Poetic Forms

This page is meant to define all of the poetic forms I use on this blog, or will use on this blog when I get a chance.


Most ballads on this site are written in diambic tetrameter, and follow a couplet rhyme scheme (AABB CCDD EEFF… etc.). Otherwise, there are no hard limits.

Otherwise, they are written to a specific ballad. These also share the “#song” tag.


A Cinquain is a form of fixed verse which employs a set of 5 lines. Each of the lines has a specific stress count: In order, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 1 stressed syllables must occur. They also have a traditionally have a specific syllable count: in order, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2. This leant itself well to the iamb, and so most Cinquains are built using Iambic meter.
On this blog, Cinquains take the form of a Garland Cinquain: That is, 5 normal Cinquain stanzas in a row, with a sixth made up of a specific line from each of the previous stanzas (the 1st line from the 1st, 2nd from the 2nd, etc.). In addition, Iambs will not be the sole meter used in Cinquains on this site, and There will be a title for each poem, which will serve as its own stanza, separate from the others.


A Rictameter is basically a pair of cinquains, but where the lines count up to 10 and then back down to 2, with the first and last lines being the same. In order, the lines have the following number of syllables: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2.
I’ve created something I call the Garland Rictameter, which is a combination of the Garland Cinquain and the Rictameter. Basically, it is 5 normal Rictameter in a row, with a sixth made up of specific pairs of lines from each of the previous stanzas: the 2 syllable lines from the first, the 4 syllable lines from the second, the 6 syllable lines from the third, the 8 syllable lines from the fourth, and the 10 syllable line from the fifth. The result is something I find to be very brooding, and very prone towards investigation and discovery.


The Rondeau is a form of fixed verse which rose out of the Late Medieval and Renaissance eras in France. It has a pair of lines which repeat (a refrain) at predefined intervals, and only two rhyming sounds throughout the whole piece. Meter is open to the author’s choice, though eight syllables per line is common.
On this blog, Rondeaux are strictly Rondeau Cinquain: The 15 line variant from the late renaissance. This version has a verbatim half-line which is repeated, instead of full lines (this is termed a rentrement), and three stanzas (a quintet, a quartrain, and a sestet). Also, Rondeaux are limited to exactly eight syllables, and are usually in Iambic Tetrameter on top of that, though that can vary.
The exact form is as follows, with A being the first rhyme sound, B being the second, and R denoting the rentrement:

Li Rhyme
1 R, A
2 A
3 B
4 B
5 A
6 A
7 A
8 B
9 R
10 A
11 A
12 B
13 B
14 A
15 R


A Sestina is a form of fixed verse with six stanzas of six lines each, and an ending stanza of three lines (the envoi). The last words of each line are fixed, but rotated between stanzas, and the envoi has all six words in it in a fixed pattern.
On this blog, Sestinas usually follow Iambic Pentameter, and are unrhymed. The pattern goes as follows, with the ending words being termed A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Li Stanza 1 Stanza 2 Stanza 3 Stanza 4 Stanza 5 Stanza 6
1 A F C E D B
2 B A F C E D
3 C E D B A F
4 D B A F C E
5 E D B A F C
6 F C E D B A
Envoi Line 1 Line 2 Line 3
Mid B D F
End E C A


A Villanelle is a form of fixed verse with 19 lines, arranged in 5 stanzas of 3 lines each (tercets) and ending with a quatrain, or a stanza of four lines. The first stanza’s first and third lines are repeated verbatim throughout the poem, in a specific order. There are only two rhyming sounds.
On this site, villanelles usually follow either Dactyllic or Anapestic Tetrameter. The repetition and rhyme scheme goes as follows, with the rhyming sounds being A and B, and the repeated lines being A1 and A2: