Spanish Poetry
Flamenca or Seguidilla Gitana carries a fast staccato rhythm. It is a variation of the Seguidilla. 

The Flamenca is:
• stanzaic, can be written in any number of quintains.
• syllabic, 6-6-5-6-6 syllables per line to imitate the rapid click of the heels of a dancer.
• L2 and L5 assonate. (same vowel sounds)

Song of the Matador by Judi Van Gorder

In a dark cantina 
a twelve string guitar keens 
a feverish dirge, 
tones of glory and fame, 
the matador’s heartbeat.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1024#flamenca
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Sight vs. Sound

Sight vs. Sound (Flamenca)

The guitarist speeds up
as faster castanets
amid a swirl of
ruffles and pokadots
clicks time with quickened feet.

Sounds compete with color
both a fluid flurry,
pleasing ear and eye.
Staccato, percussive,
with smoothness overlaid.

© Lawrencealot – December 14, 2014

Photo credit: Spanish Flamenco Dancer Painting – fabianperez.com

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Spanish Poetry
The Endecha is a ” The Canción triste que encierra un lamento”, (“sad song that locks up a moan”), a 16th century Spanish dirge or song of sorrow.

The Endecha is
• stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
• syllabic, written with 7-7-7-11 syllables per line.
• rhymed, rhyme scheme xaxa xbxb etc., x being unrhymed. The rhyme is often consonance only but true rhyme may be used.

Cold Forever –Judi Van Gorder
It tears at my heaving breast
and rips out my grieving heart,
pain of losing him denies
all memories, leaving me lost and apart.

Precious promises ended,
our never and our always
lie cold inside his casket.
I’m left behind to mourn my nights and my days.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1017
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Necessity, the Mother of Suspension

Necessity, the Mother of Suspension (Endecha)

Erection continuing
yet I badly have to pee.
My girl-friend likes Cialis
but it makes pointing down, recent history.

© Lawrencealot – December 8, 2014

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Décima Italiana

• The Décima Italiana appeared in 18th century Spain. There are 2 variations, the first true to the original 8 syllable 10 line Décima with the only variable the rhyme scheme. In Italian verse, this variation is called the Décima Rima. The 2nd variation is written in Italianate lines with a variable rhyme scheme. 

The Décima Italiana is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of 10 line stanzas.
○ syllabic, 8 syllables per line, or in Italianate lines (mixed or irregular 11 and 7 syllable lines).
○ rhymed, ababc : dedec , the c rhyme must be oxytone or masculine rhyme, L5 must be end stopped. Variation: rhymed and paused at the discretion of the poet as long as a oxytone rhyme is placed at the end of the pause and end of the line. Something like aaab : bccabb or ababbc : aabc etc 

Pasted from <http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1029
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Unburnished (Décima Italiana)

Oh, let me die, and thus improve
the way you mother seemed to do.
Her every fault did death remove
when now I read you Facebook view.
We all get polished when we die.

She was not always there I think,
for you the way your words recount.
I hope my faults will also shrink
when this frail life I shall surmount. 
In death I’ll be a real grand guy.

© Lawrencealot – December 1,2014

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Decima Italiana


Décima, Décima Espinela, Espinela, the Décima Italiana and the Italian Décima Rima

  • Décima is a Spanish term of the 14th and 15th centuries referring to any 10 line stanza. In the 16th century, the poet adventurer Vencinente Espinela developed the Décima into the verse form of today the Décima orDécima Espinela or simply Espinela . By whatever title, it is commonly referred to as “the little sonnet”. 

    The Décima or Décima Espinela or Espinela is:

    • stanzaic, written in any number of 10 line stanzas.

    • syllabic, 8 syllables per line.

    • rhymed, abba : accddc . The colon represents a pause, therefore L4 should be end stopped.

    • composed with the 7th syllable of every line stressed. (This is probably easier to do in Spanish than in English.)

