Bay Chu

The following description is reposted with permission from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on that fine resource.

Tho Bay Chu or Seven Word Poetry [Vietnamese] is written with seemingly more flexible tonal pattern than most Viet verse with the exception of when an end word is flat, the 3rd word must be sharp and when the end word is sharp, the 3rd word in the line must be flat. The elements of the Tho Bay Chu are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  2. measured by number of words, 7 words per line.
  3. rhymed, tonal rhyme appears to be at the discretion of the poet except if and end word is flat, the 3rd word of the line must be sharp or if the end word is sharp, the 3rd word of the line must be flat. End rhyme aaxa bbxb etc. or xaxa xbxb etc.

Note: I cannot begin to write one of these, because the concepts of a tonal flat or sharp is not within my grasp, even though I can find audio samples on Wikipedia.

Tho Sau Chu

The following description and example are reposted with permission from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on that fine resource.

Tho Sau Chu or Six-Word Verse [Vietnamese] is measured by word count and uses either alternate of envelope rhyme. It can be written in quatrains or octaves. When written in octaves it is called Six-Eight Poetry  The elements of the Tho Sau Chu are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. It can also be written in any number of octaves.
  2. measured by word count, 6 words per line.
  3. rhymed, either alternate, abab cdcd etc. (when written as Six-Eight abababab cdcdcdcd etc.) or envelope, abba cddc etc. (when written in octaves abbaabba cddccddc etc.)

My Example

Form: Tho Sau Chu

Old New Form Takes a Bow

This poetry form comes from Vietnam
which doesn’t rhyme with Uncle Sam
but with either mom or bomb.
Am I certain? Yes I am!

If my lines led you astray,
it’s because I’m a contrary guy.
I feel my misdirection is okay
when a second reading explains why.

I’m writing this Tho Sau Chu
(though English cannot do it proud.)
This form hereby makes its debut
with only one hundred words allowed.

I think none will be uptight
with a new form that’s presented
to shine and share the spotlight;
with ninety-six words I feel contented.

© Lawrencealot – January 31, 2015

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Star Sevlin

Star Sevlin is an invented shape poem that is supposed to form a star when centered on the page. It is found in Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg 1977 and was created by Lilliann Mathilda Svenson. The only example I found on the Internet today (1/30/2015) was a contest winner in 1951.

The Star Sevlin is:

  • a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines.
  • iambic syllabic, iambic 4/6/8/6/8/6/4 syllables per line.
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme abbcaca.
  • centered on the page.

My Example

Form: Star Sevlin

First One in 50 Years

I don’t know why
this form is called a star
and not Svenson’s. That’s how things are.
There isn’t much to find
Good samples are in short supply
Thus my blog was designed
lest old forms die.

© Lawrencealot – January 30, 2015

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The following description and examples are reposted with permission from Shadow Poetry, with thanks to Emily Romano and Jan Turner.

The Pictorial, created by Emily Romano is a type of shape poem, where the entire poem must be printed in slanting lines indicative of the thought in those lines. The poem should consist of three lines with five words or less per line. There should be rhyme somewhere in the poem, either end rhyme or internal rhyme.

Example #1:
See                       and                         rippling
      how                      how                               like
             the                        the                                waves
                  roof                       sunlight                             along
                         slopes                          follows                          hollows

Copyright © 2007 Emily Romano

Example #2:
                    shows                       rows:                     glows!
           moon                     beyond                 pumpkin
Rising                      rows                      each

Copyright © 2007 Emily Romano

Example #3:
Migration (Double Pictorial)

The                            my                            for                      that
    skies                         soul                           it                         all
         are                         seeks                         is                        cares
            where                      peace                      there                      cease.

            sees                        flight                        geese                     right.
         one                        shaped                       of                        seems
    when                         v-                            flocks                   world
For                             the                           of                       the	

Copyright © 2007 Jan Turner

My Example

Form: Double Pictorial
Note: I saw from the above example the the poet has some leeway on the number of lines.

