Poetic Forms: Two Week Special!


Hello Everyone!

Welcome to week six (and seven) 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.

This week isn’t actually going to be a week, but instead a fortnight, so I’ve decided to give you a couple of options to choose from! If you wanted to really challenge yourself, you could even do both, and I’ll be featuring my favourite poem in each style the Sunday after next so you have double the chance of being featured. What are your options then?

1. Rubaiyat

With a name like this, how can you not want to have a go? The Rubaiyat creates this engaging, almost echo effect rhythm, where the first two lines rhyme, then the third is different, and the fourth rhymes again to pull you back in. If you’re still unconvinced though, then read the example and I’m sure Frost will persuade you:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.


He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

If you’ve been following us from the start, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with one of these. It’s written in Iambic pentameter, which is ten syllables in each line and a rhythm of


Do not go gentle into that good night

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

The other thing you need to know is that the rhyme scheme is aaxa. There’s the option with the Rubaiyat to do as Frost has done above and have the rhymes loop around so then you’d have xxyx, but this isn’t necessary and a standard Rubaiyat doesn’t require the rhyme to carry on to the next stanza.

2. Rondelet

I was tempted to choose my latest obsession for the second form, but I think we’ll save that for another week and instead let’s stick to the r’s. The rondelet then is a brief form of poetry with repeated lines which help to build the atmosphere and it’s one of the first forms I ever fell in love with. There’s something simple, yet surprisingly beautiful, about a rondelet:

The Flowers of June

James T.White

The flowers of June
The gates of memory unbar:
The flowers of June
Such old-time harmonies retune,
I fain would keep the gates ajar,—
So full of sweet enchantment are
The flowers of June.

This is the part where I should admit that I haven’t written a rondelet since I was seventeen, but I will be taking pen and paper to Poole with me to reunite with the form.

What do you need to know to write a rondelet then? Let's take a look at the requirements 
for each line:

Line 1: A (4 syllables)
Line 2: b (8 syllables)
Line 3: A - a repeat of line 1
Line 4: a (eight syllables)
Line 5: b (eight syllables)
Line 6: b (eight syllables)
Line 7: A - repeat of line 1

Here, every 'a' line must rhyme with one another (including the repeated A line) and every 
'b' line must rhyme with other b lines. If you want to be extra creative, you could try 
stacking multiple rondelets on top of one another!

Good Luck everyone and I'll see you in two weeks.

** 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.

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4 Responses

  1. Niteowl says:

    Considering the example is in tetrameter, I highly doubt the Rubaiyat needs to be in pentameter.

    You just enjoy torturing us, don’t you? 😛

    • Heather says:

      xD No, that’s Frost using his poetic licence, but you’re more than welcome to do the same! Traditionally it’s meant to be in pentameter, but poets do have a habit of breaking the rules! The example is just too good not to use though, even if it isn’t a pure Rubaiyat.

      I’ve got a pretty liberal view toward poetic rules and as long as something is inspired by a certain form and follows at least most of the rules, I’m happy to accept it as an entry!

  2. Heather says:

    I return with one poem, but could not find inspiration for the other. It seems we both completed a different task though so I know which two poems to feature this afternoon 😉

    The Rain is Lost

    The rain is lost,
    the white sands stretch like diamond dust.
    The rain is lost,
    no more do flowers thrift with frost,
    there are not greens, there is not rust
    and I have not the lands I must.
    The rain is lost.

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