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 Formal & Rhyming Poetry                                        with Vera Ignatowitsch

Gathering at the River


Where the creek ponds up behind the weir

in Maltby’s meadow stands the congregation

to baptize half-a-dozen youths and hear

Pastor Jackson’s promise of salvation.


This humble backwoods creek and pond are now

the River Jordan Christ was baptized in,

as, robed in bed sheets, one by one they vow

to give their hearts to God and turn from sin.


A boy who was in last year’s crop observes

a girl emerge, sees how from neck to knee

the sodden cotton clings to womanly curves.

A world-weary elder sees him see.


The old man knows that Jesus has their hearts

but Satan keeps his hold on other parts.


Richard Wakefield has taught college literature for thirty-eight years and since 1985 has been Professor of Humanities at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington.  For twenty-nine years he was a literary critic for the Seattle Times.  His 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.

The Long Embrace


I held you when a kiss led to caresses

as tender as an April fiddlehead

uncurling in the woods. When fall undresses

the birch and hazel we will still be wed.

I bore you when your heartbeat and your breathing

galloped, hooves on the wind, out of the trees

across a meadowland of bulbs unsheathing

flower-stems that lilted in the breeze.

The petals fell. You lay on me while feeling

settled like a dew on bracken fronds;

you saw, below my sky or stars or ceiling,

the droplets shine like rose-cut diamonds.

I am the house, the beach, the barn, the grove

that holds you still—the place you first made love.


John Beaton writes metrical poetry and his work has been widely published in media as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He writes a monthly poetry page for the magazine Eyes on BC and served for four years as moderator of one of the internet's most reputable poetry workshops. He is a spoken word performer and a poet member of the band Celtic Chaos. His poetry has won numerous awards, including the 2015 String Poet Prize and the 2012 Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. He was raised in the Scottish Highlands and lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

Grim Season


October. Which means All Soul's Day, which means

exhibits of dead babies. Even Lowe's

sold “decorations,” and this Halloween

they specialize in gibbets – one long row

of one-sies strung up, hoods drawn carefully

around the skulls; it must be cold up there.


I stare at the familiar rubber toes

that never learned to walk, and think of how

you pushed to standing, an inverted V

that wobbled upright. Then I say a prayer

for naive people so impervious

they could afford to jinx themselves like this.


So many shadow-babies. Long ago

the pilfered parents of old Mexico

took solace in the season; they let go.

But I just see you strung up tauntingly,

and wish that I could save you –


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.

Winter Solstice – NC


 Jogging on sole-pummeled leaves,

Matted by quilts of pine straw,

Whirring of distant chain-saws,

One must stop—panting in heaves,

Frost-capped ivy, last night’s freeze.


The pond veneered by thin ice,

Cheeks smarting from morning chill.

Yet now, no sound. All is still!

A breeze wafts rotting-wood spice . . .

Once—not twice—this paradise.


Peter C. Venable has written both free and metric verse for over fifty years. He has been published in Windhover, Third Wednesday, Time of Singing, The Merton Seasonal, forthcoming in The Anglican Theological Review, and others. His fascination with rhyme and meter began in college, with Donne, Milton, Blake et al. William Cowper and Emily Dickenson are favorites.

Light Verse


Scotch Broom

(Cytisus scoparius)


Scotch broom, make room

    for the river to run by.

Sweep down, green gown,

    where the lanes and hammocks lie.


Pure yellow, like a fellow

    fallen in a mustard vat,

bloom on, when I am gone,

    under your canary hat.


Red Columbine

(Aquilegia formosa)


Be mine, columbine.

    Who knows?  Not a rose,

nor a lupine.  Pour my soup in

    buttercups, but no pre-nups

are needed to be bloomed and seeded.


    All could be just I and thou

if you would love me, love me now.

Queen’s Cup

(Clintonia uniflora)


Queen’s cup,

    will you sup

        a while with me?


I’ll sip

    your cream and tip

        a toast to thee.


If you

    think me too

        forward to stay,


I’ll leave you be,

    your majesty,

        and slip away.

Paul Willis is from the North Cascades of Washington State. His

most recent collection is Getting to Gardisky Lake (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2016).  Individual poems have appeared in Poetry, Lyric, Light, and Writer's Almanac.



My old sophisticated bittersweet

Arrogant violin’s leaf-falling street;

Planeted with, antipodean to,

Your driving drums and equal arrogance

Of wild guitar when spring sings outward through

- While driving blindly upward - trees and plants,

And rushes out essential leaf and flower.


I love our simultaneous-seasoned world

Where spring and fall innately coexist;

Ageing, I eye a girl as yet unkissed

And tentatively glance askance: O pearled

Young arrogance, is to love in your power?


Geneticists: from me a new man wring –

Make Time but a dimension to traverse –

I’ll throw Death’s dissolution in reverse

And leave enwintering climates for her spring.

Robin Helweg-Larsen is British-born but Bahamian-raised. His education came from good schools, hitchhiking on five continents and working all over the place. His poetry has mostly been published in the UK, but also in the US, Canada, Australia and India. He lives in his hometown of Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera.

Autumn Conundrum


It’s not that every leaf must finally fall,

it’s just that we can never catch them all.


Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea, this poem has been translated into Russian, Macedonian, Turkish and Romanian


Michael R. Burch’s poems have been translated into nine languages and set to music by the composers Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. Burch’s poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times around the globe in publications which include TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, The Hindu, Kritya, Gostinaya, Light, The Lyric, Measure, Angle, Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Poet Lore, The Chimaera, Poem Today, Verse Weekly, ByLine, Unlikely Stories and Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing. He also edits and publishes

Lighthearted Verse





I have a yen to share with you

The stories that I write;

I burn the taper at both ends

I’m up most every night


I do not use a shiny pen…

Instead, a bushy quill,

Which I must dip into a well

And see that I don’t spill


My favourite tales are tragedies

They make you blush and cry,

And in the end I make quite sure

That all the bad guys die


I have a shapely little beard;

I do not have to shave,

So I can write some sonnets with

The hours that I save


Some will say that I am not

The person that I claim,

But rather one who fell from grace

And stole another’s name.


But I reply to those who doubt:

What difference does it make?

The treasure lies in what I write

For everybody’s sake!


Elizabeth Faris is educated in English Language/Literature and Literacy Instruction. For the past twenty years, she has enjoyed teaching English and ESL to students of all ages and ethnic origin. Her passion for writing extends to poetry, formal and informal, based either on a spectrum of original themes or the plots of literary classics and traditional tales.

On this page we publish monthly selections of metrical poetry from our contributors. Submit your blank verse, metrical rhyming poems, villanelles, sonnets, sestinas 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! (I will also give feedback on formal poetry if it is requested.)     Vera Ignatowitsch

The Hyper Texts

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

Archive of Formal & Rhyming Poetry pages by issue:

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