We have moved!

This blog is no longer actively updated. You can now find us at http://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Domino Ryme

  • Domino Rhyme  is a very clever innovation of Bob Newman which can be found at his site as well as many others on the internet. Much like a slinky, rhymes tumble from stanza to stanza, it is something he calls "remote rhyming".

     Domino Rhyme is:
    • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
    • metered, written in a loose tetrameter. Lines should be same length.
    • rhymed. L2 and L3 of the first stanza rhyme with L1 and L4 of the next stanza and so on down until the last stanza when L2 and L3 rhyme with L1 and L4 of the first stanza. abcd befc eghf gijh ... iadj.

 Thanks to Judi Van Gorder of PMO.

Domino rhyme
A poem in domino rhyme is written in four-line stanzas, within which there are no rhymes at all. However, every line rhymes with a line in another stanza. Specifically, lines 2 and 3 of each stanza rhyme with lines 1 and 4 respectively of the next stanza. The final stanza completes the loop, its lines 2 and 3 rhyming with lines 1 and 4 of the first stanza.
Here are the opening few stanzas of a poem written in this form:
from Inspiration Fails

They don’t come to me here, the girls
My self-restraint should draw. Who knows       
What force might motivate them; why
Most other hermits pack them in.
My fount of inspiration flows
Most fecund when the buckie ears
Of buxom women spur it onward.
One tender bite: I versify
In buckets. But it’s many years
Since last I penned a plangent ode.
My old kerchief still bears the knot
I tied then. Why? Remembering’s hard,
For Lethe’s bitter wind has blowed,
Or current swept my thoughts away.
Some lesser poet conjured it -
He’ll be remembered; I, forgot.
This is the sequel to a poem called Inspiration Falls, and it carries on for quite a lot longer.
Why Domino rhyme? 
The idea is to rhyme without the reader consciously noticing, because the rhymes are unusually far apart - what I call "remote rhyming". With the poem laid out as above, the pattern is relatively easy to spot - but remove the gaps between the stanzas, and the reader is likely to be satisfyingly baffled. 
I call this particular rhyming scheme "domino rhyme" for two reasons. First, because the rhymes ripple through the poem like toppling dominoes. Second, because one of the most popular domino games is called Fives and Threes (or Threes and Fives!) and here pairs of rhyming lines are always either five or three lines apart.
Note for Logophiles
In the example above, each stanza is built around an obscure word which does not actually appear in the poem. (This is not an essential part of the verse form!) The words are: agapetae early churchwomen who lived with celibate men; gynotikolobomassophile one who likes to nibble women’s earlobes; quipu mnemonic knots in ancient Peru; castrophrenia: the belief that enemies are stealing ones thoughts.
Similar forms
I only know of one other verse form in which every line rhymes, but all the rhymes are external. This is rimas dissolutas

 Thanks to Bob Newman.

My Example Poem

Humility Earned     (Domino Rhyme)

She does not think less of herself
for acts she did when she was young
The scars she has are not displayed
invoked, or played upon at all.

New melodies are being sung
by youngsters facing tempting threats.
She works with them in song and verse
her voice each morning an aubade.

She's risen above her regrets,
and frets not at all 'bout her past
She harvests beauty floating by,
considers grumpiness a curse.

No opportunity's your last
mistakes like read books on a shelf
are simply signposts for us all
take note, move on, spread wings, and fly.

© Lawrencealot - December 31, 2013

Visual Template


Structure, End Word Requirement, Isosyllabic
10-keyword version of a sestina for 105 lines.
Attributed to:
Bob Newman
End-word enfolding pattern:
Rhythm/Stanza Length:
Line/Poem Length:

A big thanks to Bob Newman.

  • Decrina is a longer version of the Sestina attributed to Bob Neuman but I couldn't find it at his website Poetry By Way. I did find it at Poetry Basehowever. Having written a Sestina, I can't imagine why anyone would even consider attempting a longer version of the form.

