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Sunday Scribblings #133: Poetic Elements of the Periodic Table

So it is Periodic Table Day on the 7th of February. Why? Because on this date in 1863, English chemist John Newlands published one of the first table of elements containing a rudimentary set of 56 elements arranged a little differently from how we know the table today. However, it inspired me today to explore the poetic elements of the periodic table. So read on to find out how!

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Notepad and a pen over it with a cup of coffee next to it. words read Sunday Scribblings, and this is for Sunday Scribblings #133: Poetic Elements of the Periodic Table

Poetic Sundays: Poetic Elements of the Periodic Table

aka A Periodic Poem (or An Elemental Poem)

Today is not about any specific form; it is simply poetry inspired by the periodic table. I choose to call it the ‘periodic poem’; so in a way, a new type of poetry created by me! It is a fun way to write poetry and commemorate this cool table. I have set a few tips and rules for this, but feel free to interpret it your way or feel free to be inspired by the elements of the periodic table however you choose.

A (@) Periodic Poem’s Elements

So a periodic poem’s elements are that at its most basic, it is:

  • free of rules (almost): My only asks are
    • don’t use the letter ‘J’ in the poem (why? because the periodic table doesn’t contain it!)
    • try to use at least 3 words created with the symbols of at least two separate elements of the periodic table. Let us call these ‘elemental words’!
      • for eg: the word ‘lace’ from two elements ‘La’ (Lanthanum) and ‘Ce’ (Cerium), or the word ‘cloth’ using ‘Cl’ (Chlorine), ‘O’ (Oxygen) and ‘Th’ (Thorium)
        • bonus points if you use 7 “elemental words” instead of just 3
        • and extra bonus points if you write the whole poem using words created with elements
  • rhyme and meter – optional: left to the poet
  • inspired by the periodic table (and its elements). In addition (or not) to those asks, you can choose to be further inspired by the periodic table and its elements and write a poem about the table or its contents! Maybe you have heard or tried to learn / sing the periodic table song sometime in the past? (video below)
  • fun!

Tips to Write a Periodic Poem or Explore the Poetic Elements of the Periodic Table

  • Have a look at the table and try to make words using the symbols for the elements, start with ones with just two elemental symbols first, and then expand it further.
  • Make a list of the elements themselves that inspire you! Or a list of things that you find fascinating about the periodic table. Or if you chose to go on a different route than the periodic table for thematic inspiration, that is fine too!
  • Start writing your poem. Use any form you wish or free verse it, but remember to use at least some of the ‘elemental words’ (three minimum preferably) from the list you made earlier, and yes, don’t forget this – you cannot use the letter ‘J’ in your poem!

My Periodic Poem Attempt

Here is my periodic poem using the elemental words FeAr (Fe – Iron and Ar – Argon), YOU (Y – Yttrium, O – Oxygen, U – Uranium), Be (Be – Beryllium), WHeN (W – Tungsten, He – Helium, N – Nitogen), MoON (Mo – Molybdenum, O – Oxygen, N – Nitrogen) and also the title of the poem. The elemental words are in bold and not italicized (except for when at the end of the sentence).

In addition, the form I used for this poem is the Golden Shovel, where you pick a line from another poem or song, and use the words of that line as the last words in your own poem. Don’t forget to credit the original creation and creator. Remember that you can choose any form you want to or simply write in free verse but use ‘elemental words’ and do not use the letter ‘j’.

The line I picked is from Bob Marley’s “Sun is Shining” – When the morning gathers the rainbow. You can see the complete lyrics here. (song title links to the youtube video so you can listen to Marley’s wonderful voice!) I picked Bob Marley’s song because it is his birthday on the 6th of February. And with it being Black History Month, both Bob Marley and the Golden Shovel (which was created in tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks) made sense for me to include in this poem, as my tribute to the month itself.

So in a way, this poem is written using two different forms – the Golden Shovel, and this impromptu poem type/form(?) – the ‘periodic’ or ‘elemental’ poem!

FeAr not sweetheart , for WHeN
YOU need me, no matter the
Be it not yet morning
or maybe
WHeN the MoON gathers
her glow.
FeAr not, for this is the
fact; I’ll always be your cloud’s rainbow.
~ vidya @ ladyinreadwrites

Resources and Inspiration

  • You can use the image below or go to PubChem (National Library of Medicine) to look at the table and more details on it/the elements
User:Double sharp, based on File:Simple Periodic Table Chart-en.svg by User:Offnfopt, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Listen to the Periodic Table Song for inspiration (or simply for fun)


On My Blog And the Homefront

Here are the posts this week. I surprised myself by continuing to post everyday even after the UBC ended!

My teenager wasn’t feeling all too good for part of the week but thankfully, no fever, and also thankfully, she recovered fully with a couple of days rest. So now she can be all fine for the coming week.


On My Blog and Homefront

Hope to post at least 3 days this week. And my DD is turning 17! Time flies is so very true. So celebrations are in order this week for our home, and her brother is making a trip this coming weekend to celebrate with her <3

This Week’s Celebrations

Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)

  • Literary birthdays this week include: Bob Marley on Feb 6th; Charles Dickens, Sinclair Lewis, and Laura Ingalls Wilder on the 7th; Elizabeth Bishop, Kate Chopin, John Grisham, Jules Verne, and Rebecca Wells on the 8th; Alice Walker on the 9th; Charles Lamb and Boris Pasternak on the 10th; Sidney Sheldon and Mo Willems on the 11th; Judy Blume and Jacqueline Woodson on the 12th
  • It is All the News That’s Fit to Print Day on February 10. These words “all the news that’s fit to print” took a permanent place as the slogan of the “New York Times” starting February 10th, 1897.
  • The second week of February celebrates writers, or more specifically, it is Freelance Writers Appreciation Week.
  • International Week of Black Women in the Arts is observed annually from February 7 to February 15

Foodie Celebrations

Other Celebrations

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month? If you write a periodic poem with elemental words, I would love to read it, so please do share it with me

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon.

periodic table partially displayed and pin title says Poetic Sundays: Poetic Elements of the Periodic Table (A Periodic Poem / An Elemental Poem)

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