This ancient "square" poem by Henry Lok (published in 1597) in honor of Queen Elizabeth I is an example of a poetic form for which the number of syllables per line equal to the number of lines.

Beneath are several square poems by JoAnne Growney. The final one, "The Bear Cave" is a poem of Romania, a country she has visited several times, teaching summer classes in poetry, Internet and conversational English at Scoala Andrei Muresanu in Deva.   Gabriel Prajitura has translated "The Bear Cave" into Romanian.  Elsewhere on this site is poetry from Romania which I have assisted Prajitura and other partners in translation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Squares

 

 

Mock feelings

serve as well

as true ones.

 

All over the world

fashionable shoes--

trendy, hazardous,

uncomfortable--

keep women in place.

 

When lovers leave

avoid laments;

grab a cactus--

new pain forgets.

 

More than the rapist, fear

the district attorney

smiling for the camera,

saying that thirty-six

sex crimes per year is a

manageable number.

 

The Bear Cave

 

Twenty-five years ago at Chiscau,

marble quarry workers discovered--

trapped by an earthquake in a wondrous,

enormous cave--bones of one hundred

and ninety bears, Ursus spelaeus

(now extinct).  Cold rooms of cathedral

splendor now render tourists breathless

while the insistent drip of water

counts the minutes.  There is no safe place.

 

 a poem of Romania  by JoAnne Growney

Romanian translation

 

 

 

 Back to top of Square Poems            Back to JoAnne's Home page