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 Formal & Rhyming Poetry

   with Vera Ignatowitsch

Vera Ignatowitsch

Just Smile


We’d like to think some angel smiling down

will watch him as his arm bleeds in the yard,

ripped off by dogs, will guide his tipsy steps,

his doddering progress through the scarlet house

to tell his mommy “boo-boo!,” only two.


We’d like to think his reconstructed face

will be as good as new, will often smile,

that baseball’s just as fun with just one arm,

that God is always Just, that girls will smile,

not frown down at his thousand livid scars,

that Life is always Just, that Love is Just.


We do not want to hear that he will shave

at six, to raze the leg hairs from his cheeks,

that lips aren’t easily fashioned, that his smile’s

lopsided, oafish, snaggle-toothed, that each

new operation costs a billion tears,

when tears are out of fashion.

O, beseech

some poet with more skill with words than tears

to find some happy ending, to believe

that God is Just, that Love is Just, that these

are Parables we live, Life’s Mysteries . . .


Or look inside his courage, as he ties

his shoelaces one-handed, as he throws

no-hitters on the first-place team, and goes

on dates, looks in the mirror undeceived

and smiling says, “It’s me I see. Just me.”


He smiles, if life is Just, or lacking cures,

Your pity is the worst cut he endures.

But hack him down and still he’ll always rise,

then lift his smile to the sun or the star-filled skies.


First published in Lucid Rhythms.




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


About That Photograph–


You see the photos, but you never see

the heat, the bugs, the sunstroke. You see shots,

but how that lucky snapshot came about,

or the electrolytes he sweated out

to reach that overlook in time for dawn –


nobody wants to see that. Honestly

when you're that tired its muscle-memory

as much as anything; the mind's too slow,

and failure trains you.


Notice how he caught

it flying this time, black eye gleaming on

the close-up, though of course he doesn't know

that yet; he's only positive its gone.

But 16 geese per second decorate

his hand-held now, and he can hardly wait –



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.

Lighthearted Verse & Limericks


The Man Who Loved Pink


His wife wants some black lingerie.

He'll really surprise her today.

Hot pink is his fav'rite.

Oh, how he does sav'r it.

He struts in his bright negligee!


She's shocked when she sees him this way.

She screams, "What a Valentine's Day!

I wanted some roses,

but here my man poses

and prances. This is NOT OKAY!"


She sniffles and gives him a box.

Inside are some black boots and socks.

He says, "Black and pink

look kinky, I think!

Oh, thanks, Dear. This gift really rocks."

He does have some roses for her,

but now everything is a blur.

"Pink roses," she mumbles.

Toward bed she now stumbles.


He says, "Wait. I bought you a fur!"


"It's pink," she responds. "I'm amazed!"

Her husband is smiling, unfazed.

"I dyed it for you.

Don't you love this hue?"

She stares at him, totally dazed.


She tells him, "I have to lie down."

He says, "Say good-bye to that frown.

I've fixed up our room                                   

and banished the gloom.

For us, no more drab beige and brown!"


She enters the room feeling weak

and turns on the light for a peek.

She screams when she sees

bright pink; then she flees.

For days she's unable to speak.

Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. She has been writing poetry since early childhood. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Lyric Magazine, Parody Magazine, Westward Quarterly, Light, Lighten Up Online, Whispering Angel Books, and Mississippi Poetry Society's Contest Journal(s). "During my long career as a teacher, I really enjoyed writing parodies of the famous poems I taught, renditions I didn't share with the kids."

The Hyper Texts

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

The Parting Glass


"The Parting Glass" is what they play
for you, though you're not here today
to see your cronies look devout
as, toasting you with drams and stout,
they speed your soul, or so they'd say,


while fiddles mourn as if to pray:


We wish to God that you could stay—
if go you must, don't go without
the parting glass.

Perhaps another here today,
being bounced because he cannot pay
for drink from which he can’t abstain,
will stagger through the windowpane—


its daggers tore your throat away,
the parting glass.




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.


Numenius Arquata: The Curlew


The latest research suggests this species is under threat of extinction


Your smallpipe wails of liquid glass draw out

to high-pitched trills, soap bubbles bursting in

mid-air to oscillate like lighthouse beams

or babble from some ancient spinning star.

Reserved, you blow hot-cold, play hide an’ seek

in rushy grass, your coat buff browns, pale greens,

soft greys like tweed, curved bill a scalpel blade,

the azure curtained sky in satin shreds.

From dark to light, extra-dimensional,

you come and go to echo voices out

of time, new born in limbo, ghosts of poor

tormented souls who scraped a living, mines

and hovels long since disappeared beneath

this boggy, unforgiving, curt high moor?



 Peter Branson, a native of N. Staffordshire, has lived in a village in Cheshire, UK, for the last twenty-six years. A former teacher and lecturer in English Literature and creative writing and poetry tutor, he is now a full time poet, songwriter and traditional-style singer whose poetry has been published by journals in Britain, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australasia and South Africa, including Acumen, Ambit, Agenda, Envoi, The London Magazine, The North, Prole, The Warwick Review, Iota, The Butcher’s Dog, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, SOUTH, Crannog, THE SHOp, Causeway, Main Street Rag, The Columbia Review and Other Poetry. His latest collection, ‘Hawk Rising’, from ‘Lapwing’, Belfast, was published in April 2016.

A Strange Wind


A strange wind helps the leaning mooring shake

Loose the ancient, rotted, abandoned boat

That whiplashes across each bending break.


As the gathering drifts seem to emote,

A rain-coated slumping, gaunt old man sneers

And points and snorts, "I guess that's all she wrote."


He snickers again as the strange wind steers

The boat past the last drooling milky wave

And the rising swells shred it up like shears.


No passersby even take notice save

An old woman holding a wilted rose

That had been laid upon her husband's grave.


She says, sadly, "He was loved, I suppose."

The sea simply, instinctively, swallows.

Thomas Locicero’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, The Good Men Project, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Jazz Cigarette, Quail Bell Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Antarctica Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Hobart, Ponder Review, vox poetica, Poetry Pacific, Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, Indigo Lit, Saw Palm, Fine Lines, New Thoreau Quarterly, and Birmingham Arts Journal, among other journals. He resides in Broken Arrow, OK.

The Shadow


A shadow crosses your face, like the shade

that trails a songbird wheeling in sunlight,

or the fleeting furrow on a still pond made

by a quick chill gust or a water sprite.


I look into your eyes, hoping to align

them with mine, but you see this and you turn,

and the shadow moves your eyes slightly off mine;

and what this could mean I’m afraid to learn.

I know you’ve changed the script, written my part

out after this page; I dare not read ahead;

but now the shadow that crosses the stage

riffles the script, called by your playwright art;

it’s the dying sunset breath I’ve come to dread,

the shadow of the turning of a page.

First published in The Galway Review.

Robert Youngs Pelgrift, Jr. practiced law in New York City for many years, and is now an editor for a legal publisher, working in New York City. His poems have appeared in various anthologies and in The Lyric, the Rotary Dial, The Galway Review and The Foxglove Journal. He is a graduate of Princeton University, A.B. 1971, and of Harvard Law School, J.D. 1974, and received the Special Diploma in Social Studies from Oxford University in 1969.

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 do submit your limericks and lighthearted verse as well!     Vera Ignatowitsch

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