Trimeric Poetry Form: Pen Short and Sweet Sagas

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Here’s what the Trimeric poetry form is:

The trimeric is a product of the digital age and can be traced back to Dr. Charles A. Stone (which seems to be a pseudonym).

It’s a short poem with just thirteen lines in a 4/3/3/3 pattern.

Most of the lines in the initial quatrain become refrains in the tercets, with only the first line of the poem being unrepeated.

So if you want to learn all about the Trimeric poetry type, then you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get right to it!

Trimeric Poem Type (Simply Explained & Examples)

Forms of Poetry: The Trimeric

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The trimeric is a recent invention by a poet whose pen name is Dr. Charles A. Stone.

It has four stanzas, a quatrain, and three tercets, with each stanza utilizing a refrain carried over from a corresponding line in the first stanza.

As you might expect from a relatively new form, the trimeric doesn’t have a lengthy history or a family with various branches to describe.

It has spread from the list to list online, but we live in an era where every form by an established author gets at least some exposure, so it’s hard to predict whether the trimeric will stick around in the future or not.

Basic Properties of the Trimeric

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Rhyme StructureOptional
OriginDr. Charles A. Stone (spreading digitally)
PopularityNew, mostly untapped

How Is a Trimeric Structured?

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The trimeric only has two key elements, the verse lengths and the placement of the refrains.

The poem’s first stanza has four lines, while all subsequent lines have three.

This means a trimeric will always have exactly thirteen lines, though the final syllable count will vary wildly from poem to poem.

The refrains are the more interesting element of the trimeric. Each of the three tercets starts with a line from the first stanza.

The second stanza of the poem starts with the second line from the first stanza, the third stanza takes the third, and the fourth stanza takes the fourth.

Ultimately you end up with something like (xABC Axx Bxx Cxx), where the capital letters represent refrains and ‘x’ represents a non-repeated line.

Rhyme and meter are completely optional, and line length is flexible.

One interesting quirk of this pattern is that the first line of the poem will be the only line in the original quatrain that’s never repeated.

Of the poem’s thirteen lines, only ten are original lines due to the refrains, leaving limited room to work with.

While the refrains and verse lengths are the only explicitly stated rules, it is worth noting that Dr. Stone’s own trimerics do not feature punctuation of any kind and have a very minimalistic slant to them.

This should only be considered a stylistic choice, but it does work well currently since minimalism has been popular in poetry for a while now.

Example of the Trimeric

melancholic young lady sitting in the woods in autumn

Your Whisper

I hear your whisper
the music from on high
a rush of blood
memories of the past

the music from on high
calls out your name
into my weary ears

a rush of blood
where your fair skin
grazed mine once

memories of the past
weigh me down
surrounded by whispers

The trimeric above uses a minimalistic style to show off the synergy but go ahead and make the form your own if this style doesn’t work for you.

One reason that minimalism works so well with the trimeric is that there simply isn’t enough space for a detailed narrative.

Fragmented emotive thoughts can carry plenty of weight when used wisely.

This particular trimeric cycles back to the word ‘whispers’ at the very end, to create a feeling that the poem comes full circle.

It’s not necessary, of course, but you should always be thinking about little tricks like this that you can sprinkle into your poems when the situation feels right.

Tips for Writing a Trimeric

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The only difficult part of writing a trimeric is understanding the nature of refrains.

Lines that can stand alone or that can be combined in new and interesting ways are essential, or else the poem won’t work.

Dependent clauses can be interesting since they can be recontextualized by other lines, but you have to decide for yourself what level of challenge you’ll aspire to.

For the example poem, I actually used a sort of “cheat” by writing most of the first quatrain as a list of loosely connected thoughts.

Grammatically, the first quatrain doesn’t actually make sense as a sentence but works well as part of a poem.

Meanwhile, the dissonant images set up the rest of the poem nicely, giving me plenty of mental space in the tercets to move away from the abstract simplicity of their original placement.

How you approach refrains is up to you but be on the lookout for phrases that mean something completely different depending on where they’re placed, since those are especially fun.

Take the following examples, based on my hint about dependent clauses:

My heart fluttered and my soul sang
when your eyes locked onto mine.

The walls tightened and my blood froze
when your eyes locked onto mine.

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Both sets of lines use the exact phrase “when your eyes locked onto mine” but the connotation is vastly different.

In the first example, we can assume it’s love at first sight, but the second example is much more ominous.

The eyes of a lover and the eyes of an enemy are very different, so the second line ends up having a very different feel in the second example.

Of course, a trimeric is very short, so you may not have enough space to pull off something like this.

You don’t necessarily have to. Just try to make the refrains a feature of the poem rather than a requirement.

There’s nothing more boring than a poem that just ticks off the checkboxes without giving any thought to why they’re there.

The other thing to keep in mind is length. By design, the trimeric has very little space for beating around the bush.

You may not want to get wrapped up in extended metaphors or narrative elements, since they ultimately won’t work very well in this particular form.

The saying “Less is more” usually applies when it comes to poetry, but it’s more intrinsically true in tiny little forms like this than in any other form.

Take advantage of what little space you have by using it to the fullest.

Poet’s Note


I want longer versions of this. A quadreric. A quinteric. Maybe even an octeric.

This form would be easy to extend just by making the first stanza longer and adding more follow-up stanzas, so I hope it evolves into the obvious variants as time goes on.

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