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 Formal & Rhyming Poetry

   with Vera Ignatowitsch

Child of 9-11

 a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who was born on September 11, 2001 and died at the age of nine, shot to death . . .


Child of 9-11, beloved,

I bring this lily, lay it down

here at your feet, and eiderdown,

and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.

I bring this psalm—I hope you hear it.


Much love I bring—I lay it down

here by your form, which is not you,

but what you left this shellshocked world

to help us learn what we must do

to save another child like you.


Child of 9-11, I know

you are not here, but watch afar

from distant stars, where angels rue

the evil things some mortals do.

I also watch; I also rue.


And so I make this pledge and vow:

though I may weep, I will not rest

nor will my pen fail heaven’s test

till guns and wars and hate are banned

from every shore, from every land.


Child of 9-11, I grieve

your gentle life, cut short. Bereaved,

what can I do, but pledge my life

to saving lives like yours? Belief

in your sweet worth has led me here . . .


I give my all: my pen, this tear,

this lily and this eiderdown,

and all soft things my heart can bear;

I bring them to your final bier,

and leave them with my promise, here.


First published in The Flea.


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




A shaft of amber sunlight

suffused with dust and fly

a daughter crouches by a fire

tending to her chai

Her eyes of pure obsidian

glisten in the ray

projected by the setting sun

at the close of day

Soon its kindly candour

must give way to night

and huddled on her bamboo mat

her faith will turn to fright

The shadow of the kiker tree

resumes its nightly troll

exposing all the secrets of

her desecrated soul

Rapt in dire conjecture

eyes round as the moon

she’ll listen for his sandle on

the path outside their room

And make a plea for lunacy

for nature’s sedative:

anything to numb her to

his vile prerogative.

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.

Behind the Bookcase —

(for Dan, who is On The Spectrum)


 Dan likes to be alone because that way

he knows which feet are his; they don't become

his mother's giant feet by accident

(that was embarrassing); he couldn't get

her toes in even, and she made that face,

which means he's done it wrong.


That's one reason.


But Dan is also happy when alone

because he likes the conversations; Dan

gets both sides right. It's worrisome to talk

to other people; it's a guessing game.

Dan has to contradict them when they're wrong.

Besides, they like to change directions, though

that doesn't interest Dan.


No, it's alone

Dan has his best ideas —

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...

submissions encouraged!

Killing a Coho
West coast of Vancouver Island


I grip its tail, hammock its back,
and swing its head down with a crack
on rock, then feel its spasms judder
through my hands as, with a shudder,
it stills,
a grand finale that fulfills
some ancient impulse in my mind.

Poking my finger through a gill,
I cause the raker fronds to spill
blood that drip drips as I carry
the silver deadweight of my quarry,
my kill,
toward a tidal pool
the sunset has incarnadined.

My knife begins behind its throat
and blood-clouds billow out and bloat
then seep into an outflow, seaward,
where baitfish burrow in the seaboard
in schools,
their heads in sand, small fools
kidding themselves they’re hard to find.

I slit its stomach. From that sac
their half-digested eyes peer back,
sandlance dumbstruck at being hunted
in shallow flats this prowler haunted,
this fish
whose every feeding flash
signaled flesh to seals behind.


Somewhere nearby a black bear roars;
wolves salivate; an antler gores
a starving cougar; orcas cripple
humpbacks, bite their fins, then grapple
great bulks
till bleeding, savaged hulks
sink; and then there’s humankind.

No kindness here. This salmon swam
full speed to seize my lure then, wham,
became a madcap, hell-for-leather,
death-row inmate on a tether
and fed
the caveman in my head.
This coast is one big hunting blind.


First published in Gray’s Sporting Journal.


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.

Night Fair


This megastar’s a dazzling super bowl, 

bedlam, heaven or hell, explosive fuse

of spinning light; of onion-sizzling steam,

chip fat, spent diesel fumes and candyfloss;

of goldfish magnified in plastic bags,

flash stallholders as loud as jumping jacks;

of urban cowboys leaping on and off

bump cars or herding bucking broncs across

revolving wooden floors with practised ease;

of cherubs chasing dragons seraph-high

like Martinware adrenalin banshees;

of stocking top, a tempting ride of flesh

broadcast, delight exquisitely contrived,

the dark a beacon, cinders underfoot.


 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. He has won prizes and been placed in a number of poetry competitions over recent years. His latest collection, Hawk Rising, from Lapwing, Belfast, was published in April 2016.

Humbled by a Lightning Show


Surges litter the sky with light unimpeachable.

Abruptly, all that I have accomplished can be

carried off in the mouth of one dung beetle.

A conductor’s manic hands, a sparking marquee.

As I marvel at each faultless errant strobe,

I am reminded of God’s questions to Job.

Thomas Locicero

​​A Poet to His Unbeloved
a parody, after W.B. Yeats

The words of a poet smitten
Should not be considered unique
To you, for when he leaves—he will—
He will take what he has written
And, with the lust he chose to spill,
Present them at another time
When he has been offered the cheek
Of his latest reason to rhyme.

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 Hyper Texts

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

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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