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

The Troisieme is a verse form introduced by Viola Berg. The content is broken into 4 parts, an introduction in the 1st tercet, an expansion in the 2nd tercet, a parallel or contrast in the 3rd tercet and a summary or conclusion in the couplet.The structural elements of the Troisieme are:

  1. stanzaic, written in 3 tercets followed by a couplet.
  2. syllabic, 3-5-7 3-5-7 3-5-7 9-9  syllables each.   
  3. unrhymed.

    It’s Finally Here

    have turned the corner,
    the Christmas season begins.

    boxed with care last year,
    unpacked and hung on the tree.

    Twinkling lights,
    and red bows adorn
    garland strung around the room.

    Candy canes and shaped sugar cookies
    fresh from the oven for you and me.
                                         ~~Judi Van Gorder

My Example

Form: Troisieme

Promised Ascension

Man alone will plot against his kind
because of words one man deemed were true.
They promote a life beyond this realm.

Dismiss all logic! Faith overcomes!
The next life counts promises much more.
Believe those words and your pain dissolves.

That others think those words are fiction
marks them somehow as threats deserving
Your enmity lest you come to doubt.

The plots and counter-plots marred reality
and placed our morality below the wolf.

© Lawrencealot – February 5, 2015


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.

The Trianglet is an invented shape poem found in Berg’s Pathways for the Poet. It forms the shape of a triangle and was created by Mina M Sutherland.  The elements of the trianglet are:

  1. a decastich, a poem in 10 lines.
  2. syllabic, 1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1 syllables per line.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme AbcxddxcbA
  4. composed with the 1st word repeated as the last word.

My Example

Form: Trianglet


don’t look
(at least to me),
but they’re protein-filled
and the fish seem thrilled
when presented

© Lawrencealot – February 4, 2015

Tree of Life

Tree of Life is an invented verse form written in the shape of a tree. Found at Poetry Styles (a site no longer accessible) and created by Christina Jusaumme who requests the subject of the poem be uplifting.

The Tree of Life is:

  • a poem in 19 lines.
  • syllabic, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-4-4-4-4-4-4.
  • unrhymed.
  • centered on the page.

My Example

Form: Tree of Life

Be Deciduous

that falls
on barren
limbs still may break
those boughs. None-the-less
the trees prepare themselves
by shedding platforms to which
snow would adhere, ensuring harm.
Bears can push through piles of snow, yet don’t.
They forecast and hibernate while snow falls.
It seems that man alone insists that he must
strive to thumb his nose and try to dance his forty
hour shuffle, weather be damned, inviting heart attacks.
Stock some lanterns
and candles too
stockpiles some food
that’s good for you
then read some books
and stay inside.

© Lawrencealot – February 3, 2015


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

Toddaidtodd-eyed is the 19th codified Welsh meter, an Awdl, and an uneven couplet often written in combination with other meters especially the 9 syllable couplet, cyhydedd hir.
The elements of the Toddaid are:

  1. stanzac, written in any number of couplets.
  2. syllabic, L1 is a 10 syllable line and L2 is a 9 syllable line.
  3. rhymed, the main rhyme aa – cc – dd etc.
  4. composed with gair cyrch following the main rhyme and caesura of L1. The gair cyrch end rhyme is echoed in the first half of L2 in secondary rhyme, assonance or consonance.
  5. sometimes written in a shortened version of 16 syllables, L1 is 10 syllables and L2 is only 6 syllables which is called a toddaid byr.
toddaid couplets
x x x x x x x A – x b
x x x x b x x x Ax x x x x x x C – x d
x x x d x x x x ca toddaid byr coupletx x x x x x x A – x b
x x x b x A
Nit digeryd Duw, neut digarat – kyrd
Neut lliw gwyrd y vyrd o veird yn rat;
Neut lliaws vrwyn kwyn knawlat— yghystud
O’th attall Ruffudd gwaywrud rodyat.
                                   Einion 15th century
Shere Kahn by Judi Van Gorder

The young calico keeping cool – eases
slow as she pleases upon the stool .
Her Bengal bones live nine lives – daring dogs,
chasing frogs, tiger dreams, kitten thrives.

My Example

Form: Toddaid


She wore a steampunk hat and bra – and shoes
She couldn’t lose; she was held in awe.
She was cocooned in metal ware – of course.
a visual force men would touch with care.

