Whittled Words – Interlocking Rubaiyat

Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:


This is a really long name for a poetic form and is sometimes referred to as rubai. And strange as it seems, this form has been hiding under my nose for years without me even realizing it. Of course, I’m speaking of Interlocking Rubaiyat.

I’ve long been familiar with the 12th-century Persian work, ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’, but I did not recognize it as a form. And without piecing it together, one of my all-time favorite poems, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,’ by Robert Frost, executes interlocking rubaiyat to perfection.

Just goes to show that no matter how much we think we know, there’s still so much more to learn.

Here are the rules of the interlocking rubaiyat:

  • The poem is comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern.
  • Each successive quatrain picks up the previous unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So, a three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme like this: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, as in Frost’s example above, rhymes all four lines.
  • Lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter.


Examples of Interlocking Rubaiyat Poems:



by Keight

 I have the moment tucked away:
Your smile was like a sunny day.
Your eyes were kind, your voice was deep;
I hoped it’d always stay the same.

When we were wed, we both did weep
With promises to have and keep.
The water flowed from both our eyes;
We waded through our dreams knee-deep.

Our love is still like ocean’s skies,
Open and vast without a guise.
We beat, we two, within one heart,
And pains no more the day’s goodbyes.


by Robert Lee Brewer

Forget the day he plummeted to earth
in a mess of wings and excessive girth
because he once knew the secret of flight
and may someday experience rebirth

like a phoenix transfixed by its own light
with fire that burns against the frozen night
he’ll turn to ash like all worldly things do
and be renewed through a pure divine rite.


By Brad Osborne

There are no words that I can possibly say

No plea or prayer that will command you stay

First row seats for anticipated show

But in the first act the lead walks away

Try as I may I cannot make you go

You will not pull me to or push me fro

Your indecision slowly killing me

And feelings find no roots from which to grow

I never thought that I would ever be

Like harbored ship on a beckoning sea

Anchors aweigh and cast the moorings free

I must sail once more to find destiny


I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Interlocking Rubaiyat poem. Thanks for reading!

9 Responses to “Whittled Words – Interlocking Rubaiyat”
  1. I like your poem for the meaning I got from the words, no matter the form.

  2. Jim Borden says:

    like you, I’ve never heard of this term, but I am certainly familiar with Frost’s poem (it’s one of my favorites). And I’m always impressed that you are able to create your own poem that is an example of the genre you are talking about that week. well done, Brad!

  3. Syeda Ummul Fazal says:

    This is my take on the interlocking Rubaiyat.
    I would love to know your views.
    Thank you.
    ‘This April Isn’t Same Anymore… ‘

    This April isn’t same my dear; one dire dream
    Some lost emotions, desires ashen, ne’er gleam
    Hope; over and gone, solace turned in monochrome
    Life’s song, macabre; broken hearts scream

    Longing for the halcyon, every dark night, I roam
    Vale of memories, scenic; past echoing shalom
    Stargazing, blooming lovers, stellar romance
    Words swirled, unbridled, poetry found its home

    Serendipity, a season, two hearts, one glance
    Moonlight, two souls; moonwalk, moon dance
    Blooming emotions limned heavenly stories
    Destiny smirked; cupid’s arrow met a mischance

    Idyllic moments, nothing but blue memories
    Heart and mind; purely two golden treasuries
    Shadows out and loud, I hear whispers galore
    Mind maunders into the maze of reveries

    Promises once, now embers; breathe no more
    Swollen eyes await calm days and nights of yore
    Rhythmic rain, touches my heart to the core
    Spring but alas! this April isn’t same anymore.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] this from the bottom up (this isn’t a reverse poem), it then becomes a rubai– an Inertlocking Rubaiyat poem. I just wanted to write a poem that’s flexible and I like messing with […]

  2. […] [Interlocking Rubaiyat]And soon a new epic will be told,One of a dragon slayer so boldWith a sharp silver sword at handHe’d journey into the den of cold […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: