The Varselle is an ambiguous form invented by Linda Varsell Smith of Rainbow Communications.

  • It is stanzaic, consisting of any number of eight line stanzas.
  • It is either rhymed or not.
  • It is either syllabic or word-based.
  • It is either centered or left justified.
  • The number of (syllables or words) per line is 2/3/4/3/5/5/4/6
  • If rhymed the rhymed scheme must be ababcbca

Smith’s Examples

Oregon Spring

Spring’s too wet!
Hail is straining
patience, yet
sometimes sun streaks through.
Sun turns chills to sweat.
What can we do?
Confusion remaining.

For Kip

our dear passed son.
love-warming through years.
Can’t disremember
the joys or tears
from grief of everyone.

My Example

Form: Varselle

Don’t Feed the Cat

That brat!
We do feed
our funny furry cat;
we do indeed,
and mother nature does too!
So please neighbors, take heed,
he’ll beg from you.
Ignore him, he might get fat.

© Lawrencealot – February 12, 2015

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Teacup Dictionary

Teacup Dictionary: The dictionary word is the title.

  • Each line must define the word but drops one syllable per line.
  • Poem is usually centered.
  • Last line number of syllables in title plus observation

Chatoyant (3)

white light (2)
gem (1)
undulates (3 plus observation)

Poetry (3)

Poet (2)
finds (1)
the right word (3 plus observation)

Fuddy-duddy (4)

likes trifles (3)
pompous (2)
dull (1)
old-fashioned one (4 plus observation)

Source: rainbowcommunications.org, with thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My Example

Form: Teacup Dictionary


known fact
enduring truth


Rick's 32

Ricks 32: Created by Erich J. Goller.
8 lines Rhymes or unrhymed.
Two or more stanzas. Any subject.
Syllable Count: 3-4-3-6-6-3-4-3.


3 After dream
4 a bad nightmare
3 terrified.
6 in unbearable stretch
6 of a parallel life?
3 Life spark in
4 consensual
3 space/time place?
3 I wonder
4 will I ever
3 extinguish
6 sentience, endless lives?
6 travel through dimensions?
3 multiverse?
4 any respite?
3 wake with joy?
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

Specifications restated:
Rick’s 32 is:
Stanzaic, consisting of 2 or more stanzas,
Syllabic: 3/4/3/6/6/3/4/3
Rhyme is optional
Presentation is optional, centered or not.

My example

Captive (Form: Rick’s 32)

all of the rules
only your own desires.
Pity those silly fools
in church classes
and in schools.

produces highs,
almost guaranteed. You’ll
feel that you’re a winner.
You’ll lose teeth,
and yes indeed,
be thinner.

No one else
can pull your strings.
Your lover’s
perfect; he enables
until he see the cost.
If he balks
he knows certain,
your love’s lost.

© Lawrencealot – January 17, 2015


Rhymethor: Title: 6 syllables.
3 rhyming quatrain stanza of 6 syllables
Rhyme scheme: a-a–bb, c-c-d-d, b-b-a-a (an inverted stanza of 1st stanza)
Concluding line of 12 syllables representing total number of lines.
Display centered

Our Runaway Cosmos

Dark energy, dark matter
bright stars–just a smatter
Universe expanding
beyond understanding

Other multiverses
dimensions reverses
concepts we once held true
now a new point of view.

Beyond understanding
universe expanding
bright stars– just a smatter
dark energy, dark matter

So little light. So much dark. All sparkles and darkles.
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My example

Don’t Mock Any of Those Gods (Form: Rhymethor)

In case my words aren’t clear
there’s repetition here.
There’ve been gods by the bunch
by vision, plan and hunch.

I need no fables wrought
from whole cloth and then taught
to children who believe 
most all that they receive.

By vision, plan and hunch
there’ve been gods by the bunch
there’s repetition here
in case my words aren’t clear.

It works. A god’s an extra step. I’ll still be good.