© Lawrencealot – February 2, 2015

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Star Sevlin

Star Sevlin is an invented shape poem that is supposed to form a star when centered on the page. It is found in Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg 1977 and was created by Lilliann Mathilda Svenson. The only example I found on the Internet today (1/30/2015) was a contest winner in 1951.

The Star Sevlin is:

  • a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines.
  • iambic syllabic, iambic 4/6/8/6/8/6/4 syllables per line.
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme abbcaca.
  • centered on the page.

My Example

Form: Star Sevlin

First One in 50 Years

I don’t know why
this form is called a star
and not Svenson’s. That’s how things are.
There isn’t much to find
Good samples are in short supply
Thus my blog was designed
lest old forms die.

© Lawrencealot – January 30, 2015

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Thai poetry.

• The Lilit is an alternating Raay and Kloang verse. Usually the Raay is used to describe the action and the Kloang is the dialogue.

The Lilit is:
○ stanzaic, alternating Raay couplets with Kloang quatrains.
○ syllabic, the couplets are 5 syllable lines and the quatrains are L1-L3 7 syllable lines and L4 is a 9 syllable line.
○ couplets composed with a chain, linking the lines of the couplet and linking the stanzas.
○ rhymed, composed with cross, interlaced and end rhyme .

x x x x a
a x x x b
b x x x c x d
x x x x d x c
x x x x d x e
x x x x c x x x e
e x x x f
f x x x g
g x x x h x i
x x x x i x h
x x x x i x j
x x x x h x x x j

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Chain: A series of verses or stanzas in which the last word of the verse or stanza is repeated as the first word of the next verse or stanza.

Cross rhyme: When the end word rhymes with a word in the middle of the next line

Interlaced rhyme: A word in the middle of one line rhymes with a word in the middle of another.

My Example

Form: Lilit


Stop and take a look.
Look at what I’ve found.

“Found something, new you say?”
While it’s okay to view
the form that way, it’s old
in fact, which you can now behold.

Behold it’s Thailand.
Thailand’s ancient verse.

Verse once inscribed on walls
and in great halls described
is something called new now
what was transcribed– ignored somehow.

© Lawrencealot – January 29, 2015

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The Kloang is stanzaic verse usually of proverbs originating in Thailand. One source suggests the Kloang attempts to capture the rhythm of oar strokes on the water. A Thai landmark Phra Mondob (Scripture Hall) built in the 19th century is decorated with Thai Verse proverbs called Kloang Lokaniti engraved on the outer-walls . The form is considered poetry of the intellectual because of its complicated tonal and rhyme patterns. Along with the Raay, it is one of the oldest forms of Thai poetry. It was developed when the Thai language had only 3 tones, high, low and neutral, the language now has 5 tones. The tonal pattern of the Kloang creates a unique rhythm which is its defining feature and impossible to emulate in English.

Thailand’s honored poet Sunthorn Phy’s (1786-1855) most exciting adventure poem “Nirat Suphan” was written in the Kloang form.

The Kloang is:

  • syllabic. L1, L2, L3 are 7 syllables each, L4 is 9 syllables.
  • stanzaic, written with any number of quatrains.
  • composed with an interweaving or cross rhyme scheme. The end word of L1 rhymes with the 5th syllables of L2 and L3. The end word of L2 rhymes with the 5th syllable of L4. L3 and L4 end rhyme.
  • is most often a poem of nature.
  • tonal which is impossible in the English language.

x x x x a x b
x x x x b x a
x x x x b x c
x x x x a x x x c

Arctic Love —Judi Van Gorder

Gnarly feet trudge on the ice,
eighty miles entice a pawn
of nature, the price to mate,
four year cycle drawn up to create

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Kloang

East Coast Storm

In the east there’s snow and ice,
for some that’s not nice you know.
Driving now takes twice the time
and air traffic flow’s far from sublime.

© Lawrencealot – January 27, 2015

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Tengahan Wukir

Javanese poetry was originally meant to be sung for an audience, not read in private.

• Tengahan Wukir meter is a form of Kidung (songs) that marries the stanza length with the meter used. They were written for all occasions up until the mid 1500s.

The Tengahan Wukir is:
○ stanzaic, can be written in any number of 9 line stanzas.
○ syllabic, 10-6-8-7-8-8-8-8-8 syllables per line.
○ composed in a pattern of vowel sounds in the end syllable, not necessarily rhyme. Vowel sounds pattern, u-e-i-u-u-e-u-a-a.