Puppy Rescue

                    but found the task too hard.       The pup fell from above
               then carried him far up                               and landed in my yard.
        from the pup’s own yard                                           So give your puppy love

Lawrencealot – January 30, 2015

Raay or Rai

Thai poetry.

The Raay or Rai is a forerunner of the Kloang and has the same unique tonal pattern. It is a chained verse, written with the end syllable of L1 rhymed with the beginning syllable of L2. It was often used to record laws and chronicle events in verse.

The Raay is
○ stanzaic, written in a series of couplets.
○ syllabic, 5 syllables per line.
○ chain rhymed, the last syllable of L1 rhymes with the first syllable of L2.

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Ponderables  (Raay)

Although I’ve known strife,
life has been a wide-
eyed ride where each thought
brought more great questions.

© Lawrencealot – January 29, 2015

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Thai poetry.

• The Lilit is an alternating Raay and Kloang verse. Usually the Raay is used to describe the action and the Kloang is the dialogue.

The Lilit is:
○ stanzaic, alternating Raay couplets with Kloang quatrains.
○ syllabic, the couplets are 5 syllable lines and the quatrains are L1-L3 7 syllable lines and L4 is a 9 syllable line.
○ couplets composed with a chain, linking the lines of the couplet and linking the stanzas.
○ rhymed, composed with cross, interlaced and end rhyme .

x x x x a
a x x x b

b x x x c x d
x x x x d x c
x x x x d x e
x x x x c x x x e

e x x x f
f x x x g

g x x x h x i
x x x x i x h
x x x x i x j
x x x x h x x x j

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.
Chain: A series of verses or stanzas in which the last word of the verse or stanza is repeated as the first word of the next verse or stanza.
Cross rhyme: When the end word rhymes with a word in the middle of the next line
Interlaced rhyme A word in the middle of one line rhymes with a word in the middle of another.

My example

Nuance (Lilit)

Stop and take a look.
Look at what I’ve found.

“Found something, new you say?”
While it’s okay to view
the form that way, it’s old
in fact, which you can now behold.

Behold it’s Thailand.
Thailand’s ancient verse.

Verse once inscribed on walls
and in great halls described
is something called new now
what was transcribed– ignored somehow.

© Lawrencealot – January 29, 2015

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Chinese Poetry – Reference

Chinese poetry is among the oldest of recorded literature and while most other cultures’ earliest verse is in epics or hymns to gods, the Chinese began with lyrical poetry. The ancient Chinese “song book”, The Classic of Poetry dates back to 1000 BC and is a collection of 305 songs from the culture of the Chou people. Its verse touches on love, war, royalty, hunting, mourning and betrayal among many other subjects. Through the 5th century BC this book of songs served as the educational text for the Chou upper class. Confucius (551-479 BC) referred to the book in his advice to his disciples, “By the Poems you can stir people and you can observe things through them, you can express your resentment in them and you can show sociable feeling.” It was from the beginning felt that “values of natural balance can appear in the humblest of forms.” *

From the Book of Songs:

She cast a quince to me,
a costly garnet I returned;
it was no equal return,
but by this love will last.

Unlike the familiar free verse of the Li Po translations by Ezra Pound, much of Chinese poetry tends to be rhymed and metered with specific characteristics. The meter appears to be governed by character count which includes words, syllables, tone and pitch.
The phonetic tones and pitch criteria of Chinese poetry are in long tones, maintenance of a single pitch, or deflected tones which are relatively short with the pitch moving up or down. The deflected tone is said to be either, rising, falling or entering. The tonal and pitch features of Chinese poetry is impossible to achieve in English.
In addition, the basic rhythmic unit of a Chinese poem is the single character (zi), which is pronounced as one syllable. The Chinese language consists primarily of zi, mono syllabic words, limiting the English imitator to only a portion of the English vocabulary if one was to count syllables. Most English descriptions of Chinese poetic patterns use the words “syllable count”, but I prefer the term “character count” which loosens the spectrum of syllable count to possible word count, making English use of the forms more compatible. “Character” translated as “word” allows the use of multisyllabic English words.
Qi, Cheng, Zhuan, Jie -Chinese is a standard in the development of Chinese verse since the 3rd century AD. Although it is not confined to the Old Poetry alone but some variation can be found in Lu Shi and Jue Ju as well. It is the basic structural composition of the Chinese quatrain.

