Today’s writing challenge: To write the sparrowlet poem*

Again, inspired by Grace‘s suggestion that drinkers at dVerse Poets’ Pub might toy with a little morsel of an invented poetic form, as described after my experimental response to Grace’s challenge.

dRone and dRum: for Robin Friend

my Muse is dumb I cannot speak;
the Song Thrush has a silent beak.
His throat is still, his tongue is numb, 
the Raven's 'Nevermore' is bleak
I dance in mime upon my drum
I cannot speak; my Muse is dumb

behind me now I need you all
I plead you: catch me lest I stall
with calf, so heavy is the cow
without your gaze I stumble, fall
much further than you might allow
I need you all behind me now

© Kathy Labrum McVittie 24 February 2022

The Sparrowlet is an invented stanzaic form created by Kathrine Sparrow that she calls a variation of the Swap Quatrain. The defining feature is the inversion of the 2 hemistichs of L1 in L6 of each stanza.

The elements of the Sparrowlet are:

  • stanzaic, written in any number of sixains.  (A stanza of 6 lines).
  • syllabic, lines of 8 syllables each. (Often written in iambic tetrameter.)
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme BbabaA.
  • L1 and L6 of each stanza is written in 2 hemistichs. (Hemistich means a half a line of a verse).
  • The 2 halves of L1 are inverted and repeated as a refrain in L6. The last line MUST be the EXACT SAME as line 1, just switched around. You cannot change any of the words. (Punctuation may be changed to accommodate the meaning).

The pattern of the 6 line stanza:


(I made the A in bold, and the B in italics so you can see the pattern-Grace)

Deer in Winter

In winter’s cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams
a sheltered place, beneath the fold
of pine tree branches, where it seems
a covered cave, my fawn may hold
as moonlight beams in winter’s cold.

My little fawn, be safe and warm,
inside our nest, out of the storm.
Sleep close beside me ’til the dawn,
as all the woods to white transform.
I’ll wake you when the moonlight’s gone
be safe and warm, my little fawn.

Sources:   Here and here.