This, or: Every Sabbath

Sevenling (I am exhausted)

I am exhausted because work kept me up late
on Thursday night; my daughter couldn't fall
asleep right away; and my wife was abroad.

My wife is exhausted because she woke up very early to catch 
a plane on Friday morning; she'd worked long hours all week managing 
people in Eastern Europe; and she still had to deal with her regular workload.

Our daughter will have to entertain herself while we sleep this Sabbath.

The sevenling


  • Lines one to three should contain three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. This can take up all of the three lines or be contained anywhere within them.
  • Lines four to six should similarly have three elements (statements, details, names, or possibilities) connected directly or indirectly or not at all.
  • The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or an unusual juxtaposition.
  • While there are no set metrical rules, because of its form, some rhythm, meter and/or rhyme is desirable.
  • The visual structure of the form is two stanzas of three lines, with a solitary seventh line last line.


  • Titles are not required. The original convention was to title the sevenling: โ€œSevenling (followed by the first few words in parentheses)โ€, but the form has evolved to other title conventions including dropping โ€œSevenlingโ€ completely from the title.
  • Sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing, giving a feeling that only part of the story is being told.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

32 thoughts on “This, or: Every Sabbath”

  1. A good sevenling and a nice peek into the life of a single parent! I was lucky to have a spouse who pitched in and gave me the extra help that I needed to be able to juggle work, parenting and my own interests. So good that you were able to catch up on your sleep (both you and your wife) and that your daughter is old enough to amuse herself to allow that extra time to recover!!

  2. late sleep,
    no sleep,
    your kid can’t sleep
    your broad is a traveling
    Sabbath retreat needed.

    good luck David….

    with 4 kids i learned how to deal with no sleep and still am up and down so no wonder i’m pup-petering etc in the night.


      1. It’s my delight to mingle with the seasoned poetic folk David. You are a great teacher with an amazing discipline. I’m thinking through the sevenling.
        I hope you had a gorgeous rest.

  3. BTW: you made me remember something. When our girls were almost 4 and 6, I went away for a week long writing intensive in Switzerland. I felt bad leaving them “so long” (also for something “not necessary) and thought they would struggle without me ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    They had so much fun with their Papa and I was so busy having fun with the course and getting to know others there that all of us did just fine. I also so soaked up all the encouragement there: they were all American writers there save one and words of affirmation flowed freely amongst us (not a strong point of the Dutch). I never realize how much I misssed that encouragement till I was soaked in it.

    One other blessing was that after that week my husband started helping me with school prep in the mornings: he never realized how much I did each morning till I was away for that week ๐Ÿ˜‚.

    1. ๐Ÿ˜˜ Anna ๐Ÿ˜˜ – My daughter and I do have fun when we’re alone without her Mom… but it’s still tiring for me, and I’m somebody who really needs time to myself. I get psychologically exhausted in addition to physically exhausted without it.


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