Whitney

WHITNEY
This titled syllabic form, created by Betty Ann Whitney, has exactly seven lines.
Syllable Pattern:  3/4/3/4/3/4/7
Example:
In the Garden Year
Voted best
Among the months
May and June
Sprout root and grow.
Soon will dance
On wiry stems
A blend of upturned blossoms.
Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL
 
My Example Poem 

 
Introducing Summer   (Whitney)
Trampolines
and Bar-B-ques
and new mown
grass are mighty
fine, but still,
bikinis I
like best; hope I always will.
© Lawrencealot – April 15, 2014
 
 

Waltz Wave

WALTZ WAVE
This form, named for Leo Waltz, the Web Manager of Sol Magazine, asks for a one-stanza titled poem, with nineteen lines; each line has a set number of syllables.
Pattern:   1/2/1/2/3/2/1/2/3/4/3/2/1/2/3/2/1/2/1
Words may be split into syllables to fit the pattern.  This form seems to educe a soothing cadence as the lines gently increase and decrease, so it is suggested that topic chosen for this form also be soothing.
Today’s Gift (Waltz Wave)

White
blossoms
bloom
today
outside my
window
a
welcome
occurrence
since yesterday.
How many
mornings
have
I failed
to see the
gifts that
each
day brings
me?© Lawrencealot – April 15, 2014

Wounded Couplet poetry form

This is a form invented by Lisa Morris , aka Streambed on Allpoetry.

This form contains within its rhyming pattern, two couplets, one of which seems wounded, and is wrapped by four other lines, hence some rationale for its name.

It is stanzaic, consisting of any number of octains.
It is syllabic 10/10/6/10/10/10/10/10
It is metric, using iambic meter.

It is rhymed, the pattern being: abccbadd

Example Poem

 

Elixir     (Wounded Couplet)

My lover went a wandering I think
for he believes that magic will restore
his potency and verve.
He wants to play around is all.  What nerve!
He claims he’s seeking mermaids by the shore
to find for him an elixir to drink.
Which beats testosterone in every way
whenever fortitude comes into play.

 

The tavern called the “Wharf” is near the beach
and frequently young barmaids catch his eye
(which seldom scans the shore.)
Perhaps it’s just the scanty clothes they wore
I guess he’ll look for fairies by and by.
The man’s intent let’s try not to impeach.
If elixir’s at home in foaming glass
he’ll need a test, and’s sure to make a pass.

 

I figured then that two could play that game
so put on fairy costume with a mask
and strode into the bar.
The men’s reactions  bordered on bizarre.
I had five drinks and didn’t have to ask,
But all their pick-up lines were truly lame.
When sitting, my costume revealed my thighs,
which seemed to be a magnet for the guys.

 

My lover was among the gazing flock,
He leered at me with barely hidden lust.
His fairy had appeared.
The absence of a potion was not feared,
as his eyes roamed from ankles up to bust.
His codpiece was enlarged, and not with socks.
The elixir was visual nothing more.
Adventure comes to men when they explore.

 

I saw some girls were equally entranced
with fairy wings and panty showing skirt,
and thus I tweaked my plan
and this is how my fairy tale began.
I planned and schemed and still had time to flirt
and with each wink I found my plan enhanced.
With stealth each girl departed then came back
prepared to mount our fairy tale attack.

 

Each girl returned in fairy tale attire
and each in turn gave their farewell that night
then walked out to the sea.
We danced and splashed and shared a fine esprit
and spoke of fairy kings and mortal’s plight
and all the fantasy the men require.
My lover saw his fairies on the beach
but all of us were well beyond his reach.

 

When I got home light hues announced the dawn;
my drunken lover was unconscious yet.
He needed all his sleep.
As planned, his dreams were bothersome and deep.
He woke and pulled me close and said, “Annette,
It frightened me when last night you were gone.
It gave me pause and gave me cause to grieve.
I’ll not again go chasing make believe.”

© Lawrencealot – April 14, 2014

Visual Template

Swinburne Decastitch

This form combining the rhyming pattern of an interrupted Petrachan Sonnet, with the breathing  cadence of common meter may have somewhere been used before, but it was definitely used and captured for us by Algernon Charles Swinburne in his “A Ballad of Death”.
I merely record it here and give it a name by which we can refer as we attempt to write such poems of our own.
It is stanzaic, consisting of any number of stanzas.
It is Syllabic: 10/10/6/10/10/10/6/10/10/10
It is Rhymed: abbacdecde
It is composed in iambic meter.
Example Poem
Cultural Patrimony     (Swinburne Decastitch)
When any culture deems it right to maul
and kill, inflicting pain, can you explain
away my great disdain?
Can you excuse the citizens and all
who legislate and rule who use as tool
the very worst impulses of man’s mind?
Against such things let’s rail!
We simply cannot fool ourselves- it’s cruel
to torment any species that we find.
With that in mind I’d like to tell this tale.
Young boys are often wooed by danger’s taunt
and while still teens endeavor to learn skills
to please the crowds with thrills.
‘Tis machismo alone that these boys flaunt,
and doubtlessly they want to earn the fame
accruing to the greatest in this “sport”
so fam’lies can be proud.
And many boys who play this dangerous game
will end up lame or have their life cut short
where death and torture’s commonly allowed.
In training some are killed or truly maimed.
and never set their feet into bull’s ring.
This is an honored thing!
But culture failing still persists unnamed,
where people think this cost perhaps is small;
and small it well may be when men have learned
compassion has no role.
If humankind is not herewith appalled
by acts dispensing pain where it’s unearned
each man accepts canker on his soul.
When man pits bull against a lion foe,
again to entertain and titillate,
we each should fee self-hate.
The gladiator games we must outgrow,
like burning ants and pulling off fly’s wings.
Each species may do harsh things to survive.
But evil has its cost.
When man accepts it’s right to torture things
which share our space and roam our earth alive,
compassion for all life will soon be lost.
© Lawrencealot – April 13, 2014
Visual Template

Dansa

Dansa

The dansa is an Occitan verse form i.e. it’s from the troubadour territory of southern France. All the verses except the first are the same: they rhyme aabb with the last line a repeated refrain. The first verse has five lines, and consists of the refrain followed by four lines similar to all the other verses. No particular metre is essential, but Skelton says six-syllable lines are common in Occitan verse, so that’s what I used.
A Load of Rot
Mulching is the future!
Let those clippings lie there,
Proving how much you care.
For lawns needing nurture,
Mulching is the future.
Don’t clear up that cut grass!
Lie down; let the urge pass.
Be at one with nature –
Mulching is the future.
You need no-one’s pardon;
This is your own garden.
For your private pasture,
Mulching is the future.
Your leisure is well-earned.
Relax; don’t be concerned.
Look, see the big picture:
Mulching is the future.
What you leave will decay.
It will provide one day
Nutrients and moisture.
Mulching is the future.
Don’t get up; better far
To stay right where you are.
As with any creature,
Mulching is your future.

I saw a lawnmower on sale with the slogan “Mulching is the future”I found it a catchy slogan but a depressing thought. Still, there had to be a poem in it… It was just a question of finding a suitable verse form. I think the dansa was a fair choice.
I cheated slightly by altering one word in the final repetition of the refrain.  Poetic licence.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.

My example poem-
Since Bob used a slogan, I did too.  Though meter optional, I chose iambic trimeter.
Intrigue     (Dansa)

Does she? Or doesn’t she?

If you but only knew.
Instead you have no clue.
So what is it to be?
Does she? Or doesn’t she?
A guy, you can just ask,
it’s such a simple task
It can’t sound like a plea,
Does she? Or doesn’t she?

Why should you really care
what color is her hair.
But when it comes to me,
Does she? Or doesn’t she?

© Lawrencealot – April 12, 2014

Visual Template

Ruthless Rhyme

Ruthless Rhyme
Ruthless rhymes were created by Harry Graham. If you haven’t met them before, and enjoy things that are deplorably funny but not in the best possible taste, do please seek out his work. (My favourite is the one about little Leonie.) It’s not that easy to write a poem about death that’s funny without being offensive. How about this one:
Out in the Wash
When spouse and clothes got in a tangle
They went together through the mangle.
The faithless rat I did not grieve –
Still flatter, but can’t now deceive.
 

Ruthless rhymes are always written in rhyming couplets – usually two of them, but occasionally more.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.
The link below will lead you to a fine selection of poems by
By Jocelyn Henry Clive ‘Harry’ Graham who just became on of my favorite poets.
Here are a couple of examples of his work.
Necessity
LATE last night I slew my wife,
Stretched her on the parquet flooring;
I was loath to take her life,
But I had to stop her snoring.
The Perils of Obesity
YESTERDAY my gun exploded
When I thought it wasn’t loaded;
Near my wife I pressed the trigger,
Chipped a fragment off her figure;
‘Course I’m sorry, and all that,
But she shouldn’t be so fat.

My example poem

Laundry Mix     ( Example of Ruthless Rhyme)

Into the wash I threw the cat
and Mom said I ought not do that.
But still a load of underwear
feels nice when coated with cat hair.

© Lawrencealot – April 11, 2024
Visual Template
Ruthless Rhyme

Deibide Baise Fri Toin

Deibide Baise Fri Toin
A similar name, but not much in common with the common-or-garden deibide, apart from being Irish. I don’t know how to pronounce this one, or the literal meaning of its name, but here’s what the verse form looks like: 

Against Vegetation
Move! Without
doubt it helps to get about.
Except for triffids, a plant
can’t.
Poor daisies!
In peril as cow grazes,
prospects of survival not
hot.
Such fodder
can’t flee even a plodder;
inferior to the least
beast.
No better,
the shiftless non-go-getter,
potato sat on a couch.
Ouch!
The syllable count is 3/7/7/1 and it rhymes aabb. It is essential to the form that the a rhymes have two syllables, and the b rhymes have one syllable. There are a fair number of Irish forms – some of them with longer and more unpronounceable names – and most of them stipulate the type of rhyme as precisely as this.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.
My example poem
Wet Cats     (Deibide Baise Fri Toin)
Don’t worry
although they’re sometimes furry
it’s okay to get a pet
wet.
Don’t insist
on fresh fish they can’t resist;
cats can convert once they’ve tried
fried.
I’m inclined
to think cats are not refined,
but just aloof. I don’t know
though.
© Lawrencealot – April 11, 2014
Visual Template
Note: two syllable rhyme

Deibhidhe

Deibhidhe
The deibhidhe is an Irish form. In English it is more often spelt deibide, but you still have to pronounce it jayvee. (The Irish language uses a lot of unlikely-looking clusters of consonants, and most of them seem to be either pronounced as “v” or not pronounced at all. Exercise: pronounce the name of the poet Medbh McGuckian.) 
Here’s a deibhidhe about the time I spent working in the oil industry: 

No, Watercolour…

Of a subject dire I sing:
Reservoir Engineering
I could never understand –
A queer and quaggy quicksand!

I was sent away to learn
About it in climes northern,
But while at Herriot-Watt
My zeal did not run riot.

All the years I worked in oil,
My conscience was in turmoil.
I floundered through the fog
Like a bogged-down wan warthog.

My colleagues would make a fuss.
Those strata – were they porous?
It bothered me not a whit
How the drill bit grey granite.

The mysteries of the rock
Made me feel like a pillock.
Underground movements of gas
Alas, my mind can’t compass.

I don’t work there any more,
Redundancy my saviour.
Not a tragedy at all –
A small but welcome windfall!

There was a TV advert for an airline some years ago which featured the following exchange between two passengers on a flight to Aberdeen. Large outgoing American: “D’you work in oil?” Weedy-looking bespectacled Brit: “No, watercolour.” Hence the title. Herriot-Watt University is situated near Edinburgh and offers week-long courses on such arcane subjects as Reservoir Engineering, cleverly sugaring the pill by making them coincide with the Edinburgh Festival.
As for the form, each stanza has 4 lines of 7 syllables each, rhyming aabb, and both of these rhymes are deibide rhymes i.e. in the first line of each rhyming pair, the rhyming syllable is stressed, and in the second it is unstressed.
The form also demands an aicill rhyme between lines 3 and 4 i.e. the word at the end of line 3 rhymes with a word somewhere in the middle of line 4 (as whit/bit, gas/alas above). 
Finally, there must be alliteration between the last word of each stanza and the preceding stressed word (as quaggy quicksand, welcome windfall above).

This amounts to a lot of constraints for the fourth line to satisfy in the space of only 7 syllables. I found this form a tough one, except when writing the last stanza. Perhaps I was getting into the swing of it by then.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.

Specifications restated:
Isosyllabic: 7/7/7/7

Rhymed: aabb
My example poem

Night Nymph     (Deibhidhe)
I was mesmerized, entranced
when she stood in the entrance.
Just one glance at her’d confer
instantly a pure pleasure
The nymph caused my heart to sing
and set my nerves to dancing
I viewed her in near undress
and dreamed she’d be my mistress.
But it was not meant to be,
this maiden oh so pretty.
for she was gone with the sun
a nighttime visit vision.
© Lawrencealot – April 10, 2014
art by Herbert James Draper [d. 1920]
Visual Template

Cro Cumaisc Etir Casbairdni Ocus Lethrannaigecht

Cro Cumaisc Etir Casbairdni Ocus Lethrannaigecht
This is an Irish verse form. The name means “Sorry, the translator can’t take your call at the moment”. No, I’m kidding. I have no idea what it means, and not much idea how to pronounce it, though I expect there will be a few “v” sounds in there somewhere. I chose to tackle it because it had the longest name of any in Skelton’s book.
The form calls for 4-line stanzas rhyming abab, with syllable counts of 7/5/7/5. Being Irish, the lengths of the rhyming words are also specified, in this case as 3, 1, 3, 1. Note though that the 3’s don’t necessarily indicate triple rhymes; the requirement is simply that the rhyming words are three syllables long. The stress could be on any of the three syllables.
This example was provoked (I hesitate to say inspired) by the “MP’s expenses” scandal/hysteria of 2009. It amounts to propaganda for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, a long-established and respected force in British politics. At the time of the 1983 general election, when party splits were fashionable, there was a rival group called the Green Chicken Alliance.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.
My Example Poem

Suave     (Cro Cumaisc Etir Casbairdni Ocus Lethrannaigecht)

The man was not a millionaire
but ladies sought him out
for he appeared most debonair
and kind without a doubt.

He was at all times affable
with handshake or a hug,
and the idea was laughable
to picture him as smug.

His notions all seemed prevalent
well thought out and germane,
considered and most relevant
and certainly urbane.

He has a style to emulate,
a model for my role.
I’ll have a cause to celebrate
If I achieve that goal.

© Lawrencealot – April 10, 2014

Visual Template
The a-rhymes must be triple rhyme

 

Ch’I Yen Shih

Ch’i-Yen-Shih metre

This is, believe it or not, a Chinese verse form. Whether it’s worth doing in English is debatable. Stanzas have four lines of seven syllables each, with lines 2 and 4 rhyming. Each line has a caesura, or break, after the fourth syllable; I have laid the example out to emphasise this. That’s all there is to it, really, except that, to make it sound a little more Chinese, only words of one syllable should be used. 
Fenland
Long straight black road
far from home.
The moon hangs snagged
in the trees.
Foot down, I speed
through the night.
Rain falls in sheets,
starts to freeze.
The cats eyes pulse
like Morse code.
Far sparks speed close,
blaze then fade.
For hours on end
there’s no change:
Road, light, rain, wind,
screen and blade.
I’m tired and cold,
on my own.
How much of this
can I take?
I grit my teeth,
try to guess
How long I’ll last
till I brake.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site
Ancient Verse is probably the same verse form as Ch’I Yen Shih from the Lu Shi code verse. Ancient Verse is found desribed in John Drury’s poe-try-dic-tion-ar-y and is similar to Ch’I Yen Shi, with slight variation. As described by Drury, caesura was not specified and more latitude was given in the character count. This is probably an example of how form evolves or is corrupted by translation. For now I will treat this verse form as separate.
(Drury uses “syllable count”) Technically in Chinese prosody, character count and syllable count are one in the same since Chinese characters are one word and Chinese words are usually one syllable. However in English translation, a character could represent a 2 or 3 syllable English word. I use “character” in most of my metric descriptions of Chinese verse and often count words rather than syllables when attempting to write poems using Chinese verse forms in English. However, since Drury’s book describes the meter for this form as syllabic, I follow his lead.
Ancient Verse is:
  • stanzaic, written in quatrains.
  • syllabic, 5 to 7 syllable lines. isosyllabic (7/7/7/7) or (5/5/5/5)
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme either xaxa xaxa etc or xaxa xbxb etc. ( xaxaxaxa etc or xaxaxbxb)
  • no fixed tone pattern.
  • always composed with parallels and balance.
    pyramid by Judi Van Gorder

  • fresh dug dirt makes space and waits
  • rich earth forms a pyramid
    to welcome polished pine box
    with white roses on the lid
Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for her wonderful PMO resource site.
My example poem
Surveillance       (Ch’I Yen Shih)

My house has eyes in the dark
Big dogs see but first they smell.
I don’t switch them – off or on
still they serve as my door bell.

© Lawrencealot – April 9, 2014

Visual Template