Whittled Words – Strambotto 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:


Some of these forms are older than others, and the strambotto traces back to the 13th century. This Italian form known as ottava siciliana (Sicilian octave) or strambotto popolare was the preferred form in Southern Italy, while strambotto toscano was more popular in Tuscany [hat tip to Edward Hirsch’s A Poet’s Glossary]. Today strambotto toscano is known as ottava rima.

Here are the basic rules for strambotto:

  • Octave (8-line) poems or stanzas
  • Hendecasyllabic (or 11-syllable) lines
  • Rhyme scheme: abababab

Alternate version: There’s also a six-line variant form (still called strambotto) with hendecasyllabic lines and an ababab rhyme scheme.


Examples of Strambotto Poems:



by Candace


I found a yellow crocus blooming today
amid the detritus of a season gone.
Its slender green and white leaves finding a way
through fallen leaves and bits of bark. It was drawn
by Spring’s silent signals and the Sun’s warm rays.
Tightly curled buds, the color of a new fawn,
unfurl to show off in golden, flouncy play
as a milder wind makes them dance in my lawn



by PressOn

Along the tree line lies a stretch of old snow
sheltered and protected from the southern sun;
how strange to think that just a few days ago
it covered all, as far as the eye could run,
but now the remnants cower, nowhere to go.
I suppose it’s fitting: springtime has begun
and sprouts are springing up too, but even so,
it’s hard to watch snow wearing a cast of dun.



By Brad Osborne

Not a more beautiful day could there e’er be

Warm wind and sunshine melt away passing day

If I could offer but one heavenly plea

Have horizon tell the sun to go away

For I do not want this day to by me flee

Not knowing when another will come this way

Push back the twilight, do not set the moon free

Let this moment stand still and this feeling stay



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 Strambotto poem. Thanks for reading!




10 Responses to “Whittled Words – Strambotto Poem”
  1. Wonderfully written Brad! Your poem expressed those thoughts well, on how we all have on warm sunny winter days…, you bring to life, all those thoughts.

  2. Jim Borden says:

    great poem, made me wish for a lazy summer day. this style seemed tough, with the 11 syall

    • Jim Borden says:

      my finger must have hit the send button! wanted to say that this style seems tough, with the mandate of exactly 11 syllables per line. And I learned a new word: hendecasyllabic!

      • Brad Osborne says:

        Thanks Jim! It took me a few minutes of practice just to be able to say ‘hendecasyllabic’ correctly, as it was new to me too. Although being limited by syllable count can be a little more difficult than an unrestricted style, I do believe it is where we start to separate prose from poetry. Thank you, as always for your kind support!

  3. jupitergrant says:

    I really enjoyed Whittled Words. It’s really informative

  4. Thanks a lot. This is great content. I might share some for you guys too. Great work poster!

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