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This is a continuation of our poetry forms series. The previous one was the sonnet.

This prompt will remain open for four weeks to allow for editing and perfecting our entries.

A brief history

The ruba’i is a classical Persian quatrain or double couplet with 13-syllable lines and having rhyme scheme either AABA or AAAA.

Edward Fitzgerald popularized the form in English with his translation of the ruba’i of Omar Khayyam  in the 19th century. A famous use of the form was by Robert Frost in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. 

Here is Frost reading his poem:

Basic Structure

A single ruba’i is a quatrain, a poem of four lines. If there is a collection of more than one quatrain, it is called a rubaiyat, This is what Edward FitzGerald titled his 1859 translation of Omar Khayyam’s quatrains


Fitzgerald chose iambic pentameter, generally 10-syllable lines with alternating accents, for the meter in his translation.  The original meter had a longer line of about 13 syllables with possible variations on the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables.  Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” had shorter, iambic tetrameter lines. 

Rhyme schemes

The original Persian rhyme schemes were AABA or AAAA.  The second rhyme scheme allowed one to think of the quatrain as a double couplet.

Fitzgerald used the AABA rhyme scheme in his translation. The unrhymed B line is a signal for the English-language reader that the form is a “Rubaiyat Quatrain” rather than some other four-line poem.

Having the unrhymed third line allows the poet to optionally use that sound from the first quatrain as the main rhyming sound in the next quatrain thereby interlocking the quatrains.

This article on the rubaiyat will be updated based on your input and grow into an entry for our upcoming book.

  • Please write a ruba’i or rubaiyat and link your post below. Use the opportunity to read through the comments you receive, and edit if you would like to.
  • You are welcome to link up an old rubaiyat that you feel fits the prompt or you can take a favorite free verse poem and rewrite it as a rubaiyat.
  • If you like, it would be interesting if you added a short note about your thoughts when writing the rubaiyat. The comments will be a part of the book in the end.
  • Comment as usual and if you would like to receive constructive feedback on your poem please indicate that in your comments. If you ask for constructive feedback, be prepared to give back constructive feedback as well
  • If you would like to edit and improve your poem please update a new link in the Mr Linky below so it shows