L1 Qi (beginning) sets scene
L2 Cheng (development) expands image and mood
L3 Zhuan (returning) contrasts with start
L4 Jie (finishing) ponders meaning.

Here is a popular Japanese folk lyric which best demonstrates the use of qi-cheng-zhuan-jie which the Japanese refer to as Shichigon-zekku,

Two daughters of a silk merchant live in Kyoto.
The elder is twenty, the younger, eighteen.
A soldier may kill with his sword.
But these girls slay men with their eyes.

Note: Ancient Japanese poetry was first written in classical Chinese. Therefore it is only logical that early Japanese poetry mimicked the elements found in Chinese poetry. The Japanese call poetry written by Japanese poets in Chinese,kanshi 漢詩. The most common form of kanshi is written using Qi, Cheng, Zhuan,Jie or in Japanese, Shichigon-zekku. Kanshi is the most popular form of Japanese chanted (shigin) poetry.
Chinese Poetry falls into three categories:

  • Gushi or Old Poetry, sometimes called the “People’s Poetry”. Gushi has structural patterns which appeared before the Tang Dynasty. The poetry includes parallelism only when deliberately chosen by the poet, flexible rhyme and a sort of free verse attitude toward tonal order within the line.
    Gushi forms include:

    • Shi Jing
    • Chu Ci
    • Wu Yan
    • Ci
    • Fu 賦
  • Lu Shi 詩: (code verse – shi meaning poetry) is a genre of Chinese poetry that carries two or more parallels of content and phonetic tone. It values match and balance and tends to be responsive not imaginative. There are hundreds of code verses but I could only find clear descriptions of a few which I share. Here are a few common to the Tang dynasty 618-907 AD that favor the quatrain. There are also a couple of forms I found in the po-e-try dic-tion-ar-y by John Drury, identified in English words whose criteria did not quite match up with the forms already described under Lu Shi code verse but is very close. It is very possible they are simply different interpretations of the same stanzaic forms identified in Chinese terms and I include them here.
    • Ch’I Yen Shih
    • Ssu Yen Shih
    • Wu Yen Shih
    • Chueh Chu
    • Ancient Verse
    • Four Syllable Verse
    • Three-Five-Seven
  • Jue Ju is the third genre of Chinese poetry which is more concerned with setting a mood than telling a story. It is done in high tone with intensity like a soloist inserted in a symphonic piece.
    • Jue Ju
  • There are a couple of forms that don’t really fall under any of the above three categories:
    • Xiaoshi
    • Traditional Mongolian Meter
    • Sanqu

Norton Anthology of World Literature Volume A page 813
Tribute by dedalus to the great Chinese poet Li Po.
With great appreciation for Judi’s many years of work on the PMO site.

Classical Hexameter & Classical Pentameter lines- Reference

Greek Verse, the beginnings.

Elegiac Couplet used by Homer is made up of Classical Hexameter line followed by a Classical Pentameter line. Although the Greeks sometimes used the couplet in epic poetry, the Romans commonly used the couplet in love poetry. It was said that Cupid stole a metric foot from the 2nd line and the couplet became known as the “meter of love”.

The Elegiac Couplet is a complete couplet, a contained thought within the two lines. The couplet can stand alone or can be written in a series of verse.

The two immortals stepped briskly as wild doves,

quivering, keen to defend the fighting men of Argos.

from Homer’s Iliad 189.896-‘7, 8th century BC

translation by Robert Fagels Princeton University 1997

with spondees LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL


with dactyls



Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love,

placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge.

