top of page

 Formal & Rhyming Poetry                                        with Vera Ignatowitsch



A blur of Black Lab rockets off the dock

to hit the water ten feet out and cast

a cloud of crystals skyward in a shock

of broken rainbows whirling from the blast.


The dog desires no greater good in all

the world than this: to run and leap and swim

so wholly focused on a rubber ball

that bobs away on waves ahead of him.


He closes on it with a final surge

and arcs his course to home in on a boy

who’s waiting on the bank where he’ll emerge

as fifty pounds of single-minded joy.


In years of emptiness and artifice

the man the boy becomes will think of this.

Richard Wakefield's first poetry collection, "East of Early Winters" (University of Evansville Press), won the Richard Wilbur Award.  His second collection, "A Vertical Mile" (Able Muse Press), was short-listed for the Poets Prize.

Your Voice

Some pages have no signatures
yet I don’t doubt which writing’s yours—
it bears a voiceprint so, with ease,
I know you finger-stroked the keys
or made the helpless ballpoint jink
along your curves and drool its ink.
But living voice has pace and tone,
and tongue—I feel an urge to phone
you at your work, to hear that purr
across your vocal chords, that burr
of huskiness as lips sough vowels
from registers where ardour growls,
to hear your tongue-tip palate-dance
and castanet your consonants
as, from boleros in your mind,
your thoughts, in whirls of words, unwind.

Your voice is no mere human flute;
its concert organ finds the root
position in your innate score
and plays your music, lets it soar
through the cathedral of your chest
where, underneath your lifting breast,
your heartbeat’s muted tremolo
vibrates through breathing’s cello bow,
the whole ensemble playing Bach
and Bruckner, Brahms, and Bacharach
to universes, yet à deux.
You speak and blind men fall for you.


First published in the 2011 Winter edition of “Able Muse”.

John Beaton writes metrical poetry. His work has been widely published, won numerous awards, and he recites it in spoken word performance. Raised in the Scottish Highlands, he lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. 

Mother’s Smile

     for my mother Christine Ena Burch


There never was a fonder smile

than mother’s smile, no softer touch

than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile

and know she loves you more than “much.”


So more than “much,” much more than “all.”

Though tender words, these do not speak

of love at all, nor how we fall

and mother’s there, nor how we reach

from nightmares in the ticking night

and she is there to hold us tight.


There never was a stronger back

than father’s back, that held our weight

and lifted us when we were small

and bore us till we reached the gate,

then held our hands that first bright mile

till we could run, and did, and flew.

But, O, a mother’s tender smile

will leap and follow after you!

Published by TALESetc, Penguin Books Valentine’s Day Contest Winner

Michael R. Burch has been published more than 3,000 times. His poems have been translated into eleven languages and set to music by three composers. He also edits TheHyperTexts.

Veni Sancta Spiritus

            —Ln. Come Holy Spirit


Fluttering over as a white-winged dove,

Spirit hovers from worlds above—


Hoping to alight in my dusky soul

And mend my core from rift to whole.


Come Holy Spirit, rippling light:

Lift my soul in feathery flight.


Peter C. Venable s poetry has been published by Windhover, Third Wednesday, Time of Singing, The Merton Seasonal, and others.

His fascination with rhyme and meter began in college, and he finds lyrics in anthems, especially hymns, edifying.

Acrobat Alight Inside a Dream


And in my dream his feet were all ablaze

his hands a motion through a surge of air

he raised his head up to the sun, a haze

of heaven hovered there, he danced a dare

like kind of dance as if the gods would deem

him worthy for a trip to paradise

while he ignored his hair a red-lit scream

ablaze atop his head, yet so precise

his steps as he displayed a ballet grace

across the floor, and we all watched with fear 

the nearer death approached his poker face− 

the paramedics closing in; a mutineer

with fever, dying for the sake of art

and I awoke with fire in my heart


Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and a five-time Best of the Net nominee. She is a member of the Saratoga Authors’ Hall of fame .

On this page we publish monthly selections of metrical poetry from our contributors. Submit your blank verse, metrical rhyming poems, villanelles, sonnets, sestinas pantoums, and other formal poetry to betterthanstarbucks2@gmail. We love both traditional and experimental forms and subjects, and please do submit your limericks and lighthearted verse as well!  Vera Ignatowitsch

The Hyper Texts

"some of the best poetry on the web" Vera Ignatowitsch

D n


Dan upside-downed the letter-puzzle but

the “A”s were missing, so he just made “D N,”

and now his name is broken. “Welcome, D N!”

