I. Terza Rima
To start, you need a word with which to rhyme --
But patience! let us pen a second line;
and now's your chance to make poetic chime.
So just when you are feeling mighty fine,
you realize it isn't over yet --
to really make this terza rima shine,
you have to catch your words on papered net.
They leap a-gasp out of your ponding brain --
Be quick! or risk the chance you may forget;
and let them meet their end in a quatrain
- - -
A rubai makes a ruby's flame look dull;
its rhymes can tame the horns of wild bull.
And if you give it chance to charm your ear,
so too will you be captive to its pull.
It isn't such a complicated thing,
to find a word to rhyme and make it sing.
Lines one and two and four all heed the call,
with only number three found differing.
So as you link them, they together make
the ruba'iyat's prestigious form, and take
(some flour, eggs and sugar; mix them well;
add icing after you have baked) the cake!
- - -
III. Rhyme Royal
What better way to honor royalty,
if lacking in the tithes department so,
than to present their own rhyme specialty?
"A bee? A bee! Bee – see, see?" it shall go,
and buzzing in their heads now, to and fro,
they will not soon forget this treasured sting --
and ask of you no future gifts to bring.
- - -
IV. Ottava Rima
"Ottava Rima!" shouts the crowd, with pride;
inside the stadium their hero stands,
this open form of poesy decried
by Emperor August, who claps his hands
at thought of Ott by tiger to be tried—
but triumph and respect this rhyme demands:
repeat a couplet thrice to be so charmed
and end with a paired fourth to go unharmed.
- - -
V. Spenserian Stanza
To get your A-B-C's mixed properly
to yield a grand Spenserian concoction,
you first must choose your rhymes so gingerly --
or risk poetic-sounding putrefaction.
Alone, each word has strength but of a fraction
the stanza's whole; the plots may differ, yet
the schemes it rhymes are never up for auction.
The A and B dance twice, the step upset
when B then pairs with C; again; the C is left.