© Lawrencealot – January 13, 2015

Restated specifications
A Ryhmethor is:
A 13 line titled poem
Stanazaic: Consisting of three quatrains plus a single line.
Syllabic: 6/6/6/6/ 6/6/6/6 6/6/6/6 12
Rhymed: AABB ccdd BBAA x,
Refrained: Where the final quatrain is the inverse of the first quatrain.
Displayed centered on page

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Retrac: 12 lines. Syllable Counts: 2-3-4-6-8-10-10-8-6-4-3-2
Rhyme Scheme: a-a-b-b-c-c-c-c-b-b-a-a.  Carter spelled backwards.


shines so bright
cosmic display
so many miles away.
So many types of stars to learn.
Incredible temperatures that burn
orbiting rapidly, black holes to spurn
Many of my wishes yet to yearn.
A multi-colored splay
awesome array
of night light.
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My example

They Called Me Deely  (Form: Retrac)

Some names
are nicknames
that you have earned.
Some endear, some are spurned.
Deely was my place-holder word
for things I met, of which I’d never heard.
“What’s that deely for?” didn’t sound absurd,
friends knew to what I had referred
thus I was unconcerned
my word was learned
it became
my name.

© Lawrencealot – January 14, 2015


Retournello: Created by Flozari Rockwood
Any number of quatrains.
Syllabic Count: 4-6-8-4
Rhyme Scheme: a-b-b-a c-d-d-c e-f-f-e etc.

Doomsday: May 21, 2011

4a Some say Doomsday
6b earthquake cracks open graves.
8b Only the Christian dead God saves.
4a The rest Earth’s prey.
4c Believers rise–
6d the living and the dead,
8d rest in torment is what is said.
4c Fill crowded skies?
4e To date Rapture
6f some claim Bible reckons
8f October end of world beckons.
4e Left to nature.
4g We’ll wait and see
6h this is just another guess.
8h Time will tell if this time it’s yes–
4g this prophesy
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My example

Our Parrot (Form: Retournello)

A neon green
and neon carrot bird
wears other colors quite absurd.
Isn’t it keen?

© Lawrencealot – January 13, 2015

Written for contest, exactly 15 words.

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1. Even numbered lines have the same rhyming sound.
2. Couplets.
3. The end words of the odd numbered lines with the title tell a brief story.
4. The number of couplets is unlimited.
5. The odd numbered lines do not rhyme but tell a story.
6. The even numbered lines are mono-rhymed.
In this example the even numbered mono-rhymes are coast, toast, most, host, boast.
The odd numbered lines tell the story. This Fourth of July July Fourth bursts with independence. The story is in bold.

This Fourth of July

Some grandchildren are away this July,
Two are in New Jersey on the east coast.
We won’t see grandchildren on this Fourth
so to them I salute a happy toast.
As the fireworks display bursts
less abundant than most
I will remember the times with
the grandchildren at the parties we host.
This year we celebrate adolescent independence
and the love of the grandchildren we boast.
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

Raccontino (Italian meaning narrator or story teller) is a poetic narrative written in any number of couplets linked by a single rhyme. Found at Writer’s Café. I’ve been unable to find a history or original example of this form. One source on line suggests this is an English form but no time frame is indicated nor other reasons given for this assumption. Because the name has Italian roots, is syllabic rather than metric (which is more typical of Italian poetry than English poetry) and carries a single rhyme (which is much easier in Italian than English), my assumption is that the frame itself also has Italian roots.

The Raccontino is:
• narrative, tells a story.
• written in any number of couplets.
• syllabic. The number of syllable is set by the first line. Whatever number of syllables occurs in the first line should continue throughout the poem.
• rhymed xa xa xa xa xa xa etc. x being unrhymed.

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

Specifications restated
Raccontino is most likely of Italian origin.
It is:
A single stanza consisting of any even number of lines.
Rhymed: the rhyme pattern is xaxaxaxa…
Formulaic: The end words in the un-rhymed lines tell a brief story.
Isosyllabic: All lines having the same number of syllables, at the poet’s discretion.

Pie Quebrado

Pie Quebrado: Spanish-broken foot. The Broken footed couplet is from 14th
century. Often used in the Copla. Often follows an octosyllabic or 8 syllable couplet.
Two Stanzaic forms:
1. A couplet of two 8 syllable lines followed by a tail, a 4 syllable line.
2. A couplet made of 8 syllable line followed by 4 syllable line.

From a Child a Garden of Verses

I was a rainbow-eyed child.
My imagination ran wild.
happy and free

Mind raced like a motorcycle.
from when I rode a tricycle
rode skillfully.

No ballerina. I liked tap
I talked in rhyme in finger snap

Words and images came to dance
giving poems and novels a chance

From when I could write I wrote reams
scribbling, drawing youthful dreams

Words bloomed like hyacinths, the scope
a cosmic garden filled with star hope
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My example

Game’s On (Form: Pie Quebrado)

A woman needn’t even try
too hard to catch a fellow’s eye.
and then he’s caught.

Should she be merely fishing guy,
she’ll reel you in and drain you dry;
of all you’ve got.

Just knowing that is not enough
your hormones can’t resist that stuff;
you’ll want to play.

So play you will. Enjoy the thrill!
Remember still she is the shill
and you’re the prey.

© Lawrencealot – January 6, 2015

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Pie Quebrado


Markette: Created by Michael Degenhardt.
Rhymed Quatrains.

Syllable Count: 11/10/9/5
Rhyme Scheme: aaab cccd ddde fffe

No Place to Call Home

Partners Place –Housing First: An initiative to provide permanent housing
for chronically homeless persons

a11 In our town homeless people live under bridge.
a10 They camp out by railroad tracks or on a ridge.
a9 Some people care, try to help abridge
b5 gaps in services.
c11 The chronically ill, addicted, jobless,
c10 poverty, life situation painful mess–
c9 some folks try to raise our consciousness
d5 and want to make dent.
d11 Shelter, a place to call home, they will pay rent–
d10 percentage of income from government,
d9 coordinate needs as seen evident.
e5 working together.

f11 Grants, donations, they have built a safe, new place–
f10 apartments where residents interface,
f9 live with others, meet staff at own pace–
e5 safe from the weather.
My Thanks to Linda Varsell Smith for her contributions above.

My example

For a Happy Next Year (Form: Markette)

This very troubled year will certainly end
I hope the best for you next year, my friend.
We can’t tell what the next might portend;
may yours be joyful.

Sub-cultures rising up and promising strife
give little care how they affect your life.
agendas they hold make discord rife.
Practice brotherhood.

Though agitators provoke and relish hate,
if we respond we make their traction great.
So stay with those you appreciate.
Stay well and happy.

Avoid the fools who pander harsh foolishness.
No confront is going to solve this mess.
We need Hellos more and “Hell no’s” less.
Accumulate friends.

© Lawrencealot – December 29, 2014

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The Mini-monoverse is a poetry form originated by Emily Romano. Each Mini-monoverse is made up of two stanzas of five three-syllable lines. They rhyme scheme is a/a/a/a/a for the first stanza and b/b/b/b/b for the second stanza. For a double Mini-monoverse just add two more stanzas. They rhyme scheme for the third stanza should be c/c/c/c/c and for the fourth stanza, d/d/d/d/d. It is desirable that the Mini-monoverse tell a story, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

How Many Times?

Foolish dolt,
On a colt,
Feels the jolt
Of a volt.

Venting wrath
In the bath,
Second swath!
Do the math.

Copyright © 2007 Emily Romano


Cattail fluff
Velvet stuff
Colored buff
Watch it luff
Toward the bluff.

A light breeze
will appease,
lightly tease,
lift with ease
seeds like these.

Copyright © 2007 Margaret R. Smith

Pasted from
Many thanks to the ShadowPoetry site.

My example


It’s a cinch
Marshawn Lynch
shrunk an inch.
His crotch pinch
made me flinch.

Gone awry
a black eye
will apply.
A sad guy,
don’t know why.

© Lawrencealot – Dec 29, 2014

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