Josh couldn't even say it; he'd be “DIN”

or worse, one of those sounds you swallow when

you focus on the more important part;


“we found The Joshua, but where is D N?

There was a gap, and he fell through it –” No,

he couldn't let that happen, not to him,

the erstwhile DAN. But “A” was missing, so

D-N steeled himself and stuck a vowel in.

I am The Don now.” It was Dan's voice though;

Don isn't sure what voice belongs to him --


Kathryn Jacobs is a poet, professor, and editor of The Road Not Taken. Her fifth book, "Wedged Elephant", was published last year by Kelsay Press.

Coming and Going


As it happens somebody gets run over,

somebody falls off a roof, somebody drowns.

Somebody finds—without looking— a lover,

a soul-mate, an old friend in a new world

of wonder, just out there walking around.

Somebody sits there, perfectly still.


“Who’ll comfort me?” the grown-up asks the child.

“Who’ll hold me when I wake at night afraid

to close my eyes, afraid of the red beast

under the bed?” “Come on,” says the child, “the least

you can do is stop whining.  Children aren’t made

to make grown-ups grow up. 911—you dial.”


As it happens somebody drops to his knees,

somebody flings her arms to the air, distraught.

Somebody holds somebody close as the leaves

glint gold in the woods and the fire road fills

with light. And the mind lets go of its thought.

Somebody sits there, perfectly still.


John Perrault’s most recent book is Jefferson’s Dream. His poems have appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Commonweal, Blue Unicorn, and elsewhere.  He was Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, NH, 2003-2005.



Your battery is running low.

Your software needs to be updated.

There’s something else that you should know. . . .


Your hard drive’s running much too slow.

Your LinkedIn profile’s overrated.

Your battery is running low.


See a statement of what you owe.

Your payments have been automated.

There’s something else that you should know. . . .


Get rich today. Just sign below.

Click here if this message is truncated.

Your battery is running low.


Are you a bot? Click yes or no. 

Your mail account’s been terminated.

There’s something else that you should know. . . .


Your Facebook friends have let you go.

The helpline’s been deactivated.

Your battery is running low.

There’s something else that you should know. . . .



Antonia Clark has published in numerous print and online journals, and she manages an online poetry forum, The Waters. Her poetry collections include Smoke and Mirrors and Chameleon Moon. Toni lives in Vermont and loves French picnics.

Upwardly Friendly


They’re everything I want to be,

ahead of all the trends.

I like them, but they don’t like me,

my aspirational friends.


I view their skills and triumphs through

a magnifying lens;

they see my failings that way, too,

my aspirational friends.


The paths to their approval are

a warren of dead ends.

They’re further than the nearest star,

my aspirational friends.


Noblesse rarely obliges; when

it does, it condescends.

They’re patronizing me again,

my aspirational friends.


Your friendly overtures I shun.

My own self-worth depends

on chasing only those who run:

my aspirational friends.

Susan McLean teaches English at Southwest Minnesota State University.  Her poetry books include The Best Disguise, The Whetstone Misses the Knife, Selected Epigrams (of Martial), and one chapbook, Holding Patterns.

Limericks & Lighthearted Verse



When feet are wet and drippy

it’s good to get them dry

before you finish dressing

or your plans may go awry


For when one fiercely forces

with grip and grasp and groan

a sock may pull to pieces

and its twin will walk alone


A similar conundrum

for fellows prone to tees

is getting them on backwards

and then thinking no one sees


A final consternation

for yoga pants you’ve bought

concerns the revelation

of lots more than you thought

Phil Huffy



Should lover look or act contrary

To usual and customary

Much longer than a shift in humor,

The reason seldom is a tumor.


More likely he or she has taken

Another lover, you forsaken,

So pay attention to such changes

And be the first who rearranges.

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia.  Her poetry has been published around the world as well as posted online.  Her two collections—Unloosed and Tides & Currents—are available from Kelsay Books.

Archive of Formal & Rhyming Poetry pages by issue:

 March 2018     February 2018     January 2018     December 2017    November 2017     October 2017    September 2017     August 2017     July 2017    June 2017    May 2017    April 2017   March 2017    February 2017    January 2017    December 2016   November 2016    October 2016

bottom of page