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Sunday Scribblings #147: Turn Beauty Inside Out In an Envelope

I love the idea of one of those offbeat celebrations coming up this week – It is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day on the 17th of May. It was started by a few years ago by the New Moon Girls online magazine, and places emphasis on as well as celebrates the beauty within each of us. So here is to attempting turn beauty inside out in an envelope.

Wishing all moms everywhere a Happy Mother’s Day (celebrated second Sunday in May in many nations around the world).

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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 #147: Looking in and Turning Beauty Inside Out

Poetic Sundays: The Envelope Verse to Turn Beauty Inside Out

Today, I bring you one of many poetic forms to help you look for the beauty within and turning things inside out (kind of). I will feature the others some other week but for today, the one I am bringing to you is the envelope verse (and also my way of commemorating National Stationery Week this week).

This device or form is not to be confused with Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems – these are (almost fragments of) beautiful poems Dickinson drafted on leftover/unused/unsent envelopes (no wastage here at all). It is an amazing way to get a glimpse of who she was.

What is the Envelope Verse?

Envelope Verse, also known as an “envelope poem,” is a poetic form where a poem begins and ends with the same line or lines, enclosing a smaller poem within. The inner poem often presents a contrasting or expanded perspective on the opening and closing lines, creating a sense of containment or enclosure.

So just like an envelope contains words within it in a note or a letter, the envelope poem contains a poem within the enveloping opening and closing lines that are one and the same. It is more of a devise to bring the poem full circle. The Celts called it dunadh and it is often found in ancient Celtic verse.

The Envelope Verse’s Characteristics

At its most basic, the characteristics are that it is:

  • stanzaic: at least one stanza with any number of lines
  • one with the same first and last line. That is, the same line starts and ends the poem (or each stanza, if you wish to write multiple stanzas)
  • free of other requirements: There are no specific requirements for rhyme or meter, allowing for freedom and creativity. Poets can choose to employ specific syllabic counts per line if they wish to, and rhyme (or not!)
  • titled or untitled: since it uses the same first and last line, that might be enough, or you could title it.

Tips and a How to write an Envelope Verse and Turn Beauty Inside Out:

  1. Choose your opening and closing lines: Select a line or lines that will serve as the opening and closing of your poem. These lines should be able to encapsulate the overall theme or message you want to convey. You can choose to write your own line to start and end the poem/stanzas or pick something that inspires you from elsewhere. It can be a line from another poem or a quote or a line of dialog from somewhere (something you wrote, or not!).
  2. Write the inner poem: Write a smaller poem that will be enclosed within the opening and closing lines. The inner poem can explore a different aspect of the theme, offer a contrasting perspective, or expand upon the ideas presented in the outer lines.
  3. Structure and form: As mentioned earlier, this is up to the poet. So use any rhyming scheme or rhythmic pattern that you wish. Maybe the selected enveloping line will help decide this for you.
    • If you wish, you could use an envelope rhyme (and maybe envelope style syllabic structure too) within this envelope verse. An envelope rhyme is one where one rhyme structure is enclosed or enveloped by another rhyme, such as abba or abccba or abcba.

So this is kind of how it looks:

The poem’s envelope line
Inner lines of the poem
That can have any rhyme
Can have any rhythm too
And then finally will end up with
The poem’s envelope line

(And this this could be also be continued to further stanzas. The enveloping line for each stanza can be the same across all the stanzas of the poem, or you can have different enveloping lines for each stanza of the poem. So below, “The second stanza’s envelope line” can simply be “The poem’s envelope line”)

The second stanza’s envelope line
Inner lines here
That can just be anything
And any number of lines too
Finally ending with
The second stanza’s envelope line.

And so on….

h/t, References and further reading

My Example Envelope Verse

I have chosen to leave it untitled, and as you can see, the line “the heart of a mother” envelopes a poem within (from “her heart does” to “gladden that heart”) that can be separate and still make sense while also expanding upon “the heart of a mother.” I decided on this phrase to be my enveloping line because of, well, Mother’s Day, and also from the title of another poem I wrote in April.


At Home and On My Blog

It was a hectic week for all of us at home, with work, AP exams, and such. And 👍🏻, I also had some spring cleaning to take care of (doing it in bits and pieces as the weather is kind of hovering back and forth between different seasons still).

Just a couple of posts made their way here:


On My Blog & Homefront

On the home front, it is as usual and the weather is getting warmer suddenly – kind of like went from winter’s chill to summer’s heat (spring? I don’t know!)

On my blog, a couple of posts will make their way here but I still need to work on visiting others from the April challenges.

This Week’s Celebrations

Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)

  • Literary birthdays this week of May include: L. Frank Baum and Lauren Hillenbrand on the 15th of May; HE Bates on May 16th; Gary Paulsen and Grace Lin on May 17th; Bertrand Russell and Lionel Shriver on the 18th; Jodi Picoult, Nora Ephron, Ruskin Bond, & Girish Karnad on May 19th; Mary Pope Osborne, Michèle Roberts, Sigrid Undset, and Walter Isaacson on the 20th; Harold Robbins and Maria Semple on May 21st
  • This week – May 15th- 21st – is National Stationery Week
  • May 16th is National Biographer’s Day

Foodie Celebrations

Other Celebrations

Wrapped 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?

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

an image of an envelope and pin title says Poetic Sundays: The Envelope Verse to Turn Beauty Inside Out

19 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #147: Turn Beauty Inside Out In an Envelope

  1. I love to read good poetry when I can find it. Which is harder then you think! But you did a great job with it! Thanks so much for reading!

  2. I’ve not come across this type of poem before. I’ve not written any poetry for many years now. I’m looking forward to National Devil’s Food Cake Day, might have to make a cake. Ha, great excuse, thanks for that!!

  3. I am loving your poetry style and love how you break it down to create the perfect piece! I have always enjoyed poetry and love the tips!

  4. Your article on “Turn Beauty Inside Out In an Envelope” is truly inspiring! I love how you encourage readers to spread beauty and positivity through heartfelt letters. Your words resonate deeply, reminding us of the power of personal connection. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful message!

  5. Oh my gosh! I had tea today, on International Tea Day!! LOVED your poem, and even your poems that were instructional about how to create an envelope poem. Happy Mother’s Day.

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