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Hello again everyone, and welcome to the pub. For today’s FormForAll, I thought we’d learn about Quaterns. These are a French form and they do that thing the French love to do by repeating an entire line. This is called the refrain and the entire poem works in “fours”. However, as with most form poems, feel free to work somewhat outside that “box” if you feel it’s necessary to your subject, or suits your particular voice.

The Quatern is:

1.  stanzaic, written in 4 quatrains.

2.  syllabic, usually written in lines of 8 syllables (four metric feet). May be iambic, trochaic, or syllabic.

3.  rhymed at the poet’s discretion. Possible rhyme schemes are Axax xAxa axAx xaxA, x being unrhymed and the cap A being the refrain. Or Aabb aAcc ddAa eeaA or any combination the poet chooses as long as the refrain is in the proper position.

4.  composed with a refrain that is repeated as

L1 of the first stanza
L2 of the second stanza
L3 of the third stanza
L4 of the fourth stanza

The source of this information can be found at: Poetry Magnum Opus


As an example I’m pleased to present a quatern by one of our own –
© Madeleine Begun Kane

Queasy About Quaterns

As I attempt to write this verse,
I must confess I start to curse.
A quatern is what’s been assigned.
Already I am in a bind.

I feel confused and somewhat terse,
As I attempt to write this verse.
So please forgive me if I whine.
My limericks are where I shine.

I’d like to stop, but can’t refrain
From trying this quatern again.
As I attempt to write this verse,
I fear that it is getting worse.

I’m tempted to reject this form.
About its rules I feel lukewarm.
I’m getting ill. I need a nurse,
As I attempt to write this verse.

And another by: © Judi Van Gorder  
who can be found with her work and other forms @  Poetry Magnum Opus

The Pen Whispers

My pen hesitates on the page 
when I sit to write this letter, 
unsure just how I can assuage
your reaction to my ramblings.          

We have talked about this before.     
The pen hesitates on this page           
and whispers how much I love you,  
better I shout it from a stage. 

Instead I hide inside a cage   
fearing you will never hear me.          
The pen hesitates on the page
hoping these words won’t go ignored.           

We have travelled long together        
yet grow no closer as we age.
My romantic dreams unfinished        
this pen hesitates on the page.           

So have fun.  It’s probably easiest to find the refrain first and remember to end with a word that has at least three rhyming words that work into your context. The rest is up to you. Link with Mr. Linky and remember to support your fellow poets.  They’ll be eager to know what you think.  Looking forward to all your creative efforts.