Poetic Form: Palindrome poetry (or mirror poem)

Just when I thought I’d run into one of the crazier poetic forms in the paradelle (click to read Poetic Form: Paradelle), I tried my hand at the palindrome poem, which I think is much more difficult.

The rules are simple enough:

  1. You must use the same words in the first half of the poem as the second half, but
  2. Reverse the order for the second half, and
  3. Use a word in the middle as a bridge from the first half to the second half of the poem.

At first, the simplicity of the rules made me feel like this would be easy enough to do, but I ran into problems almost immediately. For instance, you can’t start the poem with the word “the” unless you plan to end the poem on the word “the.” And just because something makes sense in the first half doesn’t guarantee it’ll pass the same test on the way back.

Here’s my attempt (after messing around for some time):

“Witches burn”

Gypsies tell girls,
“Witches burn candles,”
and laugh. Cats
jump fences.
Shadows cast spells in
in spells cast shadows.
“Fences jump, cats laugh,
and candles burn witches,”
girls tell gypsies.


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10 thoughts on “Poetic Form: Palindrome poetry (or mirror poem)

  1. Marc Latham

    A Tree in Summer and Autumn

    Green leaves in summer, brown in autumn,
    sometimes red, or yellow,
    a multitude of colours,
    reaching out
    from branches of tan or silver,
    some high and others low,
    but each connected to the floor
    through a sturdy trunk and

    roots so deep, reaching out underground

    and into a sturdy trunk
    that’s connected to the ground before
    rising up towards the sky,
    with branches of silver or tan,
    reaching out
    to provide colour and
    help us, tell seasons:
    Brown leaves in autumn, green in summer.

  2. Tracy Davidson

    Footsteps padding
    and strange noises.
    Nightly the visions appear.
    Darkness from inside,
    deep echoes
    Echoes deep inside.
    From darkness appear visions.
    The nightly noises,
    strange, and overhead –
    padding footsteps.

    1. Karen

      I know I’m over a year late in replying, but this is an excellent example of this type of poem. I love the way you not only set the mirror image, but you also set a tone throughout the poem. Excellent poetry!

  3. Monica Martin

    Ooh, this was tough.

    Turning leaves gracefully fly,
    dying flowers, graying sky,
    glowing moon, howling wolves
    under the wolves’ howling moon,
    glowing sky graying, flowers
    dying fly, gracefully leaves turning.

  4. Sheryl Kay Oder

    Word Rotator

    Poems as puzzles—              
    work brain.
    New reflections
    and words in order
    order in words and
    new brain work,
    puzzles as poems.

  5. Mike Bayles


    owl hoots
    vigilance in darkness
    watching landscapes
    laments passing day
    contours into shadows
    welcomes night and transformations
    shadows into contours
    day passing laments
    landscapes watching
    darkness in vigilance
    hoots owl


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