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

Field ghost

The warm night air was rose perfumed
low grasses felt a vixens tread
above the hill, moon’s silver bloomed
a dormouse crouched, undone by dread.
A crowd of tiny beings fled
beneath the bane of feathered arc
of grasping talons, chalk-white head
a bright death wafting through the dark.

How Did It Go?

I started out by choosing a theme and a first line, then deciding which rhymes to use, which end words would work. Then I filled in the gaps as best I could. It may be slightly jerky because of that, as each line stands alone.

I quite enjoyed it – counting syllables is still quite new to me. It does feel rather like a crossword puzzle, juggling the syllables and rhymes to fit. I don’t yet feel I can tackle my normal subjects with this kind of form – it always seems to be landscape poems that come out in the mix!

Lesley Curwen


At last we wake to pleasant warmth
and daffodils that nod and dance
drink gentle rain from softer earth
as they live out a further chance
to preen before the poet’s glance –
each a mirror of the other –
falling in a springtime trance
whispered to a famous brother

I wrote this quite quickly. Harking back to last week, it’s also a square poem (