By Robert Wynne

The Radius is a variable-length, syllabic form.  I was inspired to create it last year, not surprisingly, by the name of the Radius site.  Each Radius must have an even number of lines, and each line must have exactly half the number of syllables as the total number of lines in the poem.  For instance, a Radius which is 12 lines long must have 6 syllables in each line, and a Radius with 14 syllables per line must be 28 lines long.  No rhyming is required.  The poem can be a single stanza, or it can be divided into regular stanzas, as desired.

The form lends itself well to pieces with an inner tension, but any theme can work as a Radius.  Below, I’ve included 2 examples.  The first one is an Ekphrastic poem, which is 16 lines of 8 syllables each, and the second one is a Rejection Letter poem which is 20 lines of 10 syllables each.

The Cathedral
– Based on the painting by František Kupka
By Robert Wynne

It is a patchwork of colors,
mostly cool blues, a crazy quilt
to comfort you in the presence
of a silent God. You pass through
a dark red door at the bottom,
try not to tear it from hinges
and sink your teeth deep into it –
but if you must, be sure to tie
the stem in a tight knot. Learning
where to sit can be difficult
with all this refracted light; still,
every prism blushes when asked
its favorite hue. Do not neglect
the darkness, splitting the two spires
and collecting prayers from below
for blind bats, who fly them skyward.

Rejection Letter While Being Resurrected
By Robert Wynne

The light is blurry, creamy, like a sieve
filtered the bright sun and even pine cones

began questioning the longevity
of trees, how they claim to embrace the sky

even though no one really knows quite where
the sky begins. The earth begins at my

fingertips, clawing their way through thick loam
to reach the sweet breeze, but I emerge stale

as your similes, breath rasping for some
original sound. Desperation’s all

I can muster, like the bluster of your
endings, all fire hydrant, no hose. You flood

each page with tears, margins so soaked I can
barely wring them dry to respond. Still, I

come back from drowning, cough up wet mouthfuls
of extra adjectives and slip a note

of apology in the mail. I wish
I could say your S.A.S.E saved me.

Even your postage was insufficient.
A vulture shrugs his tiny shoulders, leaves.