    • variable. There is a variation of the Espinela that is written in 12 line stanzas rhyme abba : accddcxd, x being unrhymed.


Pasted from  http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1029
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Turkey Gaffe (Décima)

My dad had a quirky turkey
that was thin as macaroni,
very skinny, and quite bony;
so dad turned him into jerky.
Dad’s neighbor thought that was quirky,
deemed all birds were meant for roasting,
all marshmallows meant for toasting,
what’s not fried was meant for baking.
Dad’s jerky he was forsaking
at the luncheon he was hosting.

© Lawrencealot – November 29, 2014

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The Cuarteto, Spanish for quartet, is an Argentine genre of music and also a stanzaic form which is simply a quatrain made up of rhymed hendecasyllabic lines.

The Cuarteto is:
• stanzaic, a poem made up of any number of quatrains.
• syllabic, hendecasyllabic (11 syllable) lines.
• rhymed, either abab or abba rhyme scheme.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1433
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Re-connected (Cuarteto)

I imagined hearing whispers from above
When my travels took me far away from you,
and from whence the whispers came I saw a view –
an image that must have been of you, my love.

Or perhaps the breeze had whispered through the tree
which had seemed to say, “Please hurry home my dear.”
I’ll accelerate the tasks that I have here
and return to one who means so much to me.
© Lawrencealot – November 23, 2014

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The Cantar in verse is an octosyllabic quatrain that assonates and is usually limited to one strophe. The form dates back to 15th century Spain. Cantar is the Spanish verb “to sing” and in Spanish literature is loosely used as a noun for the “words for a song”.

The Cantar is:
• a 4 line strophe written as a stand alone poem or combined with other forms such as the Seguidilla or Flamenca.
• syllabic, all lines written in 8 syllables.
• rhymed, L2 and L4 rhyme with assonance, sometimes true rhyme but generally not. L1 and L3 are unrhymed however the end syllable should be stressed.

Cantar by Judi Van Gorder

The windward breeze sings high tenor
while rolling waves play bottom bass
along the ragged shore. The song
of the ocean follows my day.

• The Cantiga is a predecessor of the Cantar. The Galician-Portuguese poetic genre was written between the 12th and 14th centuries. Rhythm and musicality were central while the words were limited. The themes were focused on the individual, a woman singing to her lover, a man to his lady, and the best known cantigas were about the miracles of the Virgin Mary. The frame of the Cantiga is at the poet’s discretion although 8 syllable lines are common.
• Cantiga de Amigo is a subgenre of the Cantiga, it is the female voice speaking of a lover. The voice could be the woman, her mother, her sister, or her friend, the subject is always the male lover. They are written in simple strophic forms, with repetition, variation, and parallelism, and most often include a refrain They are the largest body of female-voiced love lyrics of medieval times.
• The Seranilla (Spanish – little mountain song) is a short lined strophic sub genre of 14th century Galician-Portuguese cantigas. It is often a light hearted poem built around the meeting of a gentleman and a pretty country girl. It is often written in 5 syllable lines without prescribed number of lines or rhyme, both at the discretion of the poet. When written in octasyllabic lines it is called a Serrano.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1018
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Fear of Heights (Cantar)

Upon this precipice I sit
because I’m quite afraid to stand.
I’ll crawl away or maybe slink
for I’m an acrophobic man.

© Lawrencealot – November 19, 2014

Photo credit: Visual Photos.com

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The Canción, Spanish meaning song, now generally refers to any 16th century Spanish isostrophic poem with Italianate lines. It is the Spanish equivalent of the Italian Canzone. Verse forms that would be included in this genre are the Silva, the Lira and the Endecha. However the Canción, sometimes called the Petrarchan Canción, can be written in nonce verse and stand on its own. 

