Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Day 4 2023 ~ How to write a quatrain poem for “30 Poems in 30 Days” #NationalPoetryMonth

For the 4th day of our challenge, let’s write a poem that has FOUR lines!! Cool.

Lots of poems fit that requirement but we will do a “quatrain” today. The word quatrain is derived from the French word for the number four: quatre

Every poet should know how to write a quatrain as it is the basis of a number of other poetry styles. Quatrain poems can be one stand-alone 4-line poem OR you can string two or more together to create a longer poem, BUT you will want to stay in the same rhyming pattern (like ABAB – see more on that further on). . .

BUT it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. There are very specific guidelines to follow. And this format is full of OPTIONS – so please pay attention:

Obviously, it has four lines. Each quatrain has four lines with a specific rhyming pattern, BUT there are lots of rhyming patterns out there. Basically, depending on which source you check, ANY of 12 patterns can work, but the lines with ending words that rhyme SHOULD have the same number of syllables as each other. The most common are AAAA, AABB and ABAB.

SO, if lines 1 & 3 rhyme, and lines 2 & 4 rhyme, you would have an ABAB rhyming pattern. (Each set of rhyming lines should have the same number of syllables).

OR, if lines 1 & 2 rhyme, and lines 3 & 4 rhyme, you would have an AABB rhyming pattern. (Again, rhyming lines should have the same number of syllables).

The actual “quatrain” is ONE verse – but you can always string a bunch of them together to create a “quatrain poem” which can have any number of quatrains in it, including just one. (You can do this if you are ambitious – but one, two, or three individual quatrains would be great for today).

In fact, you most likely already have a quatrain poem memorized. “Roses are Red” would be a prime example of a quatrain, with an ABCB pattern.


You can also use an AAAA, an AABB, or AABA, or BBCB or basically whatever – but the ending words should rhyme with each other in one pattern or another and whichever ones rhyme with each other, should have the same number of syllables.


Many hymns are quatrains and most of Emily Dickenson’s poems were made up of quatrains.


It may sound like a lot to think about but most Nursery Rhymes are quatrains – it’s not that hard ~ give it a shot. J





He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.

    --Edwin Markham (American Poet, April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940)



Here’s an old quatrain of mine ~ It has an AABB pattern and lines 1 & 2 are 8 syllables while lines 3 & 4 are 7 syllables:



You wonder where I’ve been all day.

I must admit, it’s hard to say.

Over here and over there.

I guess I’ve been everywhere.

       © 2014 Stephanie Abney


artwork by Stephanie Abney © 

And here’s a 2-verse quatrain poem AABB pattern that I wrote last year.

It seems I have raging A.D.D.
My “to-do” list is a sight to see.
I start one thing, then switch to something new.
I am exhausted when the day is through!
There are ways I have learned to cope,
I sort things in a different tote.
One for reading and one for art,
I’ve so many totes, where to start?

        © 2022 Stephanie Abney

Okay – whatcha’ got for quatrains?

PLEASE REMEMBER ~ any poetry found on this blog, written by me, is my personal property and may not be used without my permission, other than sharing it as an example in a lesson or to read it to someone. The same goes for any poems that are shared in the comments of this blog or elsewhere online as a result of this challenge. They are the creative property of the person who writes them. These poems are their original work and no one may use them without their permission. It is understood that they own the copyright to them as soon as they create them and especially once they post them. Thanks so much!

*** Also, if you choose to post your poems on your own blog or elsewhere on social media ~ that’s awesome. But PLEASE don’t just copy and paste my daily instructions, but rather post your poem on your blog or your FB wall or wherever AND LINK BACK TO EACH DAY’S SPECIFIC BLOG POST for others to come here to read the instructions. I’ve spent considerable time researching the poetry forms and writing them up to share with you. Thanks for respecting my work.



Xoxojme said...

Abruptly, shocked, I learned a friend had died.
Forcing an arresting moment: Now! Stop! Feel!
Engulfing memories left me gratified,
For his gifts of music my true heart revealed.

Connie Cockrell said...

I walk across my desert yard,
The rocks are crunching under foot.
The flowers, nibbled, have been scarred,
I don’t mind, it doubled output.