Whittled Words – Chanso 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:




Chanso poems are adaptable to the needs of the poet. This French form consists of five or six stanzas with an envoy that is roughly half the size of a regular stanza. So, what is a regular stanza?

That depends on what the poet decides. The main rules are that each line of the poem should have the same number of syllables, and each stanza should be uniform when it comes to length and rhyme scheme. Beyond that, the poet has final say.

Thus a chanso could consist of 5 tercets followed by a couplet written with an abc rhyme scheme for each line; or it could be 6 12-line stanzas with an intricate rhyme scheme that is halved to a 6-line envoy. For my example below, I went with simple quatrains.


Examples of Chanso Poems:



By Ronovan

I search and spy you from across the room.
At first sight, I felt my heart burst in bloom.
My thoughts race to islands of blue waters
And for just a moment my vision blurs.

I touch your dress and feel the electric.
In this moment I know you’re the right pick.
I grip you in my hands, oh how perfect.
You hold my attention, firm, and direct.

You open to me, no fear to reveal.
Fragile as glass or hard as tungsten steel.
The lure of the first moments of delight.
No doubt about it, it’s love at first sight.

Your voice just for me, soft as a whisper,
Drawing me in and cause visions to stir.
Telling me what you plan to give to me,
Every single thought I can’t help but agree.

My eyes thrill to follow your every line
Making the moon rise and the stars to shine.
My mind explodes… the things to do with you,
and oh… the smile on my face when we’re through.

Took you home quick… opened your cover too.
Turn those pages for a whodunit clue.



By Robert Lee Brewer

With all the things I have been through,
I thought it must be obvious–
the odds good you already knew–
like R2 I’ve grown mischievous

and abandoned Jedi and Sith
for a vacay with my Ewoks,
who love to hear me spin a myth
and always listen when I talk.

Not that I hate on Master Luke,
though I could do without that Han,
who’s quick to give a tough rebuke
every time things don’t go to plan.

It’s just I don’t like being shot
or getting pulled into pieces.
After all, I’m not a robot
when I’ve got telekinesis,

or at least, that’s what Ewoks think
as they sing “yub-yub” on their moon,
which was once on the very brink
of the Empire’s galactic doom.

So look and you’ll find me no more:
I’ll be the droid you’re looking for.



By Brad Osborne

Like an old wind-up phonograph

That yields unperfected sound

Or the misspelling on an epitaph

Carved in stone stuck in the ground

Like a dark stain upon white linen

That no scrubbing can remove

Or the fearful thoughts found spinning

Needing something more to prove

Like the sun-faded memories

Turned to sepia in our head

Or our own perceived tragedies

Found in where our life has led

Like the rotting grape that hangs

Amid the most sweet of fruit

Or the hidden killing fangs

That long to eat our truth

Like a road that leads into sunset

On an unpaved and buckboard ride

Our lives will hold imperfections

No matter how hard we tried

Seek not life in perfection

More important, seek direction


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 Chanso poem. Thanks for reading!


16 Responses to “Whittled Words – Chanso Poem”
  1. beth says:

    I enjoyed this form and your poem’s message was wonderful

  2. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Quite an amusing form I’d say and one that can lead to much creativity in verse, rhythm and rhyme. I must say, my friend, that I enjoyed your example much more than the others, which were graceful and fine as well, but yours was, to me, much more enjoyable to read. Once again, a smashing post which is a true learning experience. I can save all your editions of whittled words and create my own book on how to write poetry in different manners and forms and for this I am quite grateful Brad. All the best and my wishes for a great weekend! (rainy and cold here in Valencia, part of our city was flooded as we haven’t had this much volume of water falling on us in the last 40 years mate! Incredible, our “river” park, Jardines del Turia, actually became a river once again! Well take good care and stay safe.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you Francisco! We are having a odd bit of warm weather here recently and this weekend looks like it will include some time out ricing the motorcycle. May be some of the last riding of the season. You stay safe and dry, and enjoy your weekend my brother!

      • Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

        That sounds smashingly grand my friend, hope you enjoy that ride! Take good care and all the best!

  3. kristianw84 says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this form. The two poems you selected are wonderful, and yours is exquisite and PERFECTLY said. ❤

  4. jonicaggiano says:

    Brad I agree with Francisco. I often do like your example of the form you are teaching us the best.

    “Like the rotting grape that hangs

    Amid the most sweet of fruit

    Or the hidden killing fangs

    That long to eat our truth”
    I love these lines especially my friend. Your work is lovely.
    Sending you lots of hugs and love my friend. 💕❤️🤗😘Jonikins

  5. Jim Borden says:

    I did like the flow of this style of poem, and the ending message is inspirational.

    I especially like these two lines:

    Like the sun-faded memories
    Turned to sepia in our head

    Well done, Brad!

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