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 Quintanelle challenges the poet to write a complete sentence and break it into 5 metric lines with rhyme. This stanzaic form was introduced by Lyra Lu Vaile.

The Quintanelle is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of quintains.
○ metered, L1, L2, L5 pentameter, L3 dimeter and L4 trimeter. Each quintain should be one complete iambic sentence.
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme aabbb, ccddd etc.

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

Winter Forage (Quintanelle)

I’ve left the apples where they’ve fallen, still; 
it’s natures harvest for the birds that will
not let them waste,
although there is no haste
for they’ll remain when fresh food is displaced.

© Lawrencealot – September 20, 2012

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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.

• Decathlon (Greek – contest of 10 Anne Pendleton. An exercise in meter and rhyme.

The Decathlon is:
○ a decastich, a poem in 10 lines.
○ metered, L1, L2, L4, L6,L7 are tetrameter, L3, L5,L8 are dimeter, L9-L10 are pentameter (a heroic couplet.
○ rhymed, axbxaccbdd. X being unrhymed.

Read White and Blue by Judi Van Gorder

The fervid and triumphant due,
creating frame by predesign.
Artistic try
to write ten lines into a tome
that’s something new
with book of words that match and rhyme
to help me waste way too much time.
Don’t think me shy,
I finish with iambic rhyming two,
heroic couplet read on white in blue.

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

An Exercise (Decathlon)

How klutzy can you make a form
just might have been the question here,
I thought at first.
To random lines and staggered rhyme
I must conform.
This form will truly be a test.
I’m sure that it won’t be my best,
and not my worst.
I see! It’s meant to be an exercise
for poets, thus therein it’s value lies.

© Lawrencealot – September 5, 2014

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The Russell

• The Russell is a verse form composed of three alternating rhyme quatrains written with the first 3 lines iambic pentameter and the fourth line iambic trimeter. It is patterned after The Great Breath by George William Russell (1867-1935),

The Russell is:

  • stanzaic written in any number of octaves. (original poem has 6 octaves)
  • metered, L1, L4,L6 and L8 are dimeter, L2,L3,L5, and L7 are pentameter.
  • rhymed, aabbccdd.

The Great Breath by George William Russell
ITS edges foam’d with amethyst and rose,
Withers once more the old blue flower of day:
There where the ether like a diamond glows,
Its petals fade away.
A shadowy tumult stirs the dusky air;
Sparkle the delicate dews, the distant snows;
The great deep thrills–for through it everywhere
The breath of Beauty blows.
I saw how all the trembling ages past,
Moulded to her by deep and deeper breath,
Near’d to the hour when Beauty breathes her last
And knows herself in death.
Pasted from <http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=668>
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the years of effort on the wonderful PoetryMagnumOpus resource.
My example Poem
Somewhere a Prince

Picture credit: Robert Dowling

Somewhere a Prince (The Russell)

There’s room to land a flying dragon here
and I’m above the clouds so don’t get wet.
It’s falling off the edges that I fear,
I’m higher than Tibet.

My prince desired to keep me safe and chaste.
Deliveries are made each week or two.
I hope the campaign’s through and done post-haste.
There’s no one here to do.

If he don’t win, I hope the dragon knows
to bring along the prince who does prevail.
the winner will be handsome I suppose
to make a happy tale.

© Lawrencealot – July 13, 2014

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The Russell

The Donne

The Donne is named for the English Poet, John Donne (1573-1631) patterned after his A Hymn to God the Father. John Donne was known as a metaphysical poet and his poetic style directly influenced the poetry of the 16th century.
The Donne is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of sixains.
• metered, L1 through L4 are pentameter, L5 tetrameter and L6 is dimeter.
• rhymed, with an alternating rhyme scheme ababab. The rhyme scheme maintains the same 2 rhymes throughout the poem ababab ababab etc.
Hymn to God the Father by John Donne (first stanza)
WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
— Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
— And do run still, though still I do deplore?
—— When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
—————- For I have more.
Done Donne by Rex Allen Brewer
How can I find a way to write like Donne,
When comes the fun, who cracks the door?
My words are poor, like weeds without the sun.
I can’t find rhyme or pun, I am a bore.
I walk the floor, what have I won?
Foul done, no score.
Pasted from <http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=668>
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the find PMO resource.
My example poem
Look It in the Mouth (The Donne)
ILook It in the Mouth
Look It in the Mouth (The Donne)
I’ve got a chance where I might win a horse.
It was purchased for me by Johnny Black.
I was appreciative, and glad of course
though I’ve not been upon a horses back.
It’s likely something I’ll endorse
though I know jack.
Then searching for a proper clothing souce
for boots and buckle, hat and clothes I lack
I found with that I’d only be midcourse.
I’d need a saddle and the horses tack.
Don’t let me win! I’ve such remorse
please take it back.
© Lawrencealot – June 22, 2014
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The Donne

