Poetic Forms: Contronyms


Hello Everyone!

Welcome to week eight of poetic forms, where every week I introduce a different type of poem and invite you to give it a go! As an added incentive to take part, the best poem every week is featured on the Writing Gooder blog on Sunday afternoon, alongside a brief analysis by myself.

To enter a poem, make sure it’s written in this week’s style and then either post a link to it in a comment below, or post the full text of the poem.

This week we’re doing something a bit different and what I have for you is a very open challenge and more of a writing prompt than a writing form! I want you to write a poem inspired by contronyms. If you’ve not heard the term before, a contronym is a word with two opposing definitions, such as bolt. In the first instance, bolt means to secure – did you bolt the door? Yes, I have bolted the door. However, it also means to flee – the dog has bolted.

Instead of an example poem this week, I have for you a reference list of 75 contronyms and your challenge is to write a poem which uses at least one contronym. The poem must make use of both meanings of the word, so to take the example above, you might have:

Even though I bolted the door,

the dog bolted.

You can use contronyms from the list linked above, or research a few of your own. I’ll be very impressed by anyone who gets five or more of them into a single poem but one is enough to pass the challenge. I hope you have fun with this, I know I will!

Good luck everyone.

** Image owned by Enokson at Flickr.


Heather, who goes by Rydia on YWS, has long been an aspiring author. In the early days of her life she attached herself to poetry and would curl up on the playground bench to scrawl down lines of forgotten virtue. Or, more likely, little virtue at all. At the very old age of 11, she joined The Young Writers Club and progressed into the realms of roleplay. Here she constructed characters to fight off dragons or rally to their allies' aid with healing spells; a joint love of gaming heavily influenced this fondness of adventure storybooks. A few more years went by before Heather became a serious novelist and she still considers poetry to be her favourite media for getting those thoughts down on paper. Outside of writing her loves include puzzle books, strategy/ fantasy games, movies, swimming, skiing (when she actually has money), crafty things, baking, food in general, fun pranks and anything involving snow.

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2 Responses

  1. niteowl says:

    This is going to be fun.

    I expect some competition this time. *glares at readers*

  2. Niteowl says:

    Okay here’s my attempt. I think I tried too hard and I still don’t have a proper ending…

    An apology for my apologies.
    We were a fine model of love
    bound to buckle, yet I swore
    that we could weather anything.

    But even rocks weather,
    and belts on the floor could not
    buckle our rocking bodies back together.

    When you left, I was left
    with transparent tears
    that precipitated
    transparent truths

    I had bound myself to you;
    you were no model man,
    but just fine was enough for me.

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