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.

Spanish Poetry

The Letrilla is a short strophic form from 16th century Spain that is usually humorous or satirical. The form can sometimes be found in religious verse also. This lyrical verse is written with a theme refrain of any number of lines which usually begins and ends the poem.
The Letrilla is:

  • strophic, any number of lines contained in the strophe.

  • syllabic, often written in 6 or 8 syllable lines. Lines should be short and approximate length.
  • composed with a refrain which begins and ends the piece.
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme would depend on the length of the strophe. The theme refrain AA (or however many lines) and the strophe rhyme is often envelope rhyme AA bccb ba AA or AA bcccba AA etc .
Letrilla by Francesco de Quevedo 1580-1645
Poderosos caballero
es don Dinero
Madre, yo al oro me humillo
el es mi amante y mi amado,
pues de puro enamorado,
anda contino amarillo;
que pues doblon o sencillo,
hace todo cuanto quiero
poderoso caballero
es don Dinero.
 Letrilla by Francesco de Quevedo
translated by Judi Van Gorder
A powerful horseman
is Mr. Money.
Mother, because of gold I make a fool of myself,
It is my lover and my beloved
because it is purest love.
it walks a golden path.
Whether complicated or simple
It does all that I want
A powerful horseman
is Mr. Money.

My Example

Form: Letrilla

Fresh as a Daisy

I’ve written doggerel a lot.
Purposely? Well, usually not.
While I’m smart as a whip
when I write about June
and I rhyme it with moon
it is sometimes a slip
not a purposeful quip,
just the best that I’ve got.
I’ve written doggerel a lot.
Purposely? Well, usually not.

© Lawrencealot – February 15, 2015


The following description and example ares reposted with permission from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on that fine resource.

The Folía is a nonsensical or a ridiculous poem, originating in 16th century Spain, probably influenced by a Portuguese dance song.

The elements of the Folía are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any # of quatrains.
  2. syllabic, 8 syllables lines or shorter.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme abab cdcd etc.
  4. ridiculous or nonsensical.

    Silly Willy by Judi Van Gorder

    In old 16th century Spain
    when poets felt a bit silly
    they’d dance circles round in the rain
    and write rhymed verse willy nilly.

My Example

Form: Folía

Bump and Grind

A kangaroo on roller skates
and polar bear on skis
were clumsy when they went on dates
excuse them if you please.

© Lawrencealot – February 11, 2015


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 http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1014
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example
(Form: Seguidilla)

Cueca Chilena Dance

Cueca Chilena Dance

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 https://latindancehistory.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/la-cueca/

Visual Template


The Quintilla is a 16th century Spanish quintain with a rhyme scheme that is more about what cannot be done than what can be done. 

The Quintilla is:
• syllabic verse, octasyllabic (8 syllable lines)
• stanzaic, written in any number of quintains (5 line stanzas).
• rhymed. In each quintain only 2 rhymes can be used and it cannot end in a rhyming couplet.
• There is choice of rhyme schemes of ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba
• when written as a decastich, (2 quintillas) the verse is known as Copla Real

El Viejo by Judi Van Gorder 7/1/03
The ancient cur begins to rise 
ignoring stiff, defiant bones. 
Foolishly focused on the prize, 
his awkward pounce elicits groans. 
To snub one’s age, not always wise.
Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1015
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.
My example

I’m Shocked, I Did It!  (Form: Quintilla)

Impossibly demanding task
when twenty-two whole words are asked
and forty syllables I need
according to Quintilla’s mask
but perseverance did succeed.

© Lawrencealot – January 9, 2015
Visual template

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

Visual template

Pie Quebrado


The Pareado (Spanish-paired) is a distich originating in Galician-Portuguese, 12th century, Spain. It is simply a didactic rhymed couplet often used for proverbs or epigrams. It can also be used as a two line chorus called a Cosanta which follows other narrative couplets.


The Pareado / Cosanta is:

  • a single distich, a poem in 2 lines.

  • syllabic, often the same length at the discretion of the poet.

  • rhymed, the rhyme can be consonant rhyme which in Spanish prosody is full rhyme or the rhyme can be assonant rhyme.

  • When used as a chorus, the Cosanta, the syllable count and rhyme should be different from the couplets that develop the subject, the Cosanta or chorus acts as feedback to the unfolding narrative.


Pasted from  http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1929
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.





My example


Untitled (Form: Pareado /Cosanta) 

So write a single couplet and hereby earn
the right of thoughtful silence to return.

 © Lawrencealot – January 4, 2015

Octava Real

The Octava Real is the Spanish version of the Ottava Rima. This 14th century stanzaic form, like its Italian counterpart, is a narrative, often telling the story of important events.

The Octava Real is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of octaves.
• hendecasyllabic, written in 11 syllable lines.
• rhymed, abababcc.
• a narrative, tells a story.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1913
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example
Assailing Wassailing (Form: Octava Real)

It’s friendly and noble I guess to wassail
if wifey approves of your gaggle of friends.
You all sit around drinking pints of good ale
insulting each other, then making amends.
Too often somebody will end up in jail.
It’s time that I stop it, my wife now contends;
my children agree and my doctor does too,
“wassailing is not for a codger like you.”

© Lawrencealot – December 30, 2014
was·sail (wŏs′əl, wŏ-sāl′)
a. A salutation or toast given in drinking someone’s health or as an expression of goodwill at a festivity.
b. The drink used in such toasting, commonly ale or wine spiced with roasted apples and sugar.
2. A festivity characterized by much drinking.

Visual template

You may choose any or no meter. This is catalectic amphibraic tetrameter.

Octava Real

Copla Real

Copla Real, popular in 15th century Spain, is a decastich which is made up of 2 Quintillas.

The Copla Real is:
○ a decastich (10 line poem) made up of 2 Quintillas (Spanish 8 syllable line quintains turned on only 2 rhymes of any combination other than never ending with a rhymed couplet.)
○ syllabic, all lines are 8 syllables.
○ rhymed, the rhyme scheme established in the first quintain is repeated in the 2nd quintilla. Possible rhyme schemes ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba. The one no-no is it should never end in a rhyming couplet.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/1031-copla-copla-real-pie-quebrado/
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

To Pee or Not to Pee (Form: Copla Real)

I put my first foot on the floor
then know I want to sleep some more.
It’s early yet; there’s snow outside
Get up? Stay here? It’s either/or.
My need to pee might soon subside.

The trip to pee I do abhor;
to go and pee’s no little chore.
You think I’m silly? Don’t be snide.
I’d have to open our backdoor.
Your own bathroom must be inside.

© Lawrencealot – December 22, 2014

Visual template
This template is for iambic tetrameter.

Copla Real

Silva de consonantes

Spanish poetry.

Silva de consonantes, the defining features are:
○ stanzaic, any number of couplets.
○ syllabic, alternating 7-11 syllabic lines. 7-11 7-11 7-11 7-11 7-11 etc.
○ rhymed, consonant-full rhyme aabbccdd etc.

Mr. Jones by Judi Van Gorder

The office door stood ajar,
invitation for our cheerful morning star.
He liked to talk. Everyday
he stopped to chat before going on his way.
I suppose he was lonely,
at 92, wife gone, kids grown, absentee.
Welshman, from across the sea,
he tried to teach me Welsh, often sang to me.
Its been a while since he last
stopped by. I miss his smile and song, his life passed.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1026#consonantes
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Maybe is but a Deferral (Form: Silva de consonantes)

“Maybe” really means “Aw shit!”
It’s a dirty word, and that’s the truth of it.
It is merely an excuse
given in advance; I think it’s child-abuse.
Yet a phrase that’s just as bad
is when mother blandly says, “Go ask your Dad.”
They have taught me not to lie.
Knowing saying simply “No!” may make me cry,
parents oft choose to postpone
answers, or pretend perhaps they’re not their own.
Better though than another
once referred is: “Okay, go ask your mother.”

© Lawrencealot – December 19, 2014

Visual template

Silva de consonantes


Spanish Poetry
Lira, is a shortened variation of the Canción. The Lira “loosely refers to any short strophe” NPEOPP. The most commonly referred to features of the verse are the repetition of L2 in L5 and a rhyme scheme of aBabB, both of which narrow the verse to a stanzaic form, the quintain. Other frames were also suggested but with less definition. The quintain stanzaic form was apparently the most popular form of the Lira in 16th century Spain. 

The Lira is:
• stanzaic, popularly written in one or a short number of cinquains. The form is occasionally found in sixains and on rare occasions, quatrains.
• syllabic, the lines are usually in a fixed pattern of Italianate lines, (7 and 11 syllables). The last line of the stanza is always 11 syllables. The first stanza establishes the fixed pattern.
• often written with L2 repeated as L5.
• rhymed, often using only consonant rhyme. The most common rhyme scheme is aBabB, but alternatives could be aBaBcC, abbacC, abABcC 

Computer Connection by Judi Van Gorder

Fingertips rapidly tap, 
chosen letters appear in black on the screen.
Words are formed to fill the gap 
between thoughts and sounds unseen.
Chosen letters appear in black on the screen.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1016
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Arrival on Track 3 (Lira)

When she stepped down from the train,
approaching from behind I quickly kissed her.
But, but, but I must explain,
’twasn’t her – ’twas her sister.
Approaching from behind I quickly kissed her.

© Lawrencealot – December 16, 2014

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