Poetry challenge #12: Quatern

I know I promised we would go back to the ‘shape’ poetry forms soon, and we will. But this is a form I discovered very recently and tried out to see if it is humanly possible to get a poem out of it without too much loss of blood or hair. It is! In fact it’s quite simple.

A quatern, if you didn’t already know is a poem of sixteen lines divided into four stanzas with a refrain that changes place in each stanza . The only other rules are:

Each line must have eight syllables

The first line (the refrain) becomes the second line of the second stanza, third line of the third and last line of the completed poem.

There are no restrictions on rhyme or metre, but I have tried for a simple rhyme pattern and a bit of a rhythm because I wanted to. You don’t have to unless the extra challenge appeals.

This is my example, those two moons again.


Two moons rose on a darkened field,

The stars were hid and no light showed,

But falling beams of darkness cold,

A voiceless wind in silence flowed.


While swell tides swallowed shore and cliff,

Two moons rose on a darkened field,

And veils of snow hid their wan light,

Till wild winds tore the flimsy shield.


From the uncharted depths of night,

Cold rocks circled the dying sun,

Two moons rose on a darkened field,

Growing, greening, forever done.


And when the mountains, rivers, seas,

The very heavens forced to yield,

No moving finger writ, the end,

Two moons rose on a darkened field.


The best way to start is to think of a good, strong first line (eight syllables, remember) that will stand up to use as a refrain. The rest is easy.

Post your poems or links here anytime this coming week. Looking forward to seeing the results.

War moons

More moons from the ‘two moons rise’ writing prompt. This poem is in the Rhyme Royal form with a rhyming pattern of ABABBCC. Apparently Chaucer liked using it.




Snow lies silent, a crisp white pall,

Light vies in vain, till forced to yield.

The last sky empties as dark stars fall,

And the endless ocean swallows them all,

Moons of war send famine stalking,

Blood ghosts to their haunts and dead men walking.