

Slice of Life on TwoWritingTeachers.org 11 May 2021

I’ve been having fun writing poems in April and now into May. My #MayPoems are very different from our April #Verselove experience.

Each day in May I watch for an opportunity or inspiration to write a new poem, and then I post it on my blog. Today, I decided to experiment with making a new poetry form. It’s a cross between two forms that I’ve seen lately. The 4×4 form is a slight variation on the Quatern, influenced and changed a bit like the Tricube that Matt Forrest has been sharing and writing lately.

Here are the four by four “rules” I followed:

  • 4 syllables in each line
  • 4 lines in each stanza
  • 4 stanzas
  • 4 times repeating a refrain line–line 1 in the first stanza, line 2 in the second stanza, line 3 in the third stanza, and line 4 in the fourth stanza.
  • Bonus: 4 syllables in the title
  • No restrictions on subject, rhyme, or meter.

Voting Questions

Ask the questions:
Is voting a
right? Or is it
only for those

we agree with?
Ask the questions:
MAGA members?
Progressives? All?

Do citizens
all get to vote?
Ask the questions:
Or just those who

preserve ballot
box “purity”?
Jim Crow reborn?
Ask the questions.

About this poem: I’ve been thinking about voting rights a lot lately, as have many of the state legislatures in the U.S. Voter suppression is as old as the nation, which was founded with boatloads of voter restrictions. Today states that in 2020 ran fair and honest elections with record turnouts are still making new laws so that fewer votes will be cast next time. Some of those state legislatures even had their “favored” candidates win, yet they are still passing laws. Insurance, I guess.

Do you want to try a 4×4 poem? Please do share!

May 28, 2021 follow-up. Here are some 4×4 posts with beautiful examples from the Poetry Friday community:

8 thoughts on “4 x 4 Poem

  1. Thanks for the prompt today, new poem form and super example. I do not understand how voter repression is still rearing an ugly head. We definitely need to keep asking the questions.

  2. It’s one thing to wish a certain demographic would not vote, but it’s another to actively limit voting via restrictive laws and gerrymandering. We’ve fought these battles before but in different forms: literacy tests, poll taxes, for example. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that we still see this marginalizing of POC. I wonder: Have our elections ever really been free and open?

    1. Great point, Glenda! I was wondering about my own motives when I began writing that. I like the designation between a wish that “a certain demographic would not vote” and “actively limit voting via restrictive laws and gerrymandering.” Exactly! GOPers can keep “loving the poorly educated” to try to win elections, but I’m not surprised about these new Jim Crow laws. No, we haven’t ever had free and open elections, but it would be nice to hope for continued freer and more open elections.

  3. I am so glad I returned today to read slices (I neglected to read and leave comments on Tuesday…oops.) I am inspired by your poetry form. And even more inspired by how you used it to tackle a big issue. Thanks for sharing.

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