Dickson Nocturne

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. … Whether classroom exercise or sharpening your skill as a writer, some of these forms can be fun to play with.

• The Dickson Nocturne seems to be an exercise in meter. It was created by Margaret Ball Dickson who at one time was head of Creative Writing at Valparaiso University, Indiana. 

The Dickson Nocturne is:
○ strophic, a 12 line poem made up of a tercet, a quatrain and a cinquain.
○ L1,L2, L4, L5, L6, L8, L9, L11 are dactylic trimeter, some catalectic (dropping a syllable at the end) and L3,L7,L10,L12 are iambic dimeter. L3, L7 and L12 are a repeated refrain.

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

For You are There   (Dickson Nocturne)

Sometimes the nights are inviting
bringing forth lust that’s exciting
for you are there.

Sometimes the days seem made for living,
Other times cold and unforgiving
Struggles seem so inconsequential
for you are there.

Often as my day unravels
Thinking of you in my travels
I know you care
Sometimes I feel our home’s heaven
for you are there.

© Lawrencealot – September 8, 2014

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Note: Rhyme NOT mandated.
Dickson Nocturne


  • Miniature is a verse form that is a kind of contradiction of syllabic and metric form. All but 2 lines, begin and end on stressed syllables which would imply catalectic trochaic meter. It also has an unusual feature of requiring the 5th syllable of the 1st line be rhymed with the 1st syllable of the 2nd line, it was created by Margaret Ball Dickson.The Miniature is:
    • a decastich, a poem in 10 lines.
    • syllabic, 7/5/7/5/7/6/7/7/6/7/7 syllables per line. All but L6 & L8 begin and end on a stressed syllable. L6 & L8 have feminine endings.
    • rhyme xaxaxbxbcc, x being unrhymed.
    • composed with the 5th syllable of L1, rhymed with the 1st syllable of L2
My Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the wonderful resource at PMO
My example poem
Mission Statement    (Miniature)
Mission Statement
Moons unlike the moon of earth
soon will be our fare.
Ships exceeding speed of light
Will propel us there.
Men from earth will colonize
planets fit for living
We’ll find other beings there
giving gifts worth giving.
Know that as our skills increase
So do hopes we’ll spread but peace.
© Lawrencealot – April 3, 2014
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