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!


17 Responses to “Whittled Words – Interlocking Rubaiyat”
  1. beth says:

    ah, off to find your destiny….. well done

  2. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Loved the example you wrote Brad, exquisitely brilliant!

  3. Ah, Brad, what a poem.
    “And feelings find no roots from which to grow”

  4. kristianw84 says:

    “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is also one of my favorite poems. Your poem was magical, as they often are, in that it transported me and I found myself relating to it. Just like Frost. Well done, my friend! ❤❤

  5. Jim Borden says:

    I agree with Kritian – Stopping… is one of my favoritepoems also, but I would have never noticed the rhyming scheme. It’s one I like a lot, and one you have used well in your poem about finding your destiny. I wish you the est on that journey. Good to see that Brewer fellow back!

  6. Shreya Joshi says:

    Really love this form. ❤️Here’s my attempt…

    The enchantment in your coal-black eyes,
    Caught my fleeting heart by surprise,
    Ah, such a beautiful electric feeling,
    You were perfection, I’d gladly idolize.

    But beneath your light so blinding,
    Laid the depth of darkness, terrifying,
    You trapped my heart, stole my soul,
    Your betrayal, utterly heart wrenching.

    Now, every time I see your face,
    I want to slice it with an axe,
    Lava of hate erupts from my chest,
    You’re a demon in an angle’s dress.

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