Tho Tam 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 Tam Chu or Eight Word Poetry [Vietnamese] appears to be more flexible in stanza length as well as tonal and end rhyme. The rhyme schemes are patterns I found in actual poems. It appears to me that as long as there is rhyme, it probably doesn’t matter what the pattern is.  The elements of the Tho Tam Chu are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of either tercets, quatrains or septets.
  2. measured by the number of words in the line, 8 words per line.
  3. rhymed,
  4. tonal rhyme is flexible except, if the end word is sharp then the 3rd word is also sharp and words 5 and 6 are flat. Conversely, if the end word is flat then the 3rd word is also flat and the 5th and 6th words are sharp.
  5. end rhyme
  6. when written in tercets
    w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w a b
    w w w w b w w b
  7. when written in quatrains is:
    w w w w w w w w     or    w w w w w w w w
    w w w w w w w a             w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w w            w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w a             w w w w w w w w
  8. when written as a septet
    w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w a
    w w w w w w w b
    w w w w w w w b
    w w w w w w w w

Note: Whereas with the Bay Chu, I copped out because I had no notion of the tonal requirement, I was emboldened here by Judi’s observation that tonal rhyme was flexible. I therefore took the liberty to equate the Vietnamese flat and sharp sounds to the English long and short sounds, and have treated the words in positions 3,5,6 and 8 accordingly.

From Wikipedia

English vowels are sometimes split into “long” and “short” vowels along lines different from the linguistic differentiation. Traditionally, the vowels /eɪ iː aɪ oʊ juː/ (as in bait beat bite boat bute) are said to be the “long” counterparts of the vowels /æ ɛ ɪ ɒ ʌ/ (as in bat bet bit bot but) which are said to be “short”. This terminology reflects their pronunciation before the Great Vowel Shift.

Traditional English phonics teaching, at the preschool to first grade level, often used the term “long vowel” for any pronunciation that might result from the addition of a silent E(e.g., like) or other vowel letter as follows:

Letter “Short” “Long” Example
A a /æ/ /eɪ/ mat / mate
E e /ɛ/ /iː/ pet / Pete
I i /ɪ/ /aɪ/ twin / twine
O o /ɒ/ /oʊ/ not / note
U u /ʌ/ /juː/ cub / cube
A mnemonic was that each vowel’s long sound was its name.
In Middle English, the long vowels /iː, eː, ɛː, aː, ɔː, oː, uː/ were generally written i..e, e..e, ea, a..e, o..e, oo, u..e. With the Great Vowel Shift, they came to be pronounced /aɪ, iː, iː, eɪ, oʊ, uː, aʊ/. Because ea and oo are digraphs, they are not called long vowels today. Under French influence, the letter u was replaced with ou (or final ow), so it is no longer considered a long vowel either. Thus the so-called “long vowels” of Modern English are those vowels written with the help of a silent e.

Wikipedia: Traditional long and short vowels in English orthography

My Example

Form: Tho Tam Chu

Vietnam Poetry Didactic

If word three is long, expect to find
the words five and six not so aligned.
By word three, eight’s sound is now defined.
One must keep these rules within one’s mind.
That being done, then each line is fun,
a challenge yet, here I write this one.
An unrhymed line must still conform like so.

© Lawrencealot – January 31, 2015

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The Seguidilla began as a popular dance song of Spain. The verse form was established and branched into variations by the 17th century. It has an alternating long short rhythm.

The Seguidilla is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of 2 part septets. (7 lines)
• syllabic, 7-5-7-5 : 5-7-5 per line. There is a slight pause between L4 and L5 suggesting L4 should be end-stopped.
• rhymed by assonance xaxabxb or xaxabab. x being unrhymed. True rhyme is generally not used.
• composed with a volta or change in thought between L4 and L5.
• sometimes serves as a conclusion for another verse.

Pase Doble by Judi Van Gorder

The rapid click of slick heels
pounding on the boards,
play a staccato death knell 
for life never mourned.
The red of his cape,
a splash of blood on the floor,
the matador’s fate. .

