An Erasure Poem

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In today’s email, I was presented a challenge—write an erasure poem. What kind of poem is that? It’s made from the words left after you’ve removed other words from a poem. You can turn them into poetic lines or leave as is.

The email provided a sample:

Here’s an example of an erasure poem made from the Miranda Warning (a warning that U.S. police are required to give when making an arrest.)

by Charles Jensen

  —The “Miranda Rights,” established 1966

You have the right to remain
anything you can and will be.

An attorney you cannot afford
will be provided to you.

You have silent will.
You can be against law.
You cannot afford one.

You remain silent. Anything you say
will be provided to you.

The right can and will be
against you. The right provided you.

Have anything you say be 
right. Anything you say can be right.

Say you have the right attorney.
The right remain silent.

Be held. Court the one. Be provided.
You cannot be you.

Here’s the original Miranda Warning: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

Pretty clever, huh?

The email ended with two ideas for my own writing. The first one was about hurricanes while the second was Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” I chose the later:


Once a midnight dreary, weak and weary,

Over quaint and curious forgotten lore—

There came a tapping at my chamber door.

’Tis some visitor and nothing more.

I remember its ghost upon the floor.

Nameless here for evermore.

Thrilled me—filled me—stood repeating

“This it is and nothing more.”

I opened wide the door.

Darkness there and nothing more.

Fearing the silence and the stillness nothing more.

Back into the chamber I heard a tapping before my window.

My heart be still—

“’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

I flung the shutter, 

In stepped a stately Raven—

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird said,  “Nevermore.”

Its answer little meaning, but the Raven spoke only that one word.

I sat engaged, my head reclining.

The air grew denser.    

“Wretch,” I cried. “Thing of evil! Tell me, I implore!”

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, still is sitting above my chamber door.

Shall be lifted—nevermore!

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Need a little creative break? Choose your favorite poem and erase words, lines or even entire stanzas! Create something unique that speaks to YOU!

Let me know how it goes!

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