Story-with-a-Moral Structure

Very well-known in fiction, many poems also employ this two-part structure which turns from telling a story to offering the lesson(s) of that story.

“The Present,” by Michael Donaghy

“Reading,” by Michael Fried (in The Next Bend in the Road, p. 35).

“Summer Storm,” by Dana Gioia

“Allowables,” by Nikki Giovanni

“Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes,” by Thomas Gray

“Evolution,” by Eliza Griswold (in Wideawake Field (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007): 66).

“Afterglow,” by Ann Hudson

“The Epileptic,” by Jon Loomis (in Vanitas Motel (Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College Press, 1998): 18-19).

“Gate A-4,” by Naomi Shihab Nye

“John Chapman,” by Mary Oliver (in American Primitive (New York: Little Brown & Co., 1984); reprinted in Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems, edited by Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer (Urbana, IL: U of Illinois P, 2007): 124-25).

“Scary, No Scary,” by Zachary Schomburg  Word to the wise.

“The Demise of Camembert,” by Ron Slate

“Fairy-tale Logic,” by A.E. Stallings

Here are some stories that refuse a moral:

“Bent to the Earth,” by Blas Manuel de Luna

“Two Trees,” by Don Paterson (in Rain (New York: FSG, 2009): 3).  Paterson reads “Two Trees” here.

“Poverty,” by Jane Taylor

One response

25 03 2018
“Beauty”–Full of Turns | Structure & Surprise

[…] room…,” the asserted beauty shifts into a kind of emblem’s meditation or moral. The poem, however, is unwilling to rest content here, and challenges its own conclusions, […]

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