The Swinburne

      • The Swinburne is a stanzaic form patterned after Before the Mirror by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).The Swinburne is:
        • stanzaic, written in any number of septets.
        • metric, L1,L3,L5, & L6 are trimeter, L2 & L4 are dimeter, and L7 is pentameter.
        • rhymed ababccb dedeffe etc, L1 & L3 have feminine or falling rhyme.
This named form was documented by Judi Van Gorder, on her most wonderful resource site: Poetry Manum Opus, in a section about poetry form named after English poets.
Note: In addition to the specifications above, it is also required that the sixth syllable in Line 7 rhyme with lines 5 and 6.

Before the Mirror
WHITE ROSE in red rose-garden
Is not so white;
Snowdrops that plead for pardon
And pine for fright
Because the hard East blows
Over their maiden rows
Grow not as this face grows from pale to bright.
Behind the veil, forbidden,
Shut up from sight,
Love, is there sorrow hidden,
Is there delight?
Is joy thy dower or grief,
White rose of weary leaf,
Late rose whose life is brief, whose loves are light?
Soft snows that hard winds harden
Till each flake bite
Fill all the flowerless garden
Whose flowers took flight
Long since when summer ceased,
And men rose up from feast,
And warm west wind grew east, and warm day night.
“Come snow, come wind or thunder
High up in air,
I watch my face, and wonder
At my bright hair;
Nought else exalts or grieves
The rose at heart, that heaves
With love of her own leaves and lips that pair.
“She knows not loves that kissed her
She knows not where.
Art thou the ghost, my sister,
White sister there,
Am I the ghost, who knows?
My hand, a fallen rose,
Lies snow-white on white snows, and takes no care.
“I cannot see what pleasures
Or what pains were;
What pale new loves and treasures
New years will bear;
What beam will fall, what shower,
What grief or joy for dower;
But one thing knows the flower; the flower is fair.”
Glad, but not flushed with gladness,
Since joys go by;
Sad, but not bent with sadness,
Since sorrows die;
Deep in the gleaming glass
She sees all past things pass,
And all sweet life that was lie down and lie.
There glowing ghosts of flowers
Draw down, draw nigh;
And wings of swift spent hours
Take flight and fly;
She sees by formless gleams,
She hears across cold streams,
Dead mouths of many dreams that sing and sigh.
Face fallen and white throat lifted,
With sleepless eye
She sees old loves that drifted,
She knew not why,
Old loves and faded fears
Float down a stream that hears
The flowing of all men’s tears beneath the sky.

Algernon Charles Swinburne
Example poem
Caretaker      (The Swinburne)
When forced to go and going
with all due haste,
you leave already knowing
there must be waste.
I never, as a boy
expected old man’s joy
at seeing an old toy I had misplaced.
The things you leave behind you
are not all done.
They’re simply tasks assigned to
another one.
When your life takes a turn
the habits you adjourn
may tickle Time who spurns a lack of fun.
© Lawrencealot – May 8, 2014


