Rhopalic Couplet

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

The Rhopalic Couplet, (Greek = club like or thicker at the end, also called Wedge Verse, first used by Homer in the Iliad 3.182,) a poetic unit of 2 rhopalic lines, each word progresses adding 1 more syllable than the preceding word in the line. The lines can either be parallel or the order can be reversed in the second line. The lines need not be rhymed.

x xx xxx xxxx
x xx xxx xxxx
x xx xxx xxxx
xxxx xxx xx x

My Example

Form: Rhopalic Couplet

Soothsayer (Rhopalic Couplet)

I predict recurring occurrences
by finding cyclical phenomena
that possess meaningful correlations
influencing selected target base.

© Lawrencealot – February 16, 2015


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

The Totok is a verse form in 4 unrhymed lines of anapestic tetrameter. I found this form in only one source although I was able to find that the word “Totok” refers to Cantonese immigrants that come to Thailand and tend to retain their Chinese language and customs.  The elements of the Totok are:

  1. a poem in 4 lines.
  2. accentual syllabic, anapestic tetrameter. uuS uuS uuS uuS
  3. unrhymed.


    A tick ticking of earth’s endless seasonal clock,
    though our Winter stayed late, Spring began without fanfare,
    silent sprouts broke the surface of frost covered ground
    slipping Spring forth with showers and flowers and light.
                                                 ~~ Judi Van Gorder

My Example

Form: Totok

Thinking Ahead

As the weather gets cooler and nights start to chill
and the holiday seasons promote our good cheer
and we wave to our neighbors out raking the leaves
we are thinking ahead to next summer’s warm days.

© Lawrencealot – February 2, 2015

Visual Template


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

Parallelogram de Crystalline

• Parallelogram de Crystalline is an invented verse form with a thematic focus. The subject is a lover and the lover should be described through images of nature. It was introduced by Karan Naidu. The Parallelogram de Crystalline is:
○ a poem in 12 lines, made up of 4 tercets.
○ syllabic 3-6-9 syllables per line for each tercet.
○ unrhymed.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=1195#parallelogram
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

My Love Awaits

My Love Awaits (Form: Parallelogram de Crystalline)

Her dark eyes
beckoned to me like an
unlit cave needing exploration.
lips accented by tongue’s
moisture were an opening flower.
The hills and
valleys of my homeland
wished their contours as pleasing as hers.
They whisper
on the evening breezes,
“Chase not follies; what awaits is life.”

© Lawrencealot – January 2, 2015

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Parallelogra de Crystalline


The Fatras, fatrasie, fratrasie, resverie, could be described as the ravings of a happy lunatic. The verse is joyously irrational with no clear direction and yet it has a unique defined structure. Originating in Europe in the Middle Ages it is upbeat, “full of wordplay, ridiculous associations, and intentional nonsense.” NPEOPP.

The Fatras is:
• a poem in 11 lines.
• composed in a way that the 1st and last lines form a distich, a poem in 2 lines, that holds the entire theme of the larger poem. This is known as the fatras simple.
• unmetered.
• unrhymed.
• written with clever wordplay and disconnected nonsense which set the tone.
• The fatras possible allows for some coherent text, the fatras impossible make no sense at all.
• a fatras double when 2 eleven line stanzas are formed, with the lines of the distich reversed in the 2nd stanza. The last line is a restatement of L1 of the poem

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=679#fatras
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Nothing’s in Something’s Way (Form: Fatras – simple)

If nothing takes up all the space then where will
something go? There’s nothing here, there’s nothing there,
So where’d I put my underwear? My closet’s full
of nothing, as is my chest-of-drawers. I want
a twirling thing-a-ma-whack that hoots and runs
around a track, my underwear I’d also
like. Grandpa’s teeth now share a glass with water
from the sink so he can drink while he can’t chew,
and still i have no clue about where I might
find that underwear of mine. I wonder how
things can be found when nothing’s already there.

© Lawrencealot -December 17, 2014

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The Joybell is another shape poem from Pathways.

When centered on the page it should form the outline of a bell. 

The Joybell is:
a hexastich, a poem in 6 lines.
syllabic, 1-2-2-2-4-4 syllables per line.

Many Thanks to Christina R Jussaume for her work on the Poetry Styles site.

My Example
Christmas Spirit (Joybell)

the load for each,
share your efforts.

© Lawrencealot – December 16, 2014


The Gzha is Tibetan folk poetry, a dance song.

The Gzha is:
• syllabic, written in 6 syllable lines, usually trochaic. The form ends with a spondee SS.
• written in 4 lines.
• unrhymed but parallelism is expected. The poem often employs internal consonance and assonance.

Super Sunday by Judi Van Gorder

Wearing pads and helmets
players fight for pig skin
ball. The Super Bowl is 
football’s final Big Game.

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=641
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.
Similarity of structure in a pair or series of related words, phrases, or clauses.
Also called parallel structure.
By convention, items in a series appear in parallel grammatical form:

a noun is listed with other nouns, an -ing form with other -ing forms, and so on.

My example

Seasonal Procrastination (Gzha)

Driving, walking, riding,
anxious always knowing
Christmas time is coming
I can’t wait, I must shop.
Next year I’ll do better
(promised that last Christmas.)
Seems the theme’s repeated
nearly every damn year.

© Lawrencealot – December 15, 2014

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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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For a fully comprehensive look at the Eintou verse form, please check Shakespearnoir, where much of my information came from. 

The Eintou is an African American poetry form consisting seven lines with a total of 32 syllables or words. The term Eintou is West African for “pearl” as in pearls of wisdom, and often the Eintou imparts these pearls in heightened language.

The Eintou developed as a means for African American poetic forms to take their place in the forefront of American poetry. Many African American poetic scholars and critics often attempted to mimic Euro-American forms as a means of demonstrating poetic expertise, or stood by “free-verse” as an African American form. It was rare to see serious examination of African American poetic forms; in fact most critics regarded African American poetry as “formless” or “mimicking.” 

The 2-4-6-8-6-4-2 structure of the Eintou is crucial in terms of African and African American philosophy. Life is a cycle. Everything returns to that from which it originates. The concept of a pearl, which is a sphere, and the cyclic nature of the Eintou’s structure capture this. The life of the Eintou begins with two syllables or words, expands as though growing and then returns to two syllables or words. In this fashion the Eintou never escapes its beginnings or history. It flows from, through, and ultimately returns to that from which it came.


Line 1 – 2 words/syllables
Line 2 – 4 words/syllables
Line 3 – 6 words/syllables
Line 4 – 8 words/syllables
Line 5 – 6 words/syllables
Line 6 – 4 words/syllables
Line 7 – 2 words/syllables

Although I’ve seen some examples that use a word count instead of a syllable count, I stuck to the syllable count in my examples:

I wish
Upon a star
Like the cricket advised
Pinocchio, Geppetto’s son.
But life’s no fairy tale,
My wishes don’t
Come true.

The words
Escape from me
Spilling onto the page
Where they find a life of their own
Leaving me far behind
Stumbling to
Catch up.

Pasted from http://randomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.com/2010/08/eintou.html
My thanks to Carol R Ware for the above contribution to the poetry community.

My example

Good Morning, Again (Eintou)

Get up
you lazy-bones.
Today beckons to you.
Put a smile on many faces.
Tomorrow I will say,
“You lazy-bones
Get up.”

© Lawrencealot – December 8, 2014