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!


13 Responses to “Whittled Words – Strambotto Poem”
  1. Good show my friend! I like the rhyming pattern in this style of poetry and it may allow for good enjambments as well. I truly enjoyed your example, not only for the perfection of the craft, which you have demonstrated, but also for its content and artistic quality. Happy Friday to you!

  2. beth says:

    lovely patterns in this one

  3. kristianw84 says:

    As always, yours is the best. It makes me wonder what was so special about the day that you did not want it to end. Very well-written, my dear friend!

  4. Jim Borden says:

    it would be nice if those perfect days would just last forever. I like this style of poem; well done, Brad!

  5. envisioneden says:

    Wonderful Self Discovery

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