Poetic Forms: The Terza Rima


Hello Everyone!

Welcome to week three of poetic forms, where every week I introduce a different type of poem and invite you to give it a go! As an added incentive to take part, the best poem every week is featured on the Writing Gooder blog on Sunday afternoon, alongside a brief analysis by myself.

To enter a poem, make sure it’s written in this week’s style and then either post a link to it in a comment below, or post the full text of the poem.

The Terza Rima

This week we’re looking at The Terza Rima, which was one of my first introductions to poetry. I think the best thing about this form is how subtle it can be and how gently it holds the poet’s words and themes together. Let’s take a look at how Frost engages his readers with the form:

Acquainted with the Night

Robert Frost (1874-1963)


I have been one acquainted with the night. (a)

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. (b)

I have outwalked the furthest city light. (a)


I have looked down the saddest city lane. (b)

I have passed by the watchman on his beat (c)

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. (b)


I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet (c)

When far away an interrupted cry (d)

Came over houses from another street, (c)


But not to call me back or say good-bye; (d)

And further still at an unearthly height (e)

One luminary clock against the sky (d)


Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. (e)

I have been one acquainted with the night. (e)


How to do it

The Terza Rima is traditionally a 14 line poem, but can be extended or shortened. Each of the early stanzas consists of three lines, where the first and third rhyme with one another, while the second line rhymes with the first and second of the next stanza. The poem usually ends with a rhyming couplet, which also rhymes with the middle line of the previous stanza. This is represented as: aba bcb cdc ded ee

A Terza Rima also consists of lines written in Iambic Pentameter. This is ten syllables in length and a rhythm of


I have been one aquainted with the night

Every second word should be a stress word, or have the ability to be stressed.

Good Luck Everyone!

** Image owned by Enokson at Flickr.


Heather, who goes by Rydia on YWS, has long been an aspiring author. In the early days of her life she attached herself to poetry and would curl up on the playground bench to scrawl down lines of forgotten virtue. Or, more likely, little virtue at all. At the very old age of 11, she joined The Young Writers Club and progressed into the realms of roleplay. Here she constructed characters to fight off dragons or rally to their allies' aid with healing spells; a joint love of gaming heavily influenced this fondness of adventure storybooks. A few more years went by before Heather became a serious novelist and she still considers poetry to be her favourite media for getting those thoughts down on paper. Outside of writing her loves include puzzle books, strategy/ fantasy games, movies, swimming, skiing (when she actually has money), crafty things, baking, food in general, fun pranks and anything involving snow.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Niteowl says:

    Well it’s one of the most suck-tastic things I’ve written in a while, but I managed to double-dip with Cadi’s challenge, so…bonus points? 😛


    • Heather says:

      Definitely bonus points! I really struggled with mine so it’s still half finished:

      One night I found an asteroid in my loft,
      the sudden bulk of drowned Atlantis sprung
      and firm it lodged, this ancient Albatross;

      the metal husk of space, the fossil lung
      concave where once in time it may have bulged
      with life that made my own seem very young.

      For days I sat aloft and he divulged
      the secrets of another age to me.
      For weeks I sat unmoved and he infused

      the spirit of a dying deity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *