A Sevenling is a seven line form created by Roddy Lumsden as a teaching exercise, based on this poem written by Anna Akhmatova and translated by D M Thomas:

He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America.

He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.

… And he married me.


  • The first three lines contain three connected or contrasting elements, be they objects, names, situations, details, possibilities, etc. How they are formatted within those three lines however you like, either taking up all three lines, or contained anywhere within them. 
  • The next three lines similarly contain three elements, in the same way, connected directly or indirectly or not at al to the preceding group. 
  • The final single line should act as a narrative summary, punchline or unusual juxtaposition
  • There are not rules, as far as meter or rhyme scheme or rhythm, but meter, rhyme and rhythm would be beneficial. Commonly the two sets of three stanzas are usually each grouped together and the last line set apart. 
  • It doesn’t need to be titled, and if it is it should be titled Sevenling followed by the first few words in parenthesis. 
  • The tone of the sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing. The reader should feel that only a fragment of the story has been told, with broad room for interpretation. It should invite guesswork from the reader. 

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