Square Poetry

There are some things only Lewis Caroll, the polymath (becoming which is one of my dearest life’s ambitions, by the way), could have done. For example, he was the only one who could have come up with The Alphabet Cipher and The Game of Logic(Remember “some Cretans are liars”?). He is the only one capable of thinking up Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. He had the guts to dabble in photography when people had hardly seen a camera, and the nerve to send the Queen a math thesis when she was expecting a children’s story. However, I’m specifically writing this post to draw attention to his genius at poetry.

While Jabberwocky, Father William, and The Walrus and the Carpenter all dealt with nonsense, and sounded as much, he did also come up with this:

The Square Poem

The Square Poem

The above poem is the famously famous Square Poem. If there weren’t enough hyphens for you in that poem, I’ll provide more: It reads the same top-to-bottom, as it does left-to-right. There’s also the central diagonal that reads what I think is sense. But then, to me, it makes [heavily-poetic-licensed] sense right-to-left too.

The concept of such a poem is captivating, so I set about creating my own. Of course, it took me a little over two minutes to realize that this isn’t something I can write just like that. Challenge accepted!

I spent a good four minutes coming up with this:

First Attempt, about a book

First Attempt, about a book

I had to quickly abandon it.


I did a second draft, about sleeplessness and dramatic melancholy:

Second attempt, on insomnia

Second attempt, on insomnia

It still wasn’t good enough. Funnily, I remember feeling sleepy exactly at that point.


Anyway, I wrote another one just now, after some coffee:

Third imperfect dedication to a beverage

Third imperfect dedication to a beverage

It took me about four minutes to come up with that. Maybe it was the coffee, or may be I am getting the hang of it. I thought for a second that it might need a framework- preposition- noun-verb-conjunction-, but I gave up that idea when I realized I do not know the names of all of the grammar components of a sentence.

So my less-than-satisfactory version is this:

Hot coffee tastes good to me. 

Coffee makes my mind freshly awake.

Tastes my tongue does brew supreme,

Good mind does work better, seemingly.

To freshly brew, better feels it.

Me, awake, supreme, seemingly it notes. 

(Yes, “notes”. Do not ask me why I put it there.)

The first, second, and fourth sentences are colloquial English; third and fifth are inspired by Shakespeare, and the last sentence doesn’t make sense. The diagonal reads “Hot makes tongue work, feels notes.”

I clearly suck at this.


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