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

My example

Cueca Chilena Dance

Cueca Chilena Dance (Form: Seguidilla)

He with boots and spurs and cape,
She in flowing dress,
(Cumbia, perhaps), and heels.
Hat upon his head.
Both will kick and stamp
their feet and twirl kerchiefs while
caught up in the dance.

© Lawrencealot – January 21, 2015

Photo Credit

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Rondeau Prime

• The Rondeau Prime is a short variation of the Rondeau originating in 13th century France. It allows more rhyme than the Rondeau, but incorporates its defining feature of the integration of the rentrement. (opening phrase of the first line which is repeated as a refrain.)
The Rondeau Prime is:
○ in French syllabic, in English tends to be iambic meter, line length is optional as long as the lines are relatively equal, with the exception of the shorter rentrement.
○ 12 lines, made up of a septet (7 lines) followed by a cinquain (5 lines).
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme abbccbR abbaR, R being the rentrement.

Wind on the Terrace by Judi Van Gorder7-12-05

A leaf in the wind taps the pane,
reminding me that you have gone.
Although my busy days move on,
it is small moments that I miss,
a gesture, glance, a touch, a kiss.
You went away before the dawn,
a leaf in the wind.

I watch the clouds bring in the rain,
the tears that fall and splash upon
the terrace of a time withdrawn,
the sound repeating your refrain,
a leaf in the wind.

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

Rondeau Prime
Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement
Description: Two-part French form that is isosyllabic except for the shorter refrains. The refrain is the first part of the first line.
Origin: French
Schematic: (Ra)bbaabR abbaR

R = refrain and first part of first line.
Line/Poem Length: 12

Pasted from
My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.

Specifications restated, The Rondeau Prime is:
A 12 line poem of French origin, (variation of the Rondeau)
Syllabic in French, often iambic in English
Isosyllabic lines, except for the shorter refrain lines
Rhyme Scheme: (Ra)bbaabR abbaR,
where R is the first part of the first line and becomes the refrain.

My example

If Pigs Could Fly (Form: Rondeau Prime)

If pigs could fly men would have had
another bacon source of course
and fought their wars on pig and horse,
and knights courting their maidens fair
would routinely arrive by air
(and no-fly zones would be in force),
if pigs could fly.

Demand for goats would rise a tad
as farmers would of course endorse
a new refuse disposal source.
My backyard mud-hole would be rad
if pigs could fly.

© Lawrencealot – January 18, 2015

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Rondeau Prime


Structure, Metrical Requirement, Simple
A syllabic form of 7 lines where the syllable count starts at one in line one, increasing by one each line up to line four, then decreasing at the same rate until line seven has one syllable again.
Rhythm/Stanza Length:
Line/Poem Length:
Sample Poem
Tattoo Talk
smiles at you
you’re entitled
to believe
you are
(c) Lawrencealot


This septet form is taken from the musical dance form which has an alternate meter of: 3 – 4, and what could be more fitting than having a poem derived from a dance. The original Saraband was a dance of Asian origin introduced into Spain in the 16th century and later to the courts of France and Italy.
The meter follows the dance with two stanzas. The first one of 3 lines, and the second of 4 lines.
The rhyme scheme is;
a. x. a.….b. c. b. c. etc.
In the Tercet all three lines may rhyme, in the French version, only lines one and three rhyme.
The Quatrain can vary from the Spanish (shown in the example); French; b. b. c. c. or Italian; b. c. c. b., and it is not uncommon to mix Quatrains, ie. Spanish with French or Italian when writing long poems.
For the purist each line comprises of Eight (8) syllables but there are examples of Iambic and Trochaic pentameter also.
Thanks to the Poetsgarret.
Sample Poem
Dinner Music     (Saraband)
The dining room was quite hi-brow
but suddenly there came an urge;
I needed to pass gas right now!
The music playing was most loud;
I came up with a plan unflawed,
I farted with the beat,  uncowed.
Ooops! Music came from my iPod.
© Lawrencealot – November 10, 2013
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The Rondine is a little seen shortened version of the Rondeau dating back to at least the 16th century. 
The elements of the Rondine are:
1. a poem in 12 lines made up of a quatrain, a tercet and ending in a quintet.
2. syllabic 8 syllables per line accept L7 and L12 which are 4 syllables each.
3. In English metered, most often iambic tetrameter except the refrain which is iambic dimeter.
4. composed with a refrain repeated from the opening phrase of the poem, rentrement.
5. rhymed, using only 2 rhymes except for the refrain being unrhymed, rhyme scheme abba,abR, abbaR
(R being the refrain)

