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 Formal & Rhyming Poetry                                        with Vera Ignatowitsch

                       Dante’s House


On a mid-December night I went astray

in the streets of Florence, dark and serpentine,

an underworld of winding way on way.


Lost in the realm of Guelph and Ghibelline

I abandoned hope of finding my way back

by signs in undecipherable Florentine.


A swarm of Vespas ripsawed through the black

piazza spewing the sulfur stench of hell,

but by their bug-eyed lights I saw a plaque


in English and Italian, placed to tell

a lost soul this was Dante’s house, and clear

and close I heard our Duomo’s vesper bell.


The church and poet told me I was near

the safety I had wandered from alone.

The night’s despair began to disappear;


I lit upon a footpath I had known

by day and came full-circle through the night

to see, across a square of cobblestone,

the steady beacon of our window light.

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.

Midwinter Music

(written in the Orkney Islands)

The hawthorn branches’ lightning lines
are paralleled by seams of white
as snowfall mantles them, each jagged
angle traced,
each pronged and ragged
fork embalmed, perhaps embraced.

Around the fields, old stunted pines
grow flocculent with flakes. Despite
the fires within, the farms are wooled
with snow, their sills
and gutters ruled
and cushioned with small corniced hills.

The drystone dikes have scalloped crests.
On open moors, the windward sides
of standing stones blockade the blow,
black and upright,
till driving snow
feathers them into background white.

The moaning wind stravaigs and quests
but one communal call abides
as flurries hover, glide, and fall
among the drifts—
inside a hall
a cellist's hand position-shifts.


Won the 2015 “String Poet Prize” and was published in String Poet.

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. 



Even for those schooled in biblical verse,

Easy to skim over, easy to miss:

Judas greeted and betrayed with a kiss

And moments later—he would grieve and curse.


We know he planned, plotted and rehearsed.

Someone was absent from his heart’s abyss.

Months before, did he hear the serpent’s hiss

As he skimmed coins, from the disciples’ purse?


I have regrets. I’d shift gears, to Reverse

If I had such power; I’d cruise in bliss.

I have, I fear, greeted Him with a kiss—

Soon, passed the better way, and steered for worse.


Peter C. Venable s poetry has been published by Windhover, Third Wednesday, Time of Singing and others. His fascination with rhyme and meter began in college. and he finds lyrics in anthems, especially hymns, edifying.

Rigor Mortis, or

Virginia Beach


A music-box rendition of The Sting

pings from the last remaining ice-cream cart;

I used to like that song. I used to work

before Virginia Beach though, that strange land

where no one labors but the ice-cream man

and the convenience store on Sandpiper.


Don't say that to the local residents

however, where they christen homes with names

like Happy Daze and Absinthe, Promise Kept,

Good Therapy, Sea-Esta. It's not that

they spend their lives on beaches. Read the names;

they'll kill themselves before they ever work

again; not now, not ever. And the beach

recedes in time, becomes innocuous.


Because they've proved their point; they've flailed themselves

and bought this beach-side with their weathered skins;

just try to claw it from them —


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.

reality risotto


The recipe is simple.

Properly served, we taste the tongue of life.

Our every portion’s ample,


and every bite is full

of tears like honey sweetening each laugh.

The recipe is simple:


no fork or spoon: a handful

crushed on teeth and lips, or pinchling of

one portion can be ample.


Until the stained teeth crumple,

rip at the meat and bones, taste joy and grief.

The recipe is simple.


If we can savor all

in purity and blend, and learn to love

our portion, that is ample.


The hungry grave can call,

but if there’s nothing left for us to give? . . .

The recipe is simple.

Just make your portion ample


JBMulligan has had more than 1000 poems and stories published over the last 40 years, as well as two chapbooks, two e-books, and appearances in several anthologies.

The Divide


The sea was not salt the first tide . . .

was man born to sorrow that first day?

The moon—a pale beacon across the Divide,

the brighter for longing, an object denied—

the tug at his heart’s pink, bourgeoning clay . . .

The sea was not salt the first tide . . .

but grew bitter, bitter—man’s torrents supplied.

The bride of their longing—forever astray,

her shield a cold beacon across the Divide,

flashing pale signals: Decide. Decide.

Choose me, or His Brightness, I will not stay.

The sea was not salt the first tide . . .

imploring her, ebbing: Abide, abide.

The silver fish flash there, the manatees gray.

The moon, a pale beacon across the Divide,


has taught us to seek Love’s concealed side:

the dark face of longing, the poets say.

The sea was not salt the first tide . . .

the moon a pale beacon across the Divide.


First published by Sonnetto Poesia.

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.

My Mother’s Scolding Spoon


She used to chase me with a wooden spoon

a game of cat and mouse, until the time

I felt the handle break one afternoon

It made me laugh, though laughing was a crime

when I was young, if making fun of her

implied a gain. A penalty I’d come

to know could be reversed. A saboteur;

I’d learned to wait for indications from

the way she’d say my name. Her lips would purse

unyielding, then I’d know, I’m done,

no glimmer of hilarity. She’d curse

surprisingly “Goddammit!” if I’d won

or broke the spell. I’ve saved her favorite things

her watch and spoon and all that memory brings


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 .

Limericks & Lighthearted Verse




Spelling Pronunciation


(On passing St Weonard’s Church 

 in Herefordshire, a unique dedication.)


The woodcutting Welshman, St Weonard,

Looking black, or at least dark sienna’d,

   Said, “ Where locally honoured,

   My name’s pronounced ‘Wonnard’,

But for most I’m a misprint for ‘Leonard’.”



Assault and Cattery


(On passing a Devon signpost marked

 'Neopardy Cross' )


A cat-loving couple from Neopardy

Left their neighbours in dudgeon and jeopardy.

    They could stand being bitten

    By a small furry kitten,

But then it grew larger, and leopardy.

From Herefordshire, Jerome Betts edits Lighten Up Online in Devon. His verse has appeared in Light, The Asses of Parnassus, New Verse News, Parody, Per Contra, Snakeskin and other places.

Free Verse

So rarely do contemporary bards

Enjoy an upgrade in financial status.

Amassing riches isn't in the cards

When one's essential work is tendered gratis.


It's said that poets write for other poets,

Which isn't quite as bad as this must sound,

For those submitting verse at least will know it's

Not subject to review by Ezra Pound.


Of course they'd like a broader readership,

But bowing to contemporary culture

Would just legitimize the septic grip

Of modern poetry's licentious vulture.


As Robin might have said to Marian:

Preserve what's good — all else is carrion.

First published in Blue Unicorn.



C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. His poems have appeared internationally, and his first print book, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder, was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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

Archive of Formal & Rhyming Poetry pages by issue:

 April 2018    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

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