Free verse poems will have no set meter, which is the rhythm of the words, no rhyme scheme, or any particular structure. Some poets would find this liberating, being able to whimsically change your mind, while others feel like they could not do a good job in that manner. Robert Frost commented that writing free verse was like "playing tennis without a net."
Free verse poems do not follow the rules, and have no rhyme or rhythm; but they are still an artistic expression. They are sometimes thought to be a modern form of poetry; but, the free verse types of poem have been around for hundreds of years.
Following are several examples of free verse poems, including a few by Kelly Roper from our sister site LoveToKnow.com:
Nervously I stood there under the porch light
As you smiled at me and moved in closer.
You took me in your arms, and my heart began to thud so loudly
I was sure you could hear it but were pretending you didn't.
You moistened your lips, looked deeply into my eyes,
And then gently pressed your lips to mine.
A moment's pause, and you touched my lips with yours again,
A whisper of a kiss that promised more to come.
We kissed again, and during that kiss I felt like I had finally come home.
Looking back, I know I was right as we kiss goodnight and I turn out the light.
After the Sea-Ship-after the whistling winds;
After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,
Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks,
Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:
Waves of the ocean, bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
Waves, undulating waves-liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
Where the great Vessel, sailing and tacking, displaced the surface;
Zig-zagging down the road
Trying not to stray over the center line
Or hit a curb
Or break an axle
Or flatten a tire
Or wind up in the next surprise sinkhole.
Driving in Toledo is not a sport
For the timid or the sane or the under-insured.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Am I good enough?
I'm not really sure.
In fact, I'm sure I'm probably not.
What made me think I could write this poem?
Everyone will laugh at it when they read it,
Or worse, they will be silent and hold their criticism in.
Or worse yet, they'll say exactly what they think and I'll be crushed.
Or worst of all, they'll tell me it's great but not mean it.
And even if they truly love it, I'll still wonder if it's good enough
I now delight
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,
Without let or omission,
Just any little rhyme
In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I've said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade,
Button to button,
Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.
My rhymes must go
Turn 'ee, twist 'ee,
Beautiful brown liquid steaming in my cup,
Becoming a muddy river as I stir in the cream.
The aroma that gives me courage,
The flavor that tastes like hope for a better day,
And the energy that renews my will to live.
Tomorrow morning we'll do it all again my friend.
But patience is more oft the exercise
Of Saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making them each his own Deliver,
And Victor over all
That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
I walked into the shelter and looked around.
Out of all the homeless kitties, you stood out like a beacon.
I picked you up, and you purred and snuggled sweetly in my arms.
It was like we had always known each other, always been together.
I filled out the form, made the donation, and took you home.
You're a little shelter cat no more. You're mine.
Poetry can be classified into three types: lyric, narrative, and dramatic. An explanation and examples will be offered for each type.
Lyric poetry deals with emotions and is written in a song-like way. Two types of lyric poetry are odes and sonnets.
Well-known authors of lyric poetry include:
Sonnets fall into two types; the Italian sonnet and the English, or Shakespearian sonnet. Poets of the lyric style use words that express their feelings, perceptions, and moods.
An excerpt from Shakespeare's Sonnet Number 18 follows:
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:"
In narrative poetry a story is told about societies, cultures, and heroes. Epic poems are very long, many times covering years of events; and ballads are another type of narrative poem.
Authors of note include:
Here is an excerpt from Hiawatha by Longfellow:
"On the shore stood Hiawatha,
Turned and waved his hand at parting;
On the clear and luminous water
Launched his birch canoe for sailing,
From the pebbles of the margin
Shoved it forth into the water;
Whispered to it, "Westward! westward!"
And with speed it darted forward."
Dramatic poetry is written in verse and is usually meant to be recited. It tells a story or describes an event in a dramatic and interesting way.
Poets of note include:
Following is an excerpt from Kipling's The Law of the Jungle.
"Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,Remember the Wolf is a Hunter -- go forth and get food of thine own.Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle -- the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair."
Free verse poems could be any of these types of poetry or even a combination of any of them.