As an English professor who teaches literature and professional writing, I love short poems. They are efficient; they are functional; yet they also manage to surprise, delight, and/or enlighten.
Just as a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, a few good lines of verse can pack as much emotional content as a whole paragraph of ordinary prose.
My point is not to say that short poems are better than long poems; rather, because some people assume that poetry is “easy” to write, and that short poems must therefore very easy, I want to call attention to the work that goes into crafting these exquisite little vessels of thought.
Poets generally tend to agonize over the selection and deployment of each and every word. When a poem only uses a few dozen words, each one becomes extremely important.
Upon the Death of Sir Albert Morton’s Wife
He first deceased; she for a little tried To live without him, liked it not, and died.
Sir Henry Wotton (1568–1639)
This Is Just to Say
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
William Carlos Williams (1934)
One Perfect Rose
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met. All tenderly his messenger he chose; Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -- One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret; "My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose." Love long has taken for his amulet One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet One perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah, no, it's always just my luck to get One perfect rose.
Dorothy Parker (1926)
The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk.
Ogden Nash (1931)
Reflections on Ice-breaking
Candy Is dandy But liquor Is quicker.
Ogden Nash (1931)
The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks Which practically conceal its sex. I think it clever of the turtle In such a fix to be so fertile.
Ogden Nash (1940)
Your absence has gone through me Like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.
W. S. Merwin (1973)
You Fit into Me
you fit into me like a hook into an eye
a fish hook an open eye
Margaret Atwood (1971)