#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #Tautogram. Enjoy examples by Ian Richardson, Tim Fellows and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

Ark Aardvark

Alas, Adam’s atrocities annoyed an
Almighty. Announcing annihilation
an apologetic all-powerful advised
an accomplice, ‘Assemble an ark,
and allow all animals aboard.’

‘All animals? Altogether?’
asked an amazed assistant.
‘All animals and associates!’
announced an anxious Ancient,
adding, ‘Alphabetically arranged.’

Accessing ancient architectural ability
an artisan assembled appropriate
accommodation. An ancient aardvark,
alias Alan, arrived and allowed
all animals aboard… alphabetically.

Animals and Avians arrived.
An ancient Albatross,
an agile antelope, an atheist ape,
androgynous asps, an atypical Axolotl,
and an Anaconda avoiding an apple.

After an age all available animals
are alphabetically arranged.
Avian’s aloft, abovedeck.
Arthropod’s adopt apartments
and Adder’s adapt aquariums.

Altocumulus and altostratus aggregate.
An aquatic avalanche accumulates
above all arable acres and,
amid an archetypical arkstorm
an ark, awash, ascends aloft.

Amassing afterdays afloat asea
all animals are alive and able.
After an age and an agreeable
aquatic abatement an Ark arsenal
arrives atop ascendant Ararat.

After abiding another arduous
Agelong adjournment
avian activity ascertains
agricultural acreage again.
An airglow arch appears above.

How Did It Go?

When I first saw this challenge I thought of using the letter ‘a’.
The letter ‘a’ has five different sounds… apple, snake, father, ball, many, and
I thought that I could create a poem using these short long and broad sounds.
I’d decided it should be a narrative, probably biblical, because of apple, snake, father.
Eventually I settled on the story of the Ark, and the aardvark stumbled into the story.
With this in mind I opened my thesaurus and began writing down words
that had some association with the ark. Animals, accommodation, awash, Ararat, altar etc.
I wrote too much, over a hundred lines that were eventually whittled down to 40 lines,
the number of days and nights it rained. My original idea to have a rhythm of
long and short vowel sounds was too difficult .

Ian Richardson


Sleep settles,
soft sand sifting,
shifting sea-green, sea-blue, sea-purple swell,
Sleep searches
submerged ship-dreams,
sheet-metalled, silver-plated scavenged stars,
sinking slowly seawards.
Somnus sips
subterranean silence.


Sea serpent stirs
subterranean sous-sols,
stony-eyed, sea-wracked,
sifting shipwrecks,
squirming, squid-infested,
scattering silver-glinting,
sequin-stitched, seraph-fish,
singing storm songs.


Stars stretch,
sea-reflected shimmerings,
such silver-quick scatterings,
Sun setting
sparks solstice-night sentinels,
searchlights separating

How did it go?

I didn’t like this form much, far too exclusive. I think I have quite a rich vocabulary, but this was a struggle. Pick any letter and there will be plenty of nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives that begin with it, but, unless you pick ‘t’, virtually no articles, conjunctions, prepositions or pronouns, and phrases need those too. Still, struggle or not, I’ve set myself the challenge of writing one of these for each letter of the alphabet, except the silly ones.

Jane Dougherty


hard hats, hard hearts;
hurrahing, harumphing,
hurdling high hedges.

Hark! horns,
hot, hungry hounds
hysterically howling.

Hurry! Hurry!
Hunted hobbles
home, her helpless haven,
hackles high, hurt,
hardly hiding.

Hating, haunting,
heraldic houses –
human Heaven
hosting horrific Hell.

A TV Astonomer Visits Hospital After an Accident

Xylophone xenophobe x-rayed

Anthony, an anteater,
ate abundant ants. An aardvark, Alan,
also ate ants – armies and armies –
against aesculapian advice.
Anthony and Alan are
arch-enemies. Anger and angst
always abound as Alan and Anthony
amble around.
Are all animals as abrupt, as adversarial?
After all, aren’t anteaters and aardvarks
alike? Armadillos also.
Ah, alphabetically akin, an anteater,
an aardvark and an armadillo are
And Anthony, Alan and armadillo Andrew
await Armageddon, antagonistic animals
always. Arseholes.

How did it go?

Three tautograms. I thought it would be hard to write a serious tautogram, but I remembered I’d written a poem with 90% the same letter so I removed the non-compliant ones and we have “Hunt”.
I doubt anyone else has chosen X and you have to be British, and quite old, to get it.
The “A” one is light hearted, to an extent…

I like these because they force you to use a real dictionary – an actual paper book – to get some inspiration.

Tim Fellows

Ode of Omission

Owls on one old oak, oddlets
over-fluffed, ogling oblivious
oystercatchers on outhouse.

Oh owlets, order our overt
onslaught of Os, observe
our ongoing offences

objectify our outrageous
‘O’ obsession, oppose or
obliterate other options.

How did it go?

I think I chose one of the hardest letters here – and it was not a very creative experience. I know working in a strict framework is supposed to develop your skills, but I simply found this form a tad annoying and too restrictive. Perhaps that shows I don’t have the basic skills?

Lesley Curwen

Bio and Links

Ian Richardson

has been reading for a long time. Eventually, inevitably he began to write.
His work has appeared in many journals, online and in print.
You can find him on Twitter @IanRich10562022

One thought on “#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #Tautogram. Enjoy examples by Ian Richardson, Tim Fellows and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

  1. Two poems, written simultaneously by two different poets, both featuring an Aardvark called Alan! That is some biblical-scale coincidence! Thank you, Paul, for making this possible 🙂

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