— Judi Van Gorder

  • Classical Hexameter line, sometimes known as the Classical Heroic line, is the first line of the Elegiac couplet. A 13 or 17 syllable line depending on whether it is written leading with spondees or dactyls. The measure is quantitative verse in 6 metric feet. The line can be written with either 4 spondees or dactyls, followed by a dactyl and a spondee in that order.
    with spondees . . . LL-LL-LL-LL-Lss-LL
    with dactyls . . . . Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-Lss-LL
    Traveling through the mucked maze without knowledge of where to find true love,
  • Classical Pentameter line is the second line of the Elegiac couplet. A 14 syllable line in quantitative verse, 5 metric feet made up of 2 dactyls, followed by a spondee, and 2 anapests in that order.
    placing our trust without checks, balances, life on the edge.

Pasted from

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.


  • The Kloang is stanzaic verse usually of proverbs originating in Thailand. One source suggests the Kloang attempts to capture the rhythm of oar strokes on the water. A Thai landmark Phra Mondob (Scripture Hall) built in the 19th century is decorated with Thai Verse proverbs called Kloang Lokaniti engraved on the outer-walls . The form is considered poetry of the intellectual because of its complicated tonal and rhyme patterns. Along with the Raay, it is one of the oldest forms of Thai poetry. It was developed when the Thai language had only 3 tones, high, low and neutral, the language now has 5 tones. The tonal pattern of the Kloang creates a unique rhythm which is its defining feature and impossible to emulate in English.
    Thailand’s honored poet 
    Sunthorn Phy’s (1786-1855) most exciting adventure poem “Nirat Suphan” was written in the Kloang form.
    The Kloang is:

    • syllabic. L1, L2, L3 are 7 syllables each, L4 is 9 syllables.
    • stanzaic, written with any number of quatrains.
    • composed with an interweaving or cross rhyme scheme. The end word of L1 rhymes with the 5th syllables of L2 and L3. The end word of L2 rhymes with the 5th syllable of L4. L3 and L4 end rhyme.
    • is most often a poem of nature.
    • tonal which is impossible in the English language.
      x x x x a x b
      x x x x b x a
      x x x x b x c
      x x x x a x x x c
      Arctic Love —Judi Van Gorder
      Gnarly feet trudge on the ice,
      eighty miles entice a pawn
      of nature, the price to mate,
      four year cycle drawn up to create

Pasted from

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

East Coast Storm (Kloang)

 In the east there’s snow and ice,
for some that’s not nice you know.
Driving now takes twice the time
and air traffic flow’s far from sublime.

 © Lawrencealot – January 27, 2015


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Thai Poetry

• The Kloon or Klon (meaning simple verse) is sometimes known as the “true Thai poetic form”. It is the basic and most common Thai verse written with simple subjects and simple words.

The Kloon is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains
○ syllabic, 4 to 8 syllables per line.
○ composed with each line made up of 2 to 3 phrases.
○ rhymed with an intricate rhyme pattern. The internal rhyme can be optional or reduced. The tone is looser than most Thai forms but it the end syllable of each line is usually rising which is in sync with most Western verse of iambic meter.

x x a x a x a b
x x b x b x x c
x x x x x x x c
x x c x c x x d

x x d x d x a e
x x e x e x x f
x x x x x x x f
x x f x f x x g

Pasted from

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example
Three Types of Rhyme (Kloon)
If I’m to rhyme inside and out
I’ll scout about before I start
for rhymes to fit into my art.
Apart from smartness, I’ll need wit.
Omit unfit words which outrage
as staged on page for rhyme alone.
When you are done you can’t disown
what’s shown by tone and rhythm here.
© Lawrencealot – January 27, 2015
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Since, one can exercise options with the internal rhyme,
in this poem, I moved the rhyming columns to fit iambic
Meter. One could just as well use the above designated
Columns, and use trochaic.
Cross rhyme: When the end word rhymes with a word in the middle of the next line.
Internal rhyme: Rhyming within a line.
Interlaced rhyme A word in the middle of one line rhymes with a word in the middle of another.