Swinburne Quatrain

This form is based upon Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “Faustine”

It is:
Stanzaic, four or more quatrains
Metric: Alternating iambic tetrameter and iambic bimeter
Rhymed abab cbcb dbdb, etc.
Word Refrain: L4 final two-syllable word.

My Example
The wranglers and the sheep men came
      to town to rest
and raise some hell and find a dame
      like sweet Celeste.
They’d play some cards and take a bath
      then do their best
to be the first to trod a path
      unto Celeste.
Most every man thought other girls
      were second best
to looks and legs and raven curls
      of dark Celeste.
And sometimes even married men
      it’s been confessed,
would come to quench a thirsty yen
      for warm Celeste.
Since she could pick and choose each night
no one transgressed
for she’d not tolerate a fight,
petite Celeste.
When men showed class and manners they
      could be the guest
and leave the bar at end of day
        with dear Celeste.
But many others she’d excite
      as night progressed
by sitting on their laps – the light
      and lithe Celeste.
The pastors son, forbidden (though
      he was obsessed)
was never able, that we know,
      to touch Celeste.
He’d watch her walking to the bar-
      his love repressed,
and watch with wonder from afar
      the rare Celeste.
When outlaws came to town and chose
      then to molest
the gals – the preacher’s son arose
      to help Celeste 
The bandits left the preacher’s son
      quite unaddressed
and with a rifle he killed one
      who touched Celeste.
That turned the tide and folks refused
      to be oppressed.
The terror quickly was defused
      for sweet Celeste.
She went to church the Sunday next
      and finely dressed,
and left the townfolk all perplexed,
      did calm Celeste.
She sat next to the boy that day;
      their love progressed.
In autumn the boy moved away
      with his Celeste.
© Lawrencelot – May 9, 2014 


Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977) is a book for and by educators. Classic poetic forms as well as many invented forms which appear to have been invented as teaching tools or exercizes for use in workshops or classrooms are included. Some of these invented forms I have found in use in internet poetry communities, a testament to their staying power. On this page I include the metric invented forms found there in which appear to be exclusive to the community of educators from whom Ms. Berg drew her support. I have yet to find these in any other source. I have included the syllabic invented forms on a separate page. Whether classroom exercise or sharpening your skill as a writer, some of these forms can be fun to play with.

• Cycle appears to be an exercise in meter and rhyme. This invented verse form was created by Paul Emile Miller.

The Cycle is:
○ stanzaic, written in 3 quatrains.
○ metric, L1 and L3 tetrameter made up of a trochee followed by a dactyl and 2 iambs; L1 and L3 often use feminine end words. L2 and L4 are iambic trimeter. “Pathways” description and example are in conflict, the description of meter here fits with the example poem.
○ rhymed, abab cbcb dbdb.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1199#dionol
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Naturally Selected (Cycle)

Defunct vestigials are proof I reckon,
(denying dogma’s claims)
demonstrating clearly changes beckon,
in life’s ambiguous game.

Natures monologue denies we’re molded,
pre-cast, annealed in flame.
Mankind draws then repeats, hand un-folded –
survival’s life’s whole aim.

Limitations, norms, exceptions, changes
responding – not the same.
Bio plasma slowly rearranges,
without thought, overcame.

© Lawrencealot – September 4, 2014

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