April is National Poetry Month here in the United States. We'd like you to help us celebrate by penning a poem in the comment field below or on our Facebook page.

The ocean has served as an inspiration for as long as poets have been writing poems. Some people are inspired by the ocean’s powerful, crashing waves, like when Homer wrote about the “wine dark sea” in the Odyssey. Its fascinating animals sparked Walt Whitman, while its depth and mystery drew in former US poet laureate Billy Collins. Even play on the beach can be a source of inspiration: it compelled E. E. Cummings to pen the lovely lines, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)/it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

Don’t worry if you’re not the next Walt Whitman: our only rule is that you share his muse, the ocean. Whether you praise saltwater waves, ponder undulating jellyfish, or pretend to be the baleen in a whale's mouth, WE WANT YOUR POEMS. From the sublime to the silly, we love them all.

Please take a few seconds, minutes, or hours and submit your odes to the blue. We'll post some of our favorites on our blog at the end of the month.

Want a bit more structure? Try these poetic forms:

  • Haikus spread 17 syllables over three lines, with 5, 7, and 5 syllables in each successive line. But feel free to experiment and bend the rules. (This is perfect for Facebook or Twitter!)
  • Try rhyming every line, or every other line. Use two sets of rhyming sounds and intermix them…
  • …or go freeform, with no rhymes at all!
  • Use as many words as you can that start with the same sound

Need some inspiration? Peruse the multimedia section of the Ocean Portal for photos and video, or read poems from two years ago.

If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, celebrate your love for the ocean by joining us at a free ocean haiku writing workshop at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Sant Ocean Hall from 1-3 pm on Saturday, April 13, 2013.