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

I could find NO EXAMPLE online, so I won’t try to resuscitate this form.


Tanka, 短歌 “short song” is meant to be filled with personal and emotional expression. The tanka expresses feelings and thoughts regardless of the direction they take. Originally there was also an attempt to connect these thoughts and feelings to nature. The tanka, unlike the haiku, may use figurative expressions such as metaphor or simile. The form is less rigid, more casual than the haiku. It allows the imagination to help the poet express feelings.

The tanka is a descendant of the waka, one of the earliest Japanese forms and dates back to the 8th century. The description of the waka and tanka are separated by a thin line, mostly time. However the tanka is defined more by content and style than syllabic prescription, still most tanka like its ancestor the waka are confined by 31 onji or syllables and broken into 5 lines of 5-7-5-7-7.

Members of the royal court were expected to write tanka and it was often exchanged as communication, including being passed as love notes. It became the concluding stanza of the communal linked Renga. Classic Japanese Tanka were collected in anthologies that were sponsored by members of the royal court. One of the most prominent writers of the 9th century was a woman, Ono no Komachi, still admired for her work. When a tanka is satirical it is sometimes referred to as a kyoka or “crazy poem”.  

The form addressed themes as natural beauty, love, the impermanence of life, the activities of the common people and separation. “To be touched by things” “mono no aware” is an important idea in tanka writing as well as the later developed Haiku. A Tanka String is a group of tankas written around the same theme and strung together in no particular order.

The elements of the tanka are:

  1. syllabic, 31 or less syllables, most commonly 5-7-5-7-7, in variation the lines are best kept with odd numbered syllables.
  2. normally but not always a 5 line poem, the 5 line pattern however does seem to prevail.
  3. defined by content and style more than the syllabic prescription. But there is still a pattern of short and long lines rather than a metered equal length.
  4. written as a personal or emotional expression of themes such as natural beauty, love, the impermanence of life, the activities of the common people
  5. composed with the priority of “to be touched by things” “mono no aware” and use of concrete images.

I wait for you

Oh! With tender passion

As in my house

The bamboo blinds stir

Blown by autumn wind

—Princess Nukada (7th century)

 See how the blossoms

That are falling about me

Fade after long rain

While, quietly as in prayer,

I have gazed my life away.

— Ono no Komachi (9th century)


I shut my eyes

But nothing whatsoever

Surfaces in my mind

In my utter loneliness

I open them up again

—Takuboku (19th century)


chill of soundless night

without your breath near my ear

pillow untended

lies on cold and empty bed

waits for heat of your return. . .

— Judi Van Gorder


Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Tanka


we met, teased, became attached
we were connected
the physical meeting
was merely confirmation

© Lawrencealot – January 26, 2015

Spenserian Quintilla

The Spenserian Quintilla is an American stanzaic form which was first recognized by Miller Williams in Patterns of Poetry when he notes a Spenserian variation framing The Second Best Bed by Howard Nemerov, he called it the Spenserian Quintilla.

The Spenserian Quintilla is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains.
• syllabic, L1-L4 are 8 syllables each, L5 is 12 syllables.
• rhymed, axabb cxcdd etc x being unrhymed.

The Second-Best Bed by Howard Nemerov

Consider now that Troy has burned
—Priam is dead, and Hector dead,
And great Aeneas long since turned
Away seaward with his gods
To find, found or founder, against frightful odds.

And figure to yourselves the clown
Who comes with educated word
To illustrate in mask and gown
King Priam’s most illustrious son
And figure forth his figure with many another one

Of that most cremented time
In times have been or are to be
Inhearsed in military rime;
And will recite of royal fates
Until, infamonized among those potentates

By a messenger from nearer home,
His comedy is compromised
And he must leave both Greece and Rome
Abuilding but not half begun,
To play the honest Troyan to a girl far gone.

The wench lived on, if the son died—
All Denmark wounded in one bed
Cried vengeance on the lusty bride,
Who could not care that there would follow,
After the words of Mercury, songs of Apollo.

———— from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov 1977

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Spenserian Quintilla

2nd Thoughts

Thoughts conjured up within my brain
I sometimes think are mine alone
but how on earth does one explain
insights (which I admit are rare)
appearing suddenly (it seems) and from nowhere?

The brain’s impulses it is known
are electrical fields at work,
that’s something that’s been clearly shown.
The magnetism thus invoked
extends to common pools, which maybe I evoked.

© Lawrencealot – January 25, 2015

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