A ‘Cleave’ By Any Other Name


Recently I found myself reading some poetry that nudged the curiosity bone, which for those who don’t know is deep within  me. This style of Poetry is called a ‘Cleave’

And here is where I read that first one , Jane introduced it on her site, which is well worth following.

In the rain

First off I will not pertain to be an expert or even an apprentice of the art of writing a ‘Cleave’. I rank as an amateur, to say anything else would be a blatant lie.

The link below explains the Cleave in its entirety. But I will give you a brief description in Ellen speak.

Cleave: A verb, which has two different meanings. It can describe cutting or splitting something apart with a sharp instrument, or — oddly enough — it can describe sticking to something like glue. (The definition I found in my tatty dictionary on my desk, I think it is a Collins but it’s long since lost the cover and string holds it together; so I can’t accurately attribute it to Collins).

As the word suggests it is a poem cleaved apart, to be precise it’s  three. Once constructed the left hand side is one poem read vertically, the right reads vertically as another, glued back to read horizontally it is as a third poem.

Cleave poem: A new experimental poetic form.

“Am I the only person that did not know this form?”

“Do you write Cleaves?”

“How about we all try one and see how we fare?”

I hope to see enthusiasm for this especially as I usually run and hide from formal poetry and this isn’t. A Cleave sits betwixt and between the freestyle I know and love, and the Haiku that makes me tremble.

Okay here goes, below is my first bite at a Cleave.


Her hair she brushed / one hundred strokes

Until it shone of gold, / having suffered for her beauty.

She tied it with a strand of silk/ Eleonore preened half the night

Creamed her skin with Mothers milk/ in preparation of her duty.

Her eyes were of the brightest hue/yet a smile false and tight

Not a glimmer of desire /no kindness did it show

As cold as cinder in the fire/as a torch without its amber glow.

Please go and see it wearing its party frock on my blog.


Author Notes

11 Comments for “A ‘Cleave’ By Any Other Name”



oh I love this! i want to try one! You did a spectacular job with this, Ellen. I can hope to write one as good.


Dear Riss I would love it if I encouraged you to try. Please do. I have written a part two on my blog called the continuance of Eleanor I would love you to read it.

Tim Hillebrant


Nice, Ellen!!

I like the form, and I can see a lot of creativity required to create something readable when doing this. I look at what you did, and am filled with admiration. Because I think if I tried, my brain would explode. Hats off to you!! This was well done. 🙂



Hey, I tested the tags to get a post to show in The Fundamentals of Writing category under Group Discussion. Leave out the “The” and just use Fundamentals of Writing. That worked for me. So many weird little quirks… lol Go back and retag your two Group Discussion pieces and see if it works for you. 🙂


Both poems are so beautiful, Ellen. And they do compliment each other, and make a solid poem in itself together. This style of poetry is very interesting. I would be interested to see what Craig Lincoln has to say about it, as he is a master poet of form and techniques. He prefers the formal styles of poetry in structure.

I am more of a free-style poet, but I do appreciate and experiment with the formal structures, too. I may have to try this out! Thanks for the write-up about it.

Dave Allen


Beautiful, Ellen. For a first effort, it’s magnificent! It worked in every direction, and on top of it all, I love the story. A woman preparing grimly for her ‘duty.’

But no post would be complete without a couple of nits:

‘The link below explains the Cleave in [it’s] (its) entirety.’ – No apostrophe needed. And you had a couple of double spaces in there. Other than that, awesome! Write on!!!

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