Short Measure

Meter: Iambic trimeter, EXCEPT line three which is iambic tetrameter
Rhymed: xaxa xbxb …
Short Measure or Short Meter, is:
  • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains. When written in octaves doubling the short measure quatrains, the verse form is called Double Short Measure.
  • metered, most often L1, L2, L4 iambic trimeter, L3 is iambic tetrameter.
  • rhymed, Rhyme scheme xaxa xbxb etc x being unrhymed.
  • called Poulter’s Measure when consolidated into 2 lines.
My thanks to Judi Gorder for creating the wonderful resource above.
Example Poem
Audition      (Short Measure)
The teacher greeted her,
the girl with hair in bun.
She wrote his lectures in a book,
as though his words were fun.
At work she did her job,
and filled the bosses cup.
Her brightness and congenial help
seemed never to let up.
In church she sat with legs
so primly crossed, and hands
reclining folded in her lap,
decorum church demands.
With me she is alive
and dresses to entice.
She shows some cleavage and some thigh,
the both of which are nice.
I’m looking seriously.
and want not just a tart.
her looks had hooked and reeled me in,
her mind got her the part.
   © Lawrencealot – January  6, 2013
Visual Template


A short narrative poem with stanzas of two or four lines and usually a refrain. The story of a ballad can originate from a wide range of subject matter but most frequently deals with folk-lore or popular legends.
They are written in straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Most ballads are suitable for singing and, while sometimes varied in practice, are generally written in ballad meter, or common meter, i.e., alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with the last words of the second and fourth lines rhyming. (xaxa)
Example Poem
Part of a composite poem called
Loves Lost
When cancer took my mom away
I wished it had been me.
Yet Johnnie’s pain was just the same,
that anyone could see.
I took the emo route and thought
I’d maybe end my life.
Then Johnny took up guiding reins
no longer held by wife.
He brought me back from self-abuse
and stopped me being wild.
He gave me strength and sound advice
a mother gives her child.
He told me my virginity
was not for common guys;
it was a one-time gift to give
to true love as a prize.
“To honor your mom, succeed now
and in your coming life.”
He cared for me relentlessly
while having now no wife.
My love for Jonny, grew with me,
(for I’d begun to bloom.)
I fantasized about my  “dad”
when lonely in my room.
He was a “hunk” my girl-friends thought.
I’d always shared that view.
Two hundred pounds of sculptured male
and standing six-foot-two.
My want was such I had to touch
his beauty every day.
I’d accidently show down blouse
and make my cute butt sway.
And when I’d sit upon his lap
before “goodnights” were said,
I’d feel him grow and I would know,
what he would do in bed.
Then one warm summer day instead
of sitting I just rode
his leg.  It was spontaneous
and caused me to explode.
His want was clear, but one lone tear
I saw roll down his face.
He thought accepting offered gift
would be his life’s disgrace.
We talked and hugged and he held
me closely while he said,
“My sweetheart Ann, when you’re eight-teen
I think that we should wed.
© Lawrencealot – November 10, 2012

Rionnaird tri-nard (RUN-ard tree-nard)

Rionnaird tri-nard (RUN-ard tree-nard), traditional Irish quatrain
form with 6-syllable lines ending in 2-syllable words,
L2 and L4 riming and L3 in consonance thereto (meaning in this case,
I gather, vowel-agreement rather than consonant-agreement,
having at one time meant the same thing as assonance),
alliteration in every line (ideally between the end-word and the
preceding stressed word), two cross-rimes in the 2nd couplet,
and the 1st stressed word of L2 alliterating with the last syllable of L1.
 Being Irish, it requires the dunedh, to end where it began
(first word, phrase, or line repeated in closing).
Example Poem
Inviting just by sight,
almost tinsel trapping,
stilletoed toes tripping,
in her sheer hose wrapping.
She’s surely sensuous;
Suggests sex is waiting,
waits while will is wilting.
Still fates are Inviting.
(c) Lawrencealot – May 17, 2012
Visual Template
I see here now that I have failed, if indeed every line
is to end in two-syllable words.  Ah well, close.

Séadna (shay'-na)

Séadna is:
    1. written in any number of quatrains.
    2. syllabic 8-7-8-7.
    3. written with L1 and L3, 2 syllable end words; L2 and L4, 1 syllable end words.
    4. rhymed. L2 and L4 end rhyme, L3 rhymes with the stressed word preceding the final word of L4. There are two aicill-rhymes in the second couplet.
    5. composed with alliteration in each line, the final word of L4 alliterating with the preceding stressed word. The final syllable of L1 alliterates with the first stressed word of L2.x x x x x x (x a)
      x a x x x x b
      x x x b x x (x c)
      x b x c x x b

Many thanks to John Clitheroe for his work on the PoetsGarret site.

Séadna (shay’-na):
A quatrain stanza of alternating octosyllabic lines with disyllabic endings and heptasyllabic lines with monosyllabic endings. Lines two and four rhyme, line three rhymes with the stressed word preceding the final word of line four. There are two cross-rhymes in the second couplet. There is alliteration in each line, the final word of line four alliterating with the preceding stressed word. The final syllable of line one alliterates with the first stressed word of line two.
B x x x x x (x a)
x x x x x x b
x x x x c x (x c)
x b x c x x B
Caring for the watercolor
I find you looking at me there
Blush to white palor, dim valor,
Thus, where its blue core had found care.
Kathy Anderson
Example poem
Fight on Poet
Fight on against fear of failure;
cure your weary will and fright.
Pursue dreams; ignore cause killing
themes, write– winning thrilling fight.
(c) Lawrencealot – July 4, 2012
Visual Aid
This is my 2nd attempt to write specs for this form.  It is without a doubt the most demanding poetry form I have encountered.  Since it is not possible to make a template that is much more than the equivalent of house plans on a napkin, handed to an architect…I have included the check list I referred to repeatedly while writing this one verse poem.
Besides being overly challenged for a long while; I chose a one verse poem so I could demo the Line 4 2nd word rhyme, and the first-last unity.
Enjoy…this form will help fight off dementia.