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!



14 Responses to “Whittled Words – Rispetto Poem”
  1. beth says:

    a beautiful form, well done. today is our fairy tale tea party, so I was drawn to goldilocks

  2. Jim Borden says:

    I also like the style and rhythm of this poetry form. and yes, you can’t have the rain ruin your mane…

  3. jonicaggiano says:

    Brad this is a lovely type of poetry. Both of your examples are excellent. I really love these lines as the scene I see so very clearly.

    “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”

    Beautifully done dear friend. I am sending you extra hugs and love this weekend and thinking of you too. Love you Jonikins ❤️🤗❤️🙏🤗❤️🙏

  4. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Lovely form indeed Brad and the samples you’ve written are brilliant!

  5. Shreya Joshi says:

    After a really long time, here’s my attempt.

    A business woman fierce and bold,
    Her eyes as shrewd as an eagle,
    On her affairs, she’s a tight hold,
    Don’t mess with her, or you’ll shrivel.

    That rad woman is no other,
    Than my super duper cool mother,
    She’s awesome, my role model,
    Raised me bold and strong, didn’t coddle.

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