Whittled Words – Decima 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:




Let us look at the poetic form known as decima. There are various versions of it, but we will start with the version popular in Puerto Rico. It is a 10-liner with 8 syllables per line, in the following rhyme pattern:




In Puerto Rico and other parts of Latin America, the decima is often sung and improvised. The form is also sometimes referred to as espinela after its founder, Spanish writer and musician Vicente Espinel. Those who write and perform decimas are known as decimistas or deimeros.

In Ecuador, the decima is a 44-line poem comprised of a quatrain and four 10-line stanzas. Each of the lines from the opening quatrain are repeated later in the poem. The lines still retain eight syllables, though the rhyme constraints are loosened. As, I said, there are many variations of the form. If you want a different rhyme scheme, there is also a decima Italiana with ten 8-syllable lines that rhyme ababcdedec.

Given the flexible method of counting syllables in Spanish verse, where an “Octosyllabic” line could easily have seven or nine syllables (as normally counted), in writing a decima in English it would not seem unreasonable to write in iambic pentameter (theoretically ten syllables), which comes more naturally to English verse. So, for another English variation, you could use 10 syllables per line.




Examples of Decima Poems:




by Susan Gentry



Never will I stop loving you

It does not matter what you say

You have a place with me to stay

No matter what you ever do

Always know what I say is true

You do not have to feel the same

You can think it is all a game

Sometimes life makes no sense at all

I pray each day that you will call

No questions asked, no one to blame



By Erich Goller

Colorful blooming pear and apple trees

Beautiful within the first weeks of spring

Everything is heavenly blossoming

With gentle blowing winds and humming bees

The time to plant some vegetable seeds

With the sunshine and rain all the seeds grow

Glorious rainbow putting on a show

Colorful flowers raising from the ground

Nature showing its beauty all around

With summer coming, time for spring to go



By Brad Osborne

They seemed perplexed as to just why

Even though I was still quite shook

This armed man now a wanted crook

Was so hard to identify

No matter how hard I may try

I remember giving the cash

But it all happened in a flash

Yet when asked to give some detail

It was not memory that failed

Since now everyone wears a mask



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 Decima poem. Thanks for reading!




15 Responses to “Whittled Words – Decima Poem”
  1. beth says:

    nicely done. I love your humorous twist at the end-

  2. jonicaggiano says:

    This looks like a style I could try. I loved your catchy example Brad.

    “But it all happened in a flash

    Yet when asked to give some detail

    It was not memory that failed

    Since now everyone wears a mask”

    That made me smile 😃. We need some humor in our lives everyday and especially now and you certainly did that for me this morning. That crook simply looked like everyone else. Have a great weekend my dear friend. Love ya Joni ❤️💕

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you, Jonikins! I am glad it made you chuckle. Hope you enjoy your weekend! Much love! 💕💝😘

      • jonicaggiano says:

        You too my friend. I can tell by your work you are a very smart man. Your sense of humor is an additionally nice touch to your personality. You have a nice weekend too my friend. Much love 💕 coming right back at you. ❤️💕😘

  3. kristianw84 says:

    I did not see that ending coming. You’re a master of twists!! Another great one, Brad!!

  4. Jim Borden says:

    I like the clever twist at the end of your decima!

  5. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Very nice! Great ending! I love this style, by far my fave and one I use a lot, with modifications, naturally, I am after all a jazz man and I must improvise. Great post!

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