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!


18 Responses to “Whittled Words – Strambotto Poem”
  1. Wow! Thank you so much for introducing this lovely style of poetry! The three poems are just wonderful! I especially enjoyed the last one! Will definitely try writing a Strambotto.

  2. beth says:

    I even love the name of this form! I loved all three of these and love the ending of standing still and savoring the moment

  3. Jim Borden says:

    there are those moments when it would be wonderful if we could make time stand still; you’ve captured that feeling so well, Brad!

  4. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    This is a very nice style for sure my friend. I really enjoyed it and the sample you wrote was outstanding! Great work! Great sensitivity! And great artistry!

  5. jonicaggiano says:

    Beautiful Brad. A day so glorious you don’t want today good by fearing it will be ended and you may never have a day so perfect again. So lovely Brad. I know that feeling. The great days on this earth are fleeting but we have better days to look forward too. Sending you my love. Beautiful writing Brad. Love ❤️🤗🦋🙏Jonikins

  6. jonicaggiano says:

    Sending you more love ❤️ Brad. Hope most people were vaccinated where you are and it is safe there. Love Jonikins. Sending a basket of fresh cut herbs in miniature pots. Inside each one a small lamp is hidden. They came from my fairies, each has a wish in it as well. Use them wisely and cherish them. ⭐️❤️🤗😘🧚‍♀️🧚🏻🧚‍♂️

  7. SelmaMartin says:

    Totally cooool, this form. But I have yet to find I don’t like 🙈
    I love them all.
    Being good at writing my own is a total ‘nother story.
    Thanks for introducing it to me today. Love it. Loved your poem. Tremendously. XoXo. Blessings.

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