#TheWombwellRainbow #Poeticformschallenge last week was a #Tripadi. Enjoy examples by Tim Fellows, Lesley Curwen, Robert Frede Kenter, Jenny Brav and Jane Dougherty and read how they felt when writing one.

Wishing for better times

I see the dark behind the light,
the glint of silver in the night,
the moon and stars when all the world is grey.

I see the hollow in the tree
the fallen flower, silent bee,
and wish the night would blossom into day.

Within the confines of the glade
the spread of oaks the gentle shade
I hear the sea storm’s voice, the lash of spray,

the salt that clings and turns to rust,
the rotten timbers beached, the dust
of aeons in the foam, a star astray.

And reaching out to catch a beam
of sunlight, pearl light, golden stream
I wish this spectral calm, this peace would stay.


These days of sun and nights of frost
revolve until time’s meaning’s lost
in oscillating fears and floral joys.

These morning fogs that freeze the grass,
that coat the pools in sunless glass,
the birds still sing, dance wing-tip tail to toe.

Pearl silver colours of the night
linger shadowed in the half-light,
and sink to snowdrop bells pale-chiming chill.

How did it go?

The form of the tripadi is deceptively simple, tercets in lines of 8 8 and 10 syllables, end rhyme on L1 and L2. The third line breaks the rhythm of the first couplet and has no rhyme. I read on one site that the strength of this third line is in its difference, drawing attention by other means, like internal rhyming, alliteration and its message. Also, that each stanza should read like a single thought, which means no run-ons.
I admit that this form didn’t much appeal to me. The examples given on various sites are clunky, syllable-counting but with no rhythm. I never understand why we count syllables but not beats, especially in rhyming poetry. The first couplet was easy enough, but the difficulty came with the third line, and how to give it a sense of purpose rather than having it sound like an afterthought.
In my first attempt, I added a variant, an end rhyme to link the third lines of each stanza. The second poem sticks to the rules.

Jane Dougherty

My heart is bursting at the seams,
flying high and wide in my dreams,
begs to be unchained from the links of fear

How did it go?

This was my first time writing a Tripadi. I had written a Tanka the day before (also my first attempt at that form), on a heart-opening experience I’d had that week. The tanka was awkward, with periods in the middle of lines to keep with the syllable count. When I got the Tripadi count, I saw that the structure matched what I was trying to do much better. The first line up to the period was 8 syllables, and from there everything flowed. I loved the rhyme in the second line, and the longer unrhyming third. Thank you for introducing me to this structure!’

Jenny Brav


Lines of cars stop-start in sequence;
traffic lights an inconvenience.
The sun peers out to watch us start our day.

Mustn’t be late in the office,
start on time, tap keys in chorus;
be seen to be at work’s the only way.
Never mind how good your work is,
we sit here in this sterile circus
where tigers swapped with sheep all earn their pay.
Forget about your work-life balance!
Don’t you dare encourage talent!
Distrust the colourful, reward the grey.
Watch the office clock tick over
Could it really go much slower?
At five o’clock we pack our things away.
In the car we feel like crying
Every day’s a bit more dying
As we inch home the evening light decays.

How did it go?

I used your “This Day” prompt number 351 to generate the theme. I liked the rhythm of this form and I added a rhyme for the third lines across the stanzas to make it even more lyric-like. It’s 3 years to the day since I last commuted. I do not miss it.

Tim Fellows


A shoal of trees swims through the mist
above lost shores of crystalled schist
in shreds and spume of ocean flown by ghosts.

The shoal is vanished, swallowed whole
by billowed white, rococoed scrolls
of icy vapour binding the land’s eyes.

The waves reach high, the sky is dead.
One colour left, opaque as lead
until the gale blows fog and souls away.

How did it go?

I liked this form. Tercets are appealing anyway, but the slightly longer third line demands a conclusion to each verse. And I found myself using internal rhymes as well as the end rhymes for the first two lines.
I don’t know why but these forms seem to be encouraging me to make less contemporary, more mannered, archaic poems. I think I must positively resist that!

Lesley Curwen

Momentary Perception

The butterfly orange, an orchid
One inside the window, one out
Drawn to the sun, to the sun, to the sun


The route of fever in the voice
The cup, the tree branch. In Venice
Lost in photos of the drying canals.

Veins of a Statue

What I cut; my arms looked after
My sleeve slipping up to stature
The statue of your gaze, surface of Mars

How did it go?

Was looking to find some cogent images and achieve the syllable count 8/8/8 plus the end rhyme. First poem emerged from my meditation on an orchid that was leaning to the sun. The rest of it followed easily from there. I love this form – for me – it’s a way to explore deeply personal edgy tableaus of self, other, positionality, each poem like a breath inhale/exhalation. I would love to try to create a longer Tripadi, perhaps one single poem made of 3 stanzas – a tripod – an exquisite corpse, a more fully considered 3-part-triptych.

Robert Frede Kenter

Bios and Links

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, visual artist, editor, and publisher of Ice Floe Press. Work recently in Storms Journal #2, Streetcake, Anthropocene, Anti-Heroin Chic, Acropolis. Visual poems forthcoming in a new anthology from Steel Incisors (2023).

Lesley Curwen

is a broadcaster, poet and sailor living within sight of Plymouth Sound. Her poems have been published by Nine Pens, Arachne Press, Broken Sleep and GreenInk, and later this yea

Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

Tm Fellows

is a writer from Chesterfield in Derbyshire whose ideas are heavily influenced by his background in the local coalfields, where industry and nature lived side by side. His first pamphlet “Heritage” was published in 2019. His poetic influences range from Blake to Owen, Causley to Cooper-Clarke and more recently the idea of imagistic poetry and the work of Spanish poet Miguel Hernandez.

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