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Fir Trees and Mountain Peaks - Two Ninette Poems

Updated on November 11, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

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The Vanishing Fir Trees

Where
fir trees
once reside,
barren hillsides
are all that remains.
Mother Earth robbed.
Nature done.
Wild life
Gone.

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Mountain Peak over the City

High
above
city streets,
the mountain peaks
dwarf the skyscrapers
and pierce the smog
like a knife
cutting
low.

What is a Ninette?

Ninette Poems belong to a genre of syllabic poems. Its structure is based exclusively on word patterns rather than a rhymes and meters of lyrical poems. Surprisingly, such poems are not new. They’ve been around and have been devised in nearly every part of the globe. Also, they’ve seen a resurgence of popularity. Other poems in this genre are haiku, tanka, sijo, cinquain and Lanterne (a five-line version of the ninette).

The Ninette syllable counts are as follows:

Line 1: one

Line 2: two

Line 3: three

Line 4: four

Line 5: five

Line 6: four

Line 7: three

Line 8: two

Line 9: one

As you may have noticed, the ninette poem has nine lines. Hence, that’s how it got its name. There are other similar forms as well. The smaller version of this is the laterne, and the more intricate pattern poem diamante follows some of the same rules.

In many respects, ninette poems often get confused with diamante. The differences however are striking.

A diamante gets this name because such poems are designed to look like a diamond. Like the ninette poem, it relies heavily syllable count and physical placements of the words. One can take a ninette poem and convert them into a diamante. However, rules for creating a diamante can change: word count instead of syllables have been used and, sometimes, the syllable counts may follow even or odd number assortments (1,3,5,3,1 or 2,4,6,2,4,2). It can look like this:

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The problem with the diamante -- as opposed to poems such as ninette, lanterne and cinquain -- is that content writing sites on the Internet are not always accommodating to the diamante. Most sites I know of automatically align the text. Also, diamante can be a type-setting nightmare (especially on an antique typewriter). You have to choose words that will fit and position them in the right order to create the effect, and make sure that the syllables or words match the particular rules that govern its line count.

Ninette has advantages over the others. First, it does matter if it is aligned in terms of format. Also, the nine lines allows for more input, and possibly to convert them into narrative or prose poems. In other words, there’s enough lines and words to create a story.

© 2015 Dean Traylor

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      Interesting info my friend. Thanks for this nice work. whonu

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