Poetry Magnum Opus

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the fine resource above.

NOTE: The rhyme may be sight rhyme, slant rhyme, or assonance.
ALSO NOTE: This form is found frequently WITH MORE than EIGHT syllables, as in the example given on the page quoted below.

This is another very neglected and a very challenging poetry form. It consists of two stanzas, a septet (7 lines), and a quintet (5 lines), making the poem a total of 12 lines. There is a refrain which mimics the first phrase of the first line. R.

The Rondine has a rhyme scheme of,

(R a). b. b. a. a. b. R….a. b. b. a. R.

The meter is open with the French style and not bound by a rhyming pattern and is a more light and buoyant even “flashy” form of poetry which uses short lines, whereas the English is more formal and uses Tetrameter or Pentameter.

Here is an example by Wesli Court.

The Poets Garret

My Example

Write a Rondine

Here’s my Rondine, my very first.
With practice I’ll get better yet.
There is not much I should forget.
The rhymes are decently dispersed.
Find five alike, then dive headfirst.
Now have I, your interest whet?
Here’s my Rondine.

Choose words so refrain’s not coerced.
It ties the poem don’t forget,
from start to end refrain’s abet
a singularity well versed.
Here’s my Rondine.  

© Lawrencealot – April 2012

Alliterisen poetry form

The Alliterisen (Complex and Rhyming), a form created by Udit Bhatia, is a simple seven-lined poem with a specific syllable pattern and two alliterations per line.  For example: Glorious Graves, and wonderful waves. Alliteration is the succession of similar consonant sounds. They are not recognized by spelling, but rather by sounds.

 The syllable structure for the Complex Alliterisen is as follows:

 1st line- x syllables
2nd line- x+2 syllables
3rd line- x-1 syllables
4th line- (x+2)-1 syllables
5th line- x-2 syllables
6th line- (x+2)-2 syllables
7th line- x syllables

 which allows for infinite syllable sequences.

 Pasted from <>


Example Poem 

 The Knight of the Shopping Queen (  Complex Alliterisen with monorhyme) 

 Momma mumbles and grandpa grumbles but off they go.
She’s got stores selected and he’s got gumption and lots of dough.
Solicitous salesmen appear, all with grand goods to show
needles, brass bobbins, templates and many fine fabrics to sew
Gramps grabs her next favored choice;  takes it in tow.
Store after store momma’s  proven plaza pro
And Gramps just grins and waits until when momma says whoa.

© Lawrencealot – Feb 3, 2012



–Must have only 7 syllables in each line (isosyllabic 7)
–Must use aabbccd rhyme scheme.
–Must have only 7  lines in the stanza.
–Must have one alliteration per line.

–Must be only one stanza (7 lines) although you could create one with two stanzas and call it a Double Rhyming Alliterisen-which means a three stanza one would be called a Triple Rhyming Alliterisen, and so on.


Example Poem 


Facing Off    (Rhyming Alliterisen) 


My clock was clearly mocking

with its tick-ing and tock-ing.
“Get to work, write right away.
I track time through-out the day.
I’m not mocking you, fine friend,
just prodding your plodding pen.”
His song’s sure despite his face.

© Lawrencealot – April 13, 2013

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