Poetic Form: The Bop

Publish date:

Since it's always good to challenge ourselves to do new things, I'm going to try two in this blog post. First, I'm going to try and incorporate images. Second, I'll try my hand at The Bop.

The Bop is a poetic form that was developed by poet Afaa Michael Weaver (pic below) at a Cave Canem summer retreat.

Image placeholder title

Here are the basic rules:

  • 3 stanzas
  • Each stanza is followed by a refrain
  • First stanza is 6 lines long and presents a problem
  • Second stanza is 8 lines long and explores or expands the problem
  • Third stanza is 6 lines long and either presents a solution or documents the failed attempt to resolve the problem

(By the way, thanks to January O'Neil for pointing me in the direction of this poetic form.)

Here is my attempt:

"Wasted opportunities"

I watch a black cat descend from the moon
on a ladder made of broken mirrors
and spilled salt. At first, I'm shocked that no one
notices, but then, no one notices
anything anymore, or at least, that
is what the experts say and why argue.

Every bad sign is a chance to forgive our neighbors.

Why argue with experts, because they don't
notice the black cat or the ladder. They're
busy sharing their expertise with those
people who don't notice anything (not
anymore), because sometimes it takes sledge
hammers to drive home nails of reason. Cats
and ladders and moons and mirrors, they fall
as the people don't notice and explain

every bad sign is a chance to forgive our neighbors.

Thinking I'm in this alone, I decide
the only thing I can do is ignore
the cat descending from the moon on its
ladder made of broken mirrors. Then I
wonder if that's what everyone else
is doing--pretending to not notice

every bad sign is a chance to forgive our neighbors.


To check out a definition of The Bop from Poets.org, click here.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Image placeholder title

If you want to discover more poetic forms,
check out John Drury's The Poetry Dictionary.

Click to continue.