Girls Climb Up Trees: an atom poem on childhood

The guideline is from the host himself, David, for the W3 SkepticKaddish poetry prompt. It is to:
•Write a series of at least five “atom” tercets on the theme of “children” or “childhood”

What is an atom poem?

An atom poem is a stanzaic poem of one or more tercets. The form is the 1st line has 5 letters, the 2nd line has 7 letters, and the 3rd line has five letters. It is the same 5, 7, 5, format as haiku, except you count the letter instead of the words (as in haiku).

The atom poem has a title but has no punctuation. Which means no dashes, apostrophes, commas, colon, hyphens, etc. I say this as I’ve read some atom poems that contain sneaky apostrophes. Can I use an apostrophe instead of a letter? Hmm, I don’t know. If I could, it would be helpful. For instance, I could write ‘em taking up only three letter spaces instead of the four that writing them would. To err on the side of caution, I won’t be putting in any apostrophes. It also has no CAPITALISATION. Which means lower case only.

When I began the poem, I wondered how I was going to write at least five stanzas. I am now wondering how I am going to stop writing. Is there a maximum to the number of stanzas? I must stop. 
The format makes me think a psychological, paper, rock, scissors type of poet devised it. Ah! I’ve just thought up another stanza! Oh dear.
If you are a child and reading my long childhood atoms, hurry, or your childhood may be over by the time you reach the end!

Girls Climb Up Trees

Atom poem on children and childhood

Girls Climb Up Trees | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Girls Climb Up Trees



girls
climb up
trees

dirty
scraped
knees

times
for play
times

happy
cherubs
faces

races
running
relay

a play
grounds
world

small
boys get
mucky

girls
skip the
ropes

rock a
see saws
rider

rocks
scissor
paper

ride a
rocking
horse

swing
a swings
swing

go for
a roller
skate

skate
on mates
board

hoard
pokemon
cards

stamp
collect
album

plays
station
games

in hop
scotch a
hop is

child
plays in
water

splash
puddles
splosh

small
kids are
funny

sunny
seaside
trips

young
laddies
dream

to get
more ice
cream

child
running
wild

read a
bed time
story

grimm
fairies
tales

fairy
nursery
rhyme

panto
mime for
shows

legos
jigsaws
dolls

train
sets and
bears

girls
pigtails
plait

noisy
girls in
class

bully 
boys are
rough

tough
football
games

girls
and boys
names

going
home for
cakes

makes 
tea time
yummy



lesley scoble   december 2022

If you reached the end, congratulations! There were 38 tercets at the last count (I and my boys have long childhoods).

Here is a separate atom poem about my sons eating sweets. It is an impure atom poem as the 3rd line contains the six letter word sweets. (Should you wish to make it a pure atom, you can replace the word sweets with the five letter word candy.)

Small boys eat sweets

small
boys eat
sweets

Lesley Scoble December 2022
Dan and Ben sort sweets in a Yorkshire Lane | Photo: Lesley Scoble
My thanks to David of The Skeptics Kaddish for the atomic poetry prompt!

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