Whittled Words – Rispetto Poem


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:



A rispetto is a very old Italian poetic form and its age has spawned many definitions, but the two most common variations are these:

Rispetto #1: Poem comprised of two quatrains (4 lines) written in iambic (unstress, stress) tetrameter (four feet or, in this case, 8 syllables).

Rispetto #2: Poem (or song) comprised of 8 hendecasyllabic (11-syllable) lines, usually one stanza.

Both versions appear to follow the rhyme scheme: ababccdd. Though, it can also be found in an abababcc pattern. There are more than a few sources which state rispettos were originally written to pay “respect” to a woman.


Examples of Rispetto Poems:



(Variation #2)

by Joseph Harker

 I write her a three-page letter, to come out,
skulk off like a coward once it’s delivered.
She knows now what my shyness has been about,
knows why my lips and my tongue always quivered.
We have no stomach for venom or grudges,
nor the friends playing my jury, my judges.
She trades me sympathy for the truth I give:
our love-dreams are chaste, our lives are free to live.



(Variation #1)

By Icandootoo

I wish she’d seen how blue it glowed
The screen, alight within this space
this darkened room, this small abode
within these walls, upon this face.

To conquer, capture, vanquish, raze
to kill the screen and earn Their praise.
I wish right now she’d felt the same.
I lost at love…still, won the game!



(Variation #1)

By Brad Osborne


Alight upon the maiden fair

And whisper in her shapely ear

Remind her how indeed so rare

Golden braids drip with angel’s tear

Ne’er oft do gods see fit bestow

Their finest gifts displayed for show

This angel topped with sunlight mane

Running to stay out of the rain



(Variation #2)

By Brad Osborne


It is like the stars shift just a little bit

Like everything leans to one side of the world

Long shadows in a room that is barely lit

Old photos strewn about now yellowed and curled

These memories scattered in the failing light

Streak face in tears, hurt the heart, and haunt blurred sight

I cry for the dreams we had conjured in head

Lying now like still life scattered on the bed


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 Rispetto poem. Thanks for reading!



10 Responses to “Whittled Words – Rispetto Poem”
  1. Jim Borden says:

    a great way to start the day – learning something new. nice job fitting your thoughts and words into a rispetto poem!

  2. kristianw84 says:

    Very cool! I have heard of a rispetto before, but I didn’t realize it was so many lines and syllables. Thanks for sharing.

  3. kristianw84 says:

    Here is my attempt at a rispetto:

    Small Things

    Do you ever just take the time
    to appreciate the small things?
    The first taste of a sweet, red wine
    the things that tug at your heartstrings

    It’s the comfort of Christmas Eve
    the magic that makes you believe
    laughter to ease the pain;….a bit
    Gene Kelly singing in the rain

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  1. […] A Rispetto poem. […]

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