An awdl is a Welsh ode. Awdlau (that’s the plural) come in twelve different varieties, and it will take me a while to get through them all (if I ever do). All the poems on this page will be awdlau. 
There are 24 Welsh standard verse forms altogether. The other twelve are made up of eight kinds of englyn and four kinds of cywydd.
One important reservation: I believe all Welsh-language awdlau are required to exhibit some kind of cynghanedd in every line. In the descriptions below, this will not be mentioned (and in the examples, I will not attempt it). It is just too difficult and complicated for us non-Celts. If you really want to get to grips with this, I recommend the book Singing in Chains (see books page). 
As Confucius once remarked, the page of a dozen awdlau begins with a single form:
Hir a Thoddaid
According to Singing in Chains, the Hir a Thoddaid is the most common form of awdl nowadays. Here’s a silly example:
I take back what I said about your knees –
They hardly knock at all. Forgive me, please.
My meaning and my words are chalk and cheese.
I love to cuddle you. You’re not obese.
I have caught a rare disease of the heart
When I see you I start to want to sneeze.
I didn’t mean to speak ill of your chin.
In pointing out it emphasised how thin
Your body was, I thought I’d make you grin.
Is paying you such compliments a sin?
I see I’ll have to discipline my tongue –
The songs I would have sung must stay within.
I’m sure that I did not suggest your arms’
Uneven lengths failed to augment your charms.
Believe me, love, they caused me no alarms.
I’ve seen far worse on girls from local farms.
A little skewness often calms me down.
So please, my love, don’t send round the gendarmes.
I never did complain about your nose,
Although it’s quite surprising that you chose
That singular proboscis. I suppose
It makes you quite distinctive, like your clothes.
More easily described in prose than verse,
You’re better active, worse when in repose.
And darling, though it’s true I said you smelt,
I meant “of roses”, honestly! I’d spelt
It out clearly. I don’t know why you felt
That I’d been less than kind. You’re sweet, you’re svelte,
My poor heart raced when I knelt to request
Your hand. Your bum’s the best I’ve ever felt.
Each line has 10 syllables – in no particular metre, though I seem to have lapsed into iambic pentameter here. All lines of each stanza, except for the penultimate one, rhyme together in the conventional way. The penultimate line rhymes with them all in an unconventional way – its seventh, eighth or ninth syllable contains the rhyme. Furthermore, the word at the end of the penultimate line rhymes with a word somewhere in the middle of the last line. In the first stanza above, for example, there’s disease/sneeze and heart/start
The first 4 lines are the hir, and the last two are the toddaid (which mutates to thoddaid when you put the phrase together, due to the endearing pecularities of the Welsh language). The hir can have 2 lines or 6, rather than the 4 used here, but all its lines must always rhyme together. 
The books by Hopgood and Skelton agree about this form, and that’s good enough for me. Some sites on the web say the last line should have only 9 syllables, but I suspect they are wrong. 
And if you don’t believe CYNGHAHEDD makes this difficult poetry to write, with the expertise to determine is praiseworthy or even correct limited to a few Welsh and a very few other poets, take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about it

I have found little joy in reading such poems as they almost always appear stilted.


So I am (after viewing others) going with Bob Newman’s interpretation and recommendation – let those writing in English write enjoyable poetry.

Restated specification for Hir a Thoddaid:

A poem of either 6 or 8 lines.

Stanzaic:  Consisting of a hir (being either a mono-rhymed quatrain or sestet,

                   and a toddaid which is a couplet with interlaced rhyme.

Isosyllabic: 10 syllables

Rhymed: aaaa(ab)(ba)


Here is my example poem:

Crinoline Tease (Hir a Thoddaid)


You dressed in fancy silks and satin clothes 
and feather boas, hats, and nylon hose, 
and crinoline as well to augment those. 
and not in frequently you would expose 
a flash of flesh to decompose a guest. 
I liked that best, and therefore I proposed. 
Somehow you liked me wearing my plainclothes. 
You ate me up with eyes just like a doe’s. 
When we’re together we forget our woes 
I thrill to sit nearby when you repose 
and lean and touch you with my nose and lips 
and touch your breast and hips while still you pose. 
© Lawrencealot – December 26, 2013


Related Welsh Form are HERE.

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Sicilian Sestet

Sicilian Sestet
Possessing similar origins, as the Italian Sestet, 
the Sicilian sestet had no set meter, but the 
anglicised version uses Iambic tetrameter or pentameter.
The rhyme pattern is as follows; ababab
Example Poem
Write a Sicilian Sestet
Sicilian sestets have most simple rhyme. 
The metric foot can be both four and five,
(but not at once), just one poem at a time. 
Here pentameter iambs are alive. 
Don’t strain yourself in finding rhyme like I’m. 
Just think ahead and then you can survive. 
© Lawrencealot – July 25, 2012
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San Gabriel Refrain

Created by Lawrence R. Eberhart, aka Lawrencealot on Allpoetry, and named by  Doubletake on  Allpoetry….He said, “As to the name: it’s a stretch… But the repeated uneven line lengths are vaguely reminiscent of the profile of a mountain range. How about “San Gabriel Refrain”?
This form was borne of an appreciation for the ever increasingly popular Trijan Refrain created by Jan Turner. It is a little longer giving room for weightier subjects.
Like the Trijan Refrain is has three stanzas*, each having a two line refrain. Unlike the TR, it has no requirement that the first line be repeated, and the poet may choose to take his refrain from any contiguous part of either lines 1, 3, or 5.
This was revised on November 9th, 2013 to allow any number of stanzas.
There must be a refrain in both lines 7 and 8, it may be a line repeated from any of the source lines, or it may be taken from separate lines (if you have taken care to make the proper syllable rhyme).
Latest REVISON:   The REFRAINS may be contiguous syllables taken from any place in the source lines.
There shall be 6 syllables for the pentameter  version and 4 syllables for the tetrameter version.
The refrain may be repeated from just one line as in the Trijan Refrain, or it may, as in the example below be taken from any of the mandated lines.
The stanzas are syllabic: 10/8/10/8/10/10/6/6/10/10 for what I’ll call the pentameter version
and 8/6/8/6/8/8/4/4/8/8 for what I’ll call the tetrameter version .
with rhyme scheme ababccddee.
A single poem has any number of stanzas.
Any consistent meter is acceptable.
Specifications last changed on November 9 , 2013 all with the idea of increasing poets’ discretion and opportunity for creativity.
Example Poem
Cognitive Continuum (San Gabriel Refrain)
If we should disagree- I’m obstinate! 
You’re such a silly guy you know 
it’s wrong to pose that you are adamant 
to think that some thing must be so. 
Still, something sure must be, and working well. 
But what it is at this time we can’t tell. 
If we should disagree 
Still, something sure must be. 
But man when saying “must” is seldom right. 
Five thousand churches, all they do is fight. 
Now science has become so self possessed, 
constrained by those who’ve made their name, 
whose right to truth is often self-professed
and bars newcomers from their game. 
A race to skim the scum from grantors pond 
by bringing forth results of which they’re fond. 
Now science has become 
A race to skim the scum 
To publish or to perish is the song. 
and there is no real cost to get it wrong. 
So if the beads and cross have so far failed, 
and science is so often wrong 
with models at a loss- results derailed 
(at best just guessing, all along.)
It seems none have the right now to insist 
they know for certain what others have missed. 
So if the beads and cross 
with models at a loss 
all leave a little room for cogent doubt 
I can see options and not feel left out. 
© Lawrencealot – October 22,2013
Visual Template(Showing iambic pentameter version)
       and giving examples of ways in which the refrain lines might be populated.
Originally named Longer Refrain…


Ballade, not to be confused with a Ballad.
Pronouced:  bahl ODD, rhymes with God.
The ballade typically consists of three stanzas of 8 lines each,
with a concluding 4-line envoi often addressed to a prince.
 The stanzas and envoi employ a refrain in the last line.
The rhyme scheme is ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC.
I found both tetrameter and pentameter poems, but no definition.
Example Poem
The Puppy
An only child I grew up free
of sibling squabbles, which was fine.
No nieces, nephews, there for me,
I was a lone leaf on the vine,
the end of this old family line.
I never felt my life flawed.
I found a puppy in decline.
A puppy was my gift from God.
I found the fellow by a tree,
abandoned, nestled by a pine.
We were then poor, but he was free!
I pledged to feed him food of mine.
The way we bonded seemed divine.
My mom and grandma were both awed.
The puppy never once did whine.
A puppy was my gift from God.
I taught the puppy where to pee.
He learned to sit with just a sign.
Where ever I was, there was he.
I nursed him ’til his eyes did shine
with life,  no more was he supine.
He slept with me;  he never gnawed.
He filled lonesome days with sunshine.
A puppy was my gift from God.
That puppy made my life benign.
Oh, Prince of Peace, men must applaud
the wonder of the grand design.
A puppy is a gift from God.
© Lawrencealot – April 22,2012
Related forms: Ballade, Ballade StanzaBallade Supreme, Double Ballade, Canzone II, Chanso, Double Ballade Supreme, Double Refrain Ballade, Double Refrain Ballade Supreme, Grand Ballade or Chant Royal.
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Chant Royal Poetry Form

A French poetic form and variation of the ballad form,
it consists of five (or three) 11-line stanzas
(there are variations, and some sources allow 8-16 lines)
and an envoi of 5 or 7 lines. The meter is not determined.
Each line should be of the same length.  The form uses a refrain at the end of each stanza and the end of the envoi.
The rhyme scheme is
 ababccddedE with ccddedE or ddedE for the envoi.
The poet may aim to avoid repeating a rhyme word throughout the poem’s length. The form is traditionally used for
stately or heroic subjects.
The envoi  traditionally addresses a “Prince”.
Have seen in both in Tetrameter and Pentameter so take your choice.
Related forms: Ballade, Ballade StanzaBallade Supreme, Double Ballade, Canzone II, Chanso, Double Ballade Supreme, Double Refrain Ballade, Double Refrain Ballade Supreme, Grand Ballade or Chant Royal.

Example Poem
Foolish Quests (Chant Royal) (Version 2)
I wooed and won a girl more bold than I.
She led the way, resolving mutual lust.
She urged my hand to feel her velvet thigh
and revel in the softness of her bust.
In focused fascination we’d convene
in what without our love might seem obscene.
A call to duty meant I had to leave;
to think she’d wait would simply be naive.
I married her and bound her with my name
For each of us, out minds now felt relieved.
The future will be what our now became.
I sought success and things success could buy
A house, a boat, income that one could trust.
The babies came, we didn’t have to try,
and diligence at work became my thrust.
I placed my love in virtual quarantine
and let my chase for money intervene.
My wife, neglected home alone, felt peeved;
her urges, often times, I’d not perceived.
Her burning passion rose above a game
and my ineptness she could not believe.
The future will be what our now became.
Her figure beckoned, pleasing to the eye
her manner teased and oft left men non-plussed,
but when she chose, she’d exit with a guy,
and quenched a thirst we’d really not discussed.
My toiling for a future still unseen
had painted me as coldly philistine.
Forsaking beauty that we might have weaved
my tunnel-vision left us both aggrieved.
I thought she knew my love remained the same,
(I should have worn my heart upon my sleeve).
The future will be what our now became.
Oh Prince! prithee, praise, please, and bliss your queen
and growl in lust should she show sultry mien.
One’s love needs nurturing to be believed,
with passion often given and received.
Mere years ought not allow your spark to tame;
it’s grand what frequent ardor can achieve.
The future will be what our now became.
© Lawrence Eberhart – Feb 1, 2016
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3-Stanza, pentameter version


Foolish Quests (Chant Royal) (Version 4)

We both were under Hebe’s*sway
the day I took a slight detour
and found a road-side hide-away
where she was their delight du jure.
Her ample bust and winsome smile
made eating there each day worthwhile.
Curvaceousness was her domain;
testosterone’s a young man’s bane .
Our fascination thereby excused
her repartee was our champagne.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
With her I had fun things to say
I teased and told her jokes galore
we both enjoyed the interplay.
My friend said, “I think you can score.”
Without a scheme and lacking guile
I doubted that, that’s not my style.
The notion was almost profane
that surely was not my campaign
of such you must be disabused.
We simply flirted while we schmoozed.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
‘Ere long I brought her a bouquet
since we’d established great rapport;
she thought a date would be okay
her “Yes.” set my young heart to soar.
With tactics measured to beguile
she put to me a carnal trial;
I certainly would not abstain
nor did my consciousness complain;
we neither of us felt misused
not once or twice or yet again.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
To bind her so she would not stray,
when Navy sent me from this shore
we wed before I went away;
we were betrothed forevermore.
Though often gone for quite a while,
my need to serve, we’d reconcile.
To propagate, we both were fain
so mostly pregnant she’d remain.
when children came we were enthused.
(The husband doesn’t feel the pain.)
A future’s bought with minutes used.
The Dot.com creed caused her dismay;
(I worked all day, then worked some more
to business greed I’d fallen prey
but then it seemed a needed chore.)
I thought my effort to stockpile
more cash and toys was nothing vile.
A loss of passion was no gain,
so she sought out another swain
to take that which I’d disabused.
(Which here and now, I can explain.)
A future’s bought with minutes used.
The queen, the king must not exile,
a part of love must be tactile.
To strive for gold’s to strive in vain
when you have love and lust to reign
and even if you’re not accused
relationships will still be bruised.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
© Lawrence Eberhart – February 5, 2016
Reworked with assistance from
Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Iambic Tetrameter Visual Template
chant royal3