Concrete poem examples are famous for their unique shapes and style; read our guide to see the best examples of concrete poems to learn more.
Poems don’t always rhyme; sometimes, they create art visually rather than through the written word. Concrete poetry uses the space of the words to convey meaning rather than the words themselves. Concrete poem examples can help us understand the poem’s meaning on a deeper level.
Whether the typed lines create a picture or pattern, this poetic form is a true work of art. The colors, letters, words, and print create a visual experience that creates the idea in the mind of the reader. Famous concrete poems are often part of children’s literature, but they can also appear in classic works.
- 1. “The Mouse’s Tale” by Lewis Carroll
- 2. “Easter Wings” by George Herbert
- 3. “Forsythia” by Mary Ellen Solt
- 4. “Vision and Prayer” by Dylan Thomas
- 5. “Poem in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” by George Starbuck
- 6. “The Altar” by George Herbert
- 7. “Swan and Shadow” by John Hollander
- 8. “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” by E.E. Cummings
- 9. “Silencio” by Eugen Gomringer
- 10. “This Crosstree Here” by Robert Herrick
- 11. Beauty of Trees by Jennifer Betts
- 12. Uplifting by Robert Yehling
- Poetry Resources
1. “The Mouse’s Tale” by Lewis Carroll
This poem, found in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, forms the shape of a mouse’s tail on the page. The misspelling in the title of “tale” is intentional because it is the tale of a mouse’s tail. Different printings interpret this visual poetry differently, but it remains one of the most famous examples of concrete poetry in modern writing.
2. “Easter Wings” by George Herbert
“Easter Wings” takes the shape of a butterfly or even an angel’s wings turned on their side. The name is fitting, as the poem talks about how God reaches out to man to create new life.
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,George Herbert
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
3. “Forsythia” by Mary Ellen Solt
The poem “Forsythia” by Mary Ellen Solt is written to look like the plant’s branches. This art form is more about the shape of the words than the words themselves.
4. “Vision and Prayer” by Dylan Thomas
The unique shape of “Vision and Prayer” by Dylan Thomas creates an hourglass shape. This shape poem fits well, as it talks about life and death. The shape also has a rise-and-fall feeling as the stanzas get smaller and larger through each verse.
W h oDylan Thomas
A r e y o u
Who is born
In the next room
So loud to my own
That I can hear the womb
Opening and the dark run
Over the ghost and the dropped son
Behind the wall thin as a wren’s bone ?
In the birth bloody room unknown
To the burn and turn of time
And the heart print of man
Bo w s n o b a p t i s m
Bu t d a r k a l o n e
5. “Poem in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” by George Starbuck
In “Poem in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree,” Starbuck creates the image of a tree, filling the poem with visual words that create the image of a holiday tree. It even has an asterisk at the top, using the typography to resemble the look of a star at the top of the tree.
Let the wild wind erect
bonbonbonanzas; junipers affect
6. “The Altar” by George Herbert
Another George Herbert poem, this religious poem, takes on the shape of an altar as the writer talks about the sacrifice of his Lord and the sacrifice of hearts that religious individuals should give.
A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears,George Herbert
Made of a heart and cemented with tears:
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman’s tool hath touch’d the same.
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy pow’r doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame,
To praise thy name:
That if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease.
Oh, let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine.
7. “Swan and Shadow” by John Hollander
The words of this shape poetry create the look of a swan floating on the water, with its reflection below. The reader knows instantly what the image is when looking at the poem, even without reading any of the words.
8. “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” by E.E. Cummings
E.E. Cummings regularly uses typeface, punctuation, and even spelling to get his readers to think; this poem is no exception. The words, at first, seem meaningless, but in fact, they appear to show the chaotic movements of a grasshopper in the way the words are on the page. It appears to show the chaotic movements of a grasshopper in the way the words are on the page.
9. “Silencio” by Eugen Gomringer
Silencio is more visual art than it is poetry. It creates a box using just the word “silence,” with an empty space in the middle. The shape of the poem conveys the meaning, inviting the reader to fill in the middle, or the silence, with their own subject matter.
silence silence silenceEugen Gomringer
silence silence silence
silence silence silence
silence silence silence
10. “This Crosstree Here” by Robert Herrick
This crosstree here is a religious poem by 19th-century poet Robert Herrick. It displays the shape of the cross of Christ while talking about the atonement made on that same tree.
11. Beauty of Trees by Jennifer Betts
Beauty of Trees is a delightful poem shaped in the form of a towering tree. Each word in the poem wraps around the tree’s outline, starting from the bottom of the trunk, over the leaves, and back down to the roots on the ground.
The poem perfectly demonstrates how a concrete poem can convey the beauty of the object being discussed. In this example, Betts describes the beauty of a tree by using her words to draw the beauty she sees.
“There is a beauty found in trees.. From the swayof their branches. To the elegance of the leaves. Color fills the air. When Autumn peaks its head. There is beauty found in trees. It might bring you to your knees.” – Jennifer Betts, “Beauty of Trees”
12. Uplifting by Robert Yehling
“Uplifting” is a blend of an acrostic and concrete poem. Yelling transports the reader into a hot air balloon where we soar above the trees and towards the sky. Every line creates a vivid image of the reader rising above the world around them.
Symbolism weaves through each line of the poem, which can be interpreted in many ways. Some readers view the poem as symbolizing leaving behind our worries and implementing an optimistic attitude. At the same time, others view it as representing the cycle of life and death.
“Upon a glade of sun-sculpted
Pine forest, rooted in stone,
Layers of my bark peel away,” – Robert Yehlin, Uplifting