The Canción or the Petrarchan Canción is:
• isostrophic, written in any number of lines in a stanza or strophe although it is very often written in 13 line strophe, the pattern of which is fixed in each subsequent strophe.
• syllabic, Italianate lines, mixed lines of 7 and 11 syllables make up a stanza or strophe. L6 and L13 are ALWAYS 11 syllables. The pattern of line length of the first stanza, becomes a fixed pattern for subsequent stanzas. (Note: in Spanish prosody, a hendecasyllabic line always has the primary accent or stress on the 6th syllable.)
• rhymed, often the rhyme scheme begins abcabc . . . . . . .
• often ended with a shorter strophe called an envío. A short summary.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1027
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Sleek, dark, always a snob, Liliana was
beautiful, Italian with a Teutonic
half, from Trento in the Dolomites, Fascist
and Allies along the parental divide,
secretive, witty, seductive and quite rich.
She reasoned like a cloud of Italian bees.
Prowling the streets of San Francisco, daring
the rules of good sense, taste. She felt safest in
the Castro, safer yet in dark Mission bars
with pimps, prostitutes, Siliqua in drag than
in the unutterable quiet whiteness
of home: the Heights commanding that paradise
the Gate, the gold, the Bay, the sky and islands.
“Men in drag, acting out their fantasies,” she
said, “and Spanish lovers, will not murder me.”
With her buzzing, rich, visionary brain, she
she developed salons of art, museums,
she gave and gave her heart’s blood. Then suddenly
leaving paradise for Europe with a seed
of greed, she returned a Colonialist.
Empires to build! Money was not to her taste,
she bicycled, wore sweats, ate always at home,
but unobstructed institutes, foundations
conflagrated her dreams. Born precocious, world-
wise, she had escaped to adventure the earth
as a girl, ended playing bridge, exercise
machines, dominating waiters, surfeited
with late blooming desires to be the richest
of all, quite convinced, after a youth of art
and architecture, banquets, Nazi banknotes
in the attic trunks, that money was the root
of all power to do. Odd progress for her:
loving, enchanting, gifted, married to a
thumb-sized mate who, until late in life, she kept
camped in dolomite valleys outside her heart.
Pasted from http://janhaag.com/PODes067-099.html


Type:  Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Stanzaic
Description:  Six-line stanzas of eight-syllable lines rhymed either aabccb or ababcc.
Origin:  Spanish
Schematic:  Rhyme: aabccb or ababcc
Meter: xxxxxxxx
Rhythm/Stanza Length: 6

Pasted from http://www.poetrybase.info/forms/002/252.shtml

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


The Sextilla or sextuplet is originally a Galacian-Portuguese stanzaic form of the 14th century and can be found among the Cantigas with several rhyme variations. However the form as it has developed has now been limited to one of two rhyme schemes. The most famous sextillas are by Spanish poet Jorge Manrique Verses by the Death of His Father in 80 stanzas. 

The Sextilla is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of sixains.
• syllabic, most often 8 syllables per line, but sometimes less. (remember in Spanish prosody the syllable count really depends on where the last accented syllable falls, so a 7 syllable or a 9 syllable line can both be counted as 8 syllables.)
• rhymed, either aabccb or ababcc (When rhymed in the later scheme it is sometimes called a sestina. This should not to be confused with the more popular, French Sestina in which end words are repeated in lexical order).

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/1996-the-sextilla/
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.
My example

The Sun’s Set (Sextilla)

He stands there looking like he knows
the secret of how our sun glows.
A myth has been well propagated
that power – nuclear’s the source
(it fit the theory once of course),
but now new theories are debated.

Electromagnetism’s strong
and gravity alone is wrong.
The Birkland currents tell us how
but men are far from knowing why,
their power source, when will they die.?
Forecasting future’s out for now.

Since everything’s uncertain kid,
Let’s live today, be gald we did.
I’ll swing with you, you swing with me;
we’ll take a cruise beneath that sun
devoting time to having fun
The here and now is fine for me.

© Lawrencealot – August 20, 2014

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Copla de Arte Mayor

Copla de Arte  Mayor
The copla de arte mayor is a Spanish verse form. It’s an 8-line stanza rhyming abbaacca. Each line is of 12 syllables, with a specific metre. The stresses are on syllables 2, 5, 8 and 11 i.e. it is in amphibrachic tetrameter.

Don’t feed the troll!

Incontinent, ugly, destructive and smelly,
The troll is a loathsome and pitiful creature.
It lacks any pleasant or positive feature.
There’s hate in its heart and there’s bile in its belly.
You never should feed it – no, not on your Nelly!
It isn’t a candidate for conservation;
The world would improve with its elimination.
Let’s boot out the troll – go on, give it some welly!

I recently encountered a particularly unpleasant troll that took its pleasure from being abusive about other people’s poems. I feel better now, thank you.
Later: We have discovered that the troll was also a serial plagiarist.

Pasted from <http://volecentral.co.uk/vf/cdam.htm>
My thanks to Bob Newman for his years of work on the wonderful Volecentral resource.

My example poem

Mary Boren, Meter Maid (Copla de Arte Mayor)

When workshops of Mary’s were duly presented
attendees enhanced their own methods of writing.
Her critiques were kind, not demeaning or biting.
The participants found their skill sets augmented,
and friendships of poets therein were cemented.
No other impacted me more so than Mary
Her scansion of meter is extraord’nary.
Encounters with Mary will leave one contented.

© Lawrencealot – August 5, 2014

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( a poem of 8 lines)

Copla de Atre Mayor


The zejel is a Spanish form which my Spanish friends have not heard of. They tell me though that it is pronounced the-hell, with the stress on the second syllable. (How the hell do they know?)
My example in this form is about how men can’t help thinking about sex. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, and get me a reputation as a male chauvinist pig. As I’m always saying, the opinions expressed in the poem are not necessarily those of the poet himself. (See also my Masefield parody.) 
I checked on the web how many times a day men are reputed to think about sex. The consensus seemed to be that it was about 200. The lowest figure came from the Ladies Home Journal, which said “4 or 5”. The highest came from the film Simply Irresistible, which says 278 – apparently it uses this as a running gag. (One site actually topped this with a claim of “every 8 seconds”, which works out at 450 times an hour, but I think that writer may have been shooting from the hip, as it were.)
Anyway, here’s the poem:
Mostly, sex tops men’s agenda.
I’m not one to buck the trend – a
Red-blooded repeat offender.
Hurrying for the morning train,
Spirit not damped by teeming rain,
There’s only one thing on my brain:
All the time I think of gender.
At the office, deep in filing,
Boredom on frustration piling,
Even then, a woman smiling
Makes me feel all warm and tender.
Are you female and eighteen plus?
A good sport and adventurous?
We have a great deal to discuss.
Come back to my hacienda!
The first stanza, known as the mudanza, has three lines, rhyming aaa. All the other stanzas – as many of them as you like – have 4 lines, rhyming bbba, the a rhyme harking back to the first stanza. So the overall rhyming scheme for the poem is aaa/bbba/ccca/ddda/…
Colloquial language tends to be used, and 8-syllable lines are usual (though not obligatory), so that’s what I’ve used here. I have interpreted the term “8-syllable line” to mean “a line with 8 syllables”, and I suggest that you should do the same. However, in Spanish poetry syllable-counting works differently, and the term “8-syllable line” is liable to be interpreted as “a line in which the last stressed syllable is the seventh”; such a line might have 7 syllables, or 8, or 9, or even more. (I wonder whether the Spanish write haiku?
Pasted from <http://volecentral.co.uk/vf/zejel.htm>
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.
Example Poem
Toothless Smile      (Zejel)
The tortoise lived out on a heath
with only sage to hide beneath
his home he never could bequeath.
While I am taxed for my household
and pay and pay until I’m old,
and shall until I’m dead and cold
and I’m ensconced beneath a wreath.
My brilliant smile was once okay,
before my teeth all went away;
my progeny will have to say,
“He kept his house but lost his teeth.”
© Lawrencealot – April 16, 2014
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