    The Decrina is:
    • stanzaic, ten 10 line stanzas with a 5 line envoy, a total of 105 lines.
    • metered, lines of equal length, like the Sestina, iambic pentameter or iambic tetrameter.
    • repeated end words in a specific pattern. (Numbers represent words)

      I can only assume the envoy is like the Sestina with even #ed words midline and odd #ed words as end words. 0-9,8-7,6-5,4-3,2-1

A big thanks to Judi Van Gorder

My Example Poem
Non-Compliant (Decrina)
Catherine born of Spanish royalty
was destined from her crib to be a queen.
Fredinand and Isabel ruled people
of Aragon, Leon and Castile, all
with an unquestioned linage their daughter
would inherit with devotion to God
through Catholicism that never wavered.
At age of three a treaty pledged the crown
of English queen would be reserved forher,
she spent her youth preparing for that time.

She was to wed Arthur and become queen
when he ascended the throne but all
was modified, first by the acts of God
Then by the machinations of the crown.
Henry the seventh wanted at one time
to wed her to enhance his royalty
That would never help the Spanish people
or King; there'd be no role for his daughter,
in kingdom's design; he never wavered
for Ferdinand expected much from her.

She was Princess of  Wales and loved by all
before young Arthur died.  She had no crown
and now was no part of the royalty.
A treaty next pledged Ferdinand's daughter,
to Arthur's brother, Henry who liked her
and who when his father died made her queen
immediately, now assured by God
and Pope, that Catherine was at that time
still virgin. Still embraced by the people
who in their respect had never wavered.

When Henry the eighth put upon the crown
he relished the insights of the daughter,
of the King of Spain, her input as queen
conjoined the countries int'rests for a time
but the queens love for Henry n'er wavered.
Their first years, a romantic time for all,
and they elevated the royalty
to a source of pride.  Henry trusted her
advice counsel and shared her love of God.
The kings court improved things for the people.

The queens first child was a still-born daughter,
a year later she birthed a son, this time
alive but he died soon after.  In all,
she bore six children- all of them but her
fifth, Mary, died to the grief of people
now hoping for an heir.  To keep the crown
safe was deemed the prime duty of the queen.
The king's interest in his wife wavered,
and in search of continued royalty
he bedded many not consulting God.

Despite that, he shared power for a time
and while Henry fought in France it was her
direct leadership that won for the crown
more important campaigns; the troops wavered
not one bit with her and her faith in God.
It was three years later that her daughter,
Mary was born and lived; she focused all
That she did thereafter to give people
That her daughter might someday be queen.
She fought to preserve Mary's royalty

When Henry's mistress, Bessie Blont had her
son, he was deemed a prince. he King wavered
then in his devotion to his daughter.
The queen had always wanted the people
to have the schooling there for royalty
and strengthened women's options over time
and educated Mary for the crown.
She always placed her faith in her one God.
So while she lived she worked and gave her all
that her own daughter, Mary might be queen.

Wanting Anne Boleyn, he never wavered
after demanding a divorce. People
hated, and taunted Anne at any time
she would appear in public so  both God
and man seemed to be aligned with the queen.
Thus the King denounced his faith to wed her
and changed the religious world his daughter,
would face with rage in her own royalty.
Now God, and man must answer to the crown.
Catherine loved King Henry through it all.

With royal supremacy the law, people
had to abandon now their Catholic God
and accept the Church of England but her
majesty refused. Stripped of royalty
And power by the announced divorce, all
hope seemed gone, yet she sill never wavered.
She refused inciting war at that time
though there was talk of war to save the queen.
She was not allowed to see her daughter.
Visitors required assent by the crown.

In lesser castles she still beseeched God
and behaved with apparent royalty.
Her support of Mary never wavered
though some were killed for thinking as the queen,
that Mary ought to someday wear the crown.
The winds of change ignore simple people
but history's cyclone paid heed to her.
I'm not a fan of religion at all;
in tolerance the harvest all the time,
to wit: Bloody Mary, the queen, her daughter.

Despite the royalty of Henry's time
revoking her claim to possess the crown
she never wavered for that sake of God
and for her daughter, Mary, through it all
the English people always deemed her queen.

© Lawrencealot - December 30, 2013

Visual Template


Structure, Metrical Requirement, End Word Requirement, Isosyllabic
Bob Newman has taken the general idea of the sestina and extended it both upwards and downwards from the six-line stanza it normally uses. The Bina is the two-line stanza version. Like the sestina, it is preferable to use isosyllabic lines.
Attributed to:
Bob Newman
End word repetition pattern:
Envoy: (12)
It is much shorter and more practical that the sestina.
Having shorter stanzas, the end words come back very quickly, so while it isn't as repetitive and possibly monotonous as the sestina, they will be a very strong presence in the poem. This could make the poem somewhat comic, intentionally or not.
Starting Point:
Because it is only five lines, the flexibility of the end words is not nearly as important as in the sestina; however, they should be chosen well enough that they can be used three times each in five lines and not grate on the nerves.
Rhythm/Stanza Length:
Line/Poem Length:


An even smaller variation with just 2 keywords and 5 lines is possible; we may as well call this the bina, then we can have:
Wry Bina

When young Michelle was thirsty, she would long
For “that blackcurrant drink - is any left?”
I wonder, now that she’s grown up and left,
If maybe I indulged her for too long.
When in the tooth she’s long, she’ll have none left.

A big thank you to Bob Newman

My Example

Trained Wives     (Bina)

The earning of money has been up to me,
the spending of it's been up to my wives.
I've tried adjusting by taking new wives
but they've all done their jobs better than me.
The question for me is who trains those wives?

© Lawrencealot - December 26, 2013

Visual Template


An awdl is a Welsh ode. Awdlau (that's the plural) come in twelve different varieties, and it will take me a while to get through them all (if I ever do). All the poems on this page will be awdlau. 
There are 24 Welsh standard verse forms altogether. The other twelve are made up of eight kinds of englyn and four kinds of cywydd.
One important reservation: I believe all Welsh-language awdlau are required to exhibit some kind of cynghanedd in every line. In the descriptions below, this will not be mentioned (and in the examples, I will not attempt it). It is just too difficult and complicated for us non-Celts. If you really want to get to grips with this, I recommend the book Singing in Chains (see books page). 
As Confucius once remarked, the page of a dozen awdlau begins with a single form:
Hir a Thoddaid
According to Singing in Chains, the Hir a Thoddaid is the most common form of awdl nowadays. Here's a silly example:

I take back what I said about your knees -
They hardly knock at all. Forgive me, please.
My meaning and my words are chalk and cheese.
I love to cuddle you. You’re not obese.
I have caught a rare disease of the heart
When I see you I start to want to sneeze.

I didn’t mean to speak ill of your chin.
In pointing out it emphasised how thin
Your body was, I thought I’d make you grin.
Is paying you such compliments a sin?
I see I’ll have to discipline my tongue -
The songs I would have sung must stay within.

I’m sure that I did not suggest your arms’
Uneven lengths failed to augment your charms.
Believe me, love, they caused me no alarms.
I’ve seem far worse on girls from local farms.
A little skewness often calms me down.
So please, my love, don’t send round the gendarmes.

I never did complain about your nose,
Although it’s quite surprising that you chose
That singular proboscis. I suppose
It makes you quite distinctive, like your clothes.
More easily described in prose than verse,
You’re better active, worse when in repose.

And darling, though it’s true I said you smelt,
I meant “of roses”, honestly! I’d spelt
It out clearly. I don’t know why you felt
That I’d been less than kind. You’re sweet, you’re svelte,
My poor heart raced when I knelt to request
Your hand. Your bum’s the best I’ve ever felt.

Each line has 10 syllables - in no particular metre, though I seem to have lapsed into iambic pentameter here. All lines of each stanza, except for the penultimate one, rhyme together in the conventional way. The penultimate line rhymes with them all in an unconventional way - its seventh, eighth or ninth syllable contains the rhyme. Furthermore, the word at the end of the penultimate line rhymes with a word somewhere in the middle of the last line. In the first stanza above, for example, there's disease/sneeze and heart/start
The first 4 lines are the hir, and the last two are the toddaid (which mutates to thoddaid when you put the phrase together, due to the endearing pecularities of the Welsh language). The hir can have 2 lines or 6, rather than the 4 used here, but all its lines must always rhyme together. 
The books by Hopgood and Skelton agree about this form, and that's good enough for me. Some sites on the web say the last line should have only 9 syllables, but I suspect they are wrong. 

And if you don't believe CYNGHAHEDD makes this difficult poetry to write, with the expertise to determine is praiseworthy or even correct limited to a few Welsh and a very few other poets, take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about it

I have found little joy in reading such poems as they almost always appear stilted.

So I am (after viewing others) going with Bob Newman's interpretation and recommendation - let those writing in English write enjoyable poetry.

Here is my example poem:

Crinoline Tease (Hir a Thoddaid)

You dressed in fancy silks and satin clothes 
and feather boas, hats, and nylon hose, 
and crinoline as well to augment those. 
and not in frequently you would expose 
a flash of flesh to decompose a guest. 
I liked that best, and therefore I proposed. 

Somehow you liked me wearing my plainclothes. 
You ate me up with eyes just like a doe's. 
When we're together we forget our woes 
I thrill to sit nearby when you repose 
and lean and touch you with my nose and lips 
and touch your breast and hips while still you pose. 

© Lawrencealot - December 26, 2013

Visual Template

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


This is a complex form for which I found disparate specifications on the internet.
What is certain is
It is an old Welsh form
It is syllabic, usually 9/9/10/9
It is stanzaic, usually quatrains or sestets
It is rhyming, usually mono-rhyme of the 9 syllable lines
And with internal and/or interleaved rhyme for the long line.

Here are the better references I used:

The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and matching end rhymes on lines 1, 2, and 4. The variations are made in that third line:
  • One version has an internal rhyme within the third line. So there’s a rhyme somewhere within the third line with the end rhyme on the third line.
  • The other version has an internal rhyme within the third line that rhymes with an internal rhyme in the fourth line.
In both cases, the rhyme starts somewhere in the middle of the third line and it is a unique rhyme to the end rhyme in lines 1, 2, and 4.
Here’s a possible diagram for the first version (with the x’s symbolizing syllables):
Note: The “b” rhyme in the middle of line 3 could slide to the left or right as needed by the poet.
Here’s an example I wrote for the first version:
“Cheat,” by Robert Lee Brewer
The rumors you’ve heard are true: I run
to forget my past. What I have won,
I’ve lost in lasting memories, blasting
through my brain like bullets from a gun.

As you can see, “run,” “won,” and “gun” rhyme with each other, as do “lasting” and “blasting.”

Here’s a possible diagram for the second version:
Note: In this version, both “b” rhymes can slide around in their respective lines, which affords the poet a little extra freedom.
Here’s my example modified for the second version:
“Cheat,” by Robert Lee Brewer

The rumors you’ve heard are true: I run
to forget my past. What I have won,
I’ve lost in lonley moments, my sorrow
my only friend while others are stunned.

In this version, “run,” “won,” and “stunned” rhyme (okay, “stunned” is a slant rhyme), while “lonely” and “only” rhyme inside lines 3 and 4.
Please play around with the form this week, because it’ll be the focus of the next WD Poetic Form Challenge starting next week.

A big thanks to Robert Lee Brewer

Gwawdodyn, gwow-dód-in-heer (gwad = poem) is the 20th codified, Official Welsh Meter, an Awdl. It is a combination of a cyhydded naw ban couplet followed by either a toddaid or cyhydedd hir couplet.The Gwawdodyn is:
  • is stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains made up of a Cyhydedd Naw Ban couplet followed by either a Toddaid or Cyhydedd Hir.
  • syllabic, L1,L2,L4 are 9 syllable lines and L3 is a 10 syllable line.
  • when written with a cyhydedd hir couplet the stanza is
    • rhymed aaba, with L3 internal rhyme and L4 cross rhymed b.
  • when written with a Toddaid
    • mono-rhymed.
    • composed with gair cyrch following the main rhyme and caesura of L3. The gair cyrch end rhyme is echoed in the first half of L4 in secondary rhyme, assonance or consonance.
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x b x x x x b
x x x x b x x x a

x x x x x x x x c
x x x x x x x x c
x x x x d x x x x d
x x x x d x x x a

with Toddaid
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x b - x c
x x x x c x x x b

x x x x x x x x d
x x x x x x x x d
x x x x x x x e - x f
x x x x f x x x e
House of Stone Turns to Sand by Judi Van Gorder

Ballots stolen, voters turned away,
but dead men will vote twice on the day.
No new fields to plow, there is no work now, 
no sweat on the brow, no one to care?

Mugabe builds his army of boys
they now shoulder guns instead of toys
He took back white-farms without care - the fields
without yields leave black cupboards bare.

Sick mother has no milk for baby,
a crocodile barks in the belly.
Mother is dying, baby is crying
no one defying, no one will dare.
(Zimbabwe is Shona for house of stone)This poem uses Cyhydedd Hir end couplets in stanza 1 & 3 and Toddaid end couplet in stanza 2. I couldn't resist creating a main rhyme in stanza 2 that was also a linking rhyme between all stanzas.

A big thanks to Judi Van Gorder

Gwawdodyn Hir
Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Stanzaic
(gwow DOD in heer) A syllabic form that can go in two ways. Either way it consists of a syllabic sestet where all lines except the fifth are nine syllables and monorhymed. The fifth line is ten syllables and has a separate rhyme that may be internal (fifth and tenth syllable) or cross-rhymed with the sixth line (seventh through the ninth syllable of fifth line cross-rhymes with third through the fifth in sixth line).
xxxxxxbxxx  (Syllable 7 to 9)
Rhythm/Stanza Length:

A Big thanks to Bob Newman

My Example

Uninvited      (Gwadodyn)

My girl gone- my love unrequited
left me lonely and not delighted.
I gave girl next door transport from the store,
that and nothing more! How short-sighted.

You'd think perhaps I'd been benighted
I did not know what I'd ignited
That gal didn't knock; my door wasn't locked
from sleep I was shocked yet excited.

That she was nude was now high-lighted
by her chills that I soon had righted.
That she had applied could not be denied,
but midnight rides must be invited.

© Lawrencealot - December 25, 2013

Visual Templates

Sunday, December 22, 2013


The LaJemme is a 5 stanza form created by poets Laura Lamarca and Jem Farmer.

Syllalbic:          10/10/10/10  8/8/8/6 8/8/8/6  10/10/10/10  10/10/10/10
End Rhyme Pattern:  abab cdfe gfdf hihi abab
Cross-rhyme required and interleaved rhyme required.
Expanded rhyme pattern:
Where the first letter in parentheses is syllable 4, the second is end rhyme.
Meter: consistently iambic

As stated by the inventors:

Stanza 1, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme abab, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line.

Stanza 2, syllable count: 8/8/8/6, Rhyme scheme cdef, with cross rhymes in each couplet on 4th syllable

Stanza 3, syllable count 8/8/8/6, Rhyme scheme gfdf, 4th syllable of each line follows the same rule as stanza 1.

Stanza 4, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme hihi, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line.

Stanza 5, 10 syllables per line, Rhyme scheme abab, 4th syllable of each line is to rhyme with the end rhyme of the preceding line.

Note: I would have been much happier if the poets had required cross-rhyme in both short line stanzas, for sake of elegance and consistency.

Example poem.
Celeste     (LaJemme)

She comes some nights from mists beyond the sea
and sings to me the songs of sirens lore.
Notes float ashore in tones of upper C
that guarantee a mortal won't ignore.
I'm driven then to leave my wife
and leave my life behind again
and simply go as lemmings do.
This much is true, you know.
The amber glow within her eyes
would not surprise a wizard though
they do bestow control that men
succumb to when they glow.
She uses me to quench her mortal thirst
and from the first I've risen to her game.
I cannot tame the fires for she's well versed
and has rehearsed her wiles to much acclaim.
Her origin remains a mystery
It's plain to see she's easy to adore
and wanting more, to me comes naturally
I heed her plea and dance to her sweet score.

© Lawrencealot - December 19, 2014

Visual Template


The Impressionist form was invented by Pamela Santini, writing on AllPoetry as Stands_In_Awe

It is a nine stanza poem
It is syllabic.
 The first eight stanzas consist of both a four and five syllable line, in either order, followed by a "quip" of one or two words limited to three syllables.
The final stanza consists of a pair of four syllable lines each followed by one of the "quips" previously used.

Example Poem

Unselfish Selfies

He wants to see some
more of me, I'm
The pic goes with the
sexting that I'm
So my face is not
all that I'll be
Several simple
sexy selfies I'm
Exactly what I'll
show I'm not now
But I'll bet my butt
it keeps him from
stimulates and moves
him closer to
I'll sign myself, "all
yours, with love", in

Selfies work when
that's what girls are

© December 16, 2014

Visual Template:
Note: Either the first or the second line

of each tercet may have five syllables.