Clipped Verse: Children’s Poetry for a Windy Day

I first learned of clipped verse (sometimes called fragmented rhyme) back in 2007 when I was introduced to children’s author Verla Kay’s powerful historical non-fiction children’s book, Rough, Tough Charley. The book is about Charley Parkhurst, one of the most respected stagecoach drivers in the old West: six-horse stagecoach / bounds along / Charley reins up / flicks a thong / Ladies gossip / “Charley’s odd / Don’t like people / then they nod. It wasn’t until his death that people discovered he was a she: Hold your horses / Huge surprise . . . / He’s a woman in disguise.

In clipped verse, complete sentences (and prepositions) are ignored and replaced with a strict clipped meter resulting in a sing-song verse that’s great fun to read aloud.

It’s April and with spring comes strong winds and kite season! Here’s a children’s poem for a windy day that I wrote in clipped verse.


Cut the paper,
Stretch it tight,
Cross the sticks,
Build a kite.

Long tail tying,
Ribbon, bow
Spacing, placing
In a row.

Mixing, fixing
Paint surprise,
Golden glowing
Dragon eyes.

Whirling, swirling
Windy fun.
Let the string out,
Ready, run!

Dipping, darting,
Ride the sky.
Flapping, clapping,
See it fly!

© Danna Smith at all rights reserved


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