Rustavelian Quatrain or Shairi

Shairi, or Rustavelian Quatrain
Shota Rustaveli wroteThe Knight in the Panther’s Skin, Georgia’s national epic, towards the end of the twelfth century. It tells of a young prince helping to find a friend’s beloved, who has been captured by devils. Rustaveli used a particularly difficult form for it, known by the Georgian word shairi
The recommended rules for English-language shairi are: 4-line stanzas, with all four lines rhyming with one another. The lines are unusually long, having 15 or 16 syllables, and all the rhymes are of either two or three syllables.  
Note for purists
In Georgia, each line of a shairi has exactly 16 syllables, and they recognise two varieties of the form. In a magali (high) shairi stanza the syllables divide 4/4//4/4 (in each of the four lines), whereas in a dabali (low) shairi they divide 5/3//5/3. InThe Knight in the Panther’s Skin (or Vepkhis Tqaosani, if you prefer), Rustaveli alternated magali and dabali stanzas for the entire length of the poem – no fewer than 1576 stanzas. 
© Bob Newman 2004, 2005. All rights reserved.

My thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful resource above.

Restated specifications:
Stanzaic, quatrains, mono rhyme, multi-syllabic rhyme

 Example Poem
 Redirected Feelings     (Rustavelian Quatrain)
She faced each day with deep desires- that seemed to her distressing.
Her husband’s morally correct, and counts his wife a blessing 
and’s careful to avoid an act that might call for confessing, 
and sadly that means he won’t watch his pretty wife undressing. 
His attitude left her in doubt that her looks were appealing. 
So secretly she bought some clothes- the kind that are revealing, 
then once each week would flash to men the charms she’d been concealing. 
To watch men stare at cleavage bare, aroused in her warm feelings. 
She soon could not deny the rush- the moist and warm sensation- 
so weekly outings multiplied; then there was escalation. 
Her exhibition soon became a road to fun flirtation,
a road she knew was but a path, a path to her damnation. 
She told herself, “This path is wrong! I’ll stop, what I’m inviting. 
I’ll find a hobby stay at home although that’s less exciting.” 
She switched her gears, and it appears, more people she’s delighting, 
She’s famous now, and satisfied with her erotic writing.
©Lawrencealot – February 28, 2014

Visual Template (15 syllable option)


Double Seven

This interesting form was created by Lisa La Grange of Allpoetry.
It is stanzaic, consisting of any number of quatrains.
Each quatrain will have its own abab rhyme pattern,
Where the a-rhymes will always be feminine.
It is isosyllabic, each line being seven syllables.
It is metric, each line having two metric feet, the first foot being four syllables, and the second foot being three syllables.
The a-rhyme lines consist of a secundus paeon + an amphibrach: da DUM da da / da DUM da
The b-rhyme lines consist of a tertius paeon + an anapest
 da da DUM da / da da DUM
So the meter of a stanza is thus:
da DUM da da da DUM da
da da DUM da, da da DUM
da DUM da da da DUM da
da da DUM da da da DUM.
Example Poem
Just-Married(Double Seven)
I wonder if the bridegroom
has accepted yet the fact
that access to the bathroom
will be science, inexact.
I she wants to go shopping
and he’s planned a poker game,
I think that he’ll be copping
friends a plea they’ll know is lame.
But he may find his laundry
looks much better than before
and find there is no quandary
for it’s him she does adore.
© Lawrencealot – February 24, 2014
Visual Template
Where the red letters indicate lines with feminine rhyme.


 This is a form created by Lisa La Grange
It is stanzaic, consisting of two or more quatrains
It is syllabic, 8/5/8/5
It is metric, all lines beginning with a trochee and an anpest,
And followed on the long lines with an amphibrach, giving this pattern:
DUM da da da DUM da DUM da
DUM da da da DUM
DUM da da da DUM da DUM da
DUM da da da DUM
The rhyme scheme is abab, where the a-rhymes are feminine.

The Trochetta, created by Lisa La Grange of Allpoetry.

(This had also been posted here by me, with the name: Trochee LaGrange.)

Stanzaic,              three or more quatrains

Syllabic,               8/5/8/5

Rhyme pattern:  abab(a-rhymes are feminine)

Meter:                  trochaic


My Example poem


Puppy Dreams     (Trochetta)


Dogs do dream I have a notion-

dreams of pleasant things.

Mine can’t dream about the ocean

nor the pomp of kings.

Ocean’s spray he’s not discovered,

royalty’s abstract!

Grizzy burrows under covers

firm against my back.

Twitches might mean he is running

after his green ball;

Maybe he’s supine and sunning

waiting for my call.

© Lawrencealot – February 22, 2014

Visual Template

Oddquain Butterfly

Oddquain is a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of seventeen syllables distributed 1/3/5/7/1 in 5 lines, developed by Glenda L. Hand.
Oddquain variations:
oddquain sequences – poems made up of oddquain stanzas
crown oddquains – a five stanza oddquain sequence
reverse oddquains – a oddquain with a reverse syllable pattern of 1/7/5/3/1
mirror oddquains – a two stanza oddquain sequence of the pattern 1/3/5/7/1 1/7/5/3/1
oddquain butterflies – a “merged mirror oddquain” where the two stanzas of a mirror oddquain are merged together, one of the middle 1 syllable lines is dropped, resulting in one nine line stanza of the form 1/3/5/7/1/7/5/3/1.
Please note that a oddquain butterfly is not a “oddquain” because it doesn’t have five lines, but it is “butterfly” made up of two oddquains that were merged together into one poem.
Thanks to Shadow Poetry for the above.
I have selected only the Mirror Oddquain here, to represent the oddquain series, simply to introduce a cousin into the Cinquain family tree.


My example poem.
This is Odd
odd because
the numbers are not
even, though that’s not even
Even even numbers can
at times strike me odd
I swear to
© Lawrencealot – February 21, 2014

Butterfly Cinquain

The Butterfly Cinquain isn’t a cinquain at all:it is a nonostich (9 lines)and uses the syllable count of the Crapsey Cinquain and then reverses it, therefore the misnomer.
The Butterfly Cinquain is:
○ 9 line poem.
○ syllabic, 2/4/6/8/2/8/6/4/2 syllables per line. 
Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the above.
My Sample poem
Plastic Trees     (Butterfly Cinquain)
Don’t like
fake plastic trees.
When one sets out to trick
the senses of someone they like
they ought
to learn to fake sincerity,
with honesty the best
the plastic should
be real.
© Lawrencealot –  November 16, 2014


Mirror Cinquain

  • The Mirror Cinquain is:
    • decastich (a poem of 10 lines)
    • syllabic, 2/4/6/8/2/2/8/6/4/2 syllables per line.
    • unrhymed.
    • titled.
This is a mixture of the standard Cinquain and a Reverse Cinquain. Basically a standard followed by a reversed.
So, using the usual syllable counting convention, a mirror cinquain = 2,4,6,8,2 blank line 2,8,6,4,2 syllables. This pattern repeats for longer mirror sequences.
Example Poem
Soulful Husbandry    (Mirror Cinquain)
Two wolves
lives in each of
us to make us what we
are, though we train them how to serve
our goals.
They both
compete to make us what we are.
So train them well and choose
the wolf that you
will feed.
© Lawrencealot – February 20, 2014

Cinquain Chain

  • Cinquain Chain or Corona of Cinquains is stanzaic invented verse made up of a series of Crapsey Cinquains linked in a chain or corona by the last line of each cinquain repeated as the first line of the next cinquain.
My Example poem
You Can Call Me, Darling    (Cinquain Chain)
Once we’ve
come to know each
other and shared a meal
or drink, a wink, or even more
a kiss,
a kiss
even on the cheek,
or put each other down
in fun with social repartee
well then …
well then
you might call me
darling and I’d not flinch.
It’s a sweet affectation, beats
Hey you!
Hey you
works, and implies
perhaps you know me not
yet by name and darling implies
much more.
Much more-
yet everyone
is your darling, even those I know
are rude and lacking very much
to like.
To like
me and call me
darling has it’s merits.
Do you want to call me darling?
Call me.
© Lawrencealot – February 20 2014

Cinquain Swirl

  • Cinquain Swirl is an invented verse form based on 2 or more Crapsey Cinquains syllable count written without breaks using L5 of each cinquain as L1 of the next cinquain. When centered on the page the lines form a swirling effect.
    • Syllable count is 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 etc. It can be written in any number of lines that complete the 2-4-6-8-2 cycle.
    • At Poet’s Garrett L1 of the first cinquain is repeated as the 2 syllable line similar to a refrain throughout the poem. 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 It can be written in any number of lines that complete the 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 cycle.
In Cinquain Swirl and Cinquain Chain Poems are American style poems with French names.
In a Cinquain Swirl, Cinquain poems with a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable beat are melted together to form a longer poem, and the 2 syllable beat is repeated as the refrain, 2R-4-6-8-2R-4-6-8-2R-4-6-8-2R.
In a Cinquain Chain, Cinquain poems are linked together to form a longer poem, and the 2 syllable beat is repeated as the refrain in all the 2 beats lines, 2R-4-6-8-2R-2R-4-6-8-2R-2R-4-6-8-2R, or as the first and last line of the poem with the 2 beat lines between Cinquain repeated, 2R1-4-6-8-2R2-2R2-4-6-8-2R3-2R3-4-6-8-2R1.
Both, Cinquain Swirls and Cinquain Chains may or may not have rhyme. They must be at least 2 Cinquain long, but they have no limit to the number of Cinquain used. The examples below are of 3 Cinquain in length.
Examples: by Frank G. Poe, Jr.
My Blog Swirl                                                My Blog Chain
Follow,                                                            Follow,
You’re hypnotized.                                         You’re hypnotized.
You will follow my blog.                               You will follow my blog.
Click on follow; you will follow.                  Click on follow; you will follow.
Follow,                                                            You must,
You must tell friends.                                    You must,
You cannot imagine                                       You must tell friends.
Life without following my blog.                    You cannot imagine
Follow                                                             Life without following my blog.
You need my blog.                                         You need,
Soon, you will awaken.                                  You need,
You will not remember this poem.                You need my blog.
Follow…                                                         Soon, you will awaken.
.                                                                       You will not remember this poem.
.                                                                       Follow…
Well …After much exploration to try to iron out the differences above, I found many cinquain swirls written without any refrain at all.  So my specifications shall state that the Cinquain Swirl is an aggregation of Crapsey Cinquains strung together omitting the two syllable Line 5, except for the poems ending line.
Save the refrain for the Cinquain Chain.   (If you like.)
2, 4, 6, 8, 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, 4, 6, 8, 2
My Example
Choose Happy
not a single
reason joy needs to wait,
I’ll use this and every season
 up high my plate.
Stack it up with cheer then
Grinning; spread it- spread it all around.
 lies our path to
winning,  giving gloom no
ground. Steer your bark with fear
behind you putting hope now in
(c) Lawrencealot – February 20, 2014


  • Cinquino is seems to me is a gimmicky invented verse form that reverses the syllable count of the Crapsey Cinquain. It was found in a book on poetry for teachers and was created by a 20th century American educator James Neille Northe.The Cinquino is:
    • a poem in 5 lines.
    • syllabic, 2/8/6/4/2 syllables per line.
    • unrhymed
      I Am alone
      time flies on flitting fairy wings
      up down and all around
      I am here now
      ~~ jvg

My example

So, Multiprocess      (Cinquino)
time flies
unless you’re waiting for the pot
to boil, you all know that
it’s relative
in fact
© Lawrencealot – 2/19/2014

EPJohnson Quintet

This is a form I simply documented, attributing it to Emily Pauline Johnson, because in the four hundred twenty plus forms I have documented, I’ve never come across a quintet with this rhyme pattern.  I used the first stanza of her poem “The Lost Lagoon” as the template for the metric schema.
The form is stanzaic, consisting of two or more quintets.
It is of Canadian origin.
The rhyme scheme is abbba accca…etc.
 (Indicating that the ending words of L1 and L5 are repeated in each stanza.)
It is syllabic: 8/9/9/9/8
The short lines are anapest, anapest, iamb
da da DUM da da DUM da DUM
With the  middle three lines being iamb,iamb,anapest,iamb
da DUM da DUM da da DUM da DUM
My example poem:
When a brother is left behind
it’s seldom thought that his time was due.
No battle raged, and the sky was blue,
the day that Tim told us he was through.
“I’ve no more strength that I can find.”
We would not leave our friend behind.
he talked about his sweet wife, his mom,
his father’s farm, his young brother Tom
his faith in God, which so helped becalm
him all things good that he could find.
When we found those we’d left behind
to greet with loving so very warm
and praises we had escaped from harm–
we traveled next to Tim’s father’s farm
for in our hearts still Tim we find.
© Lawrencealot – February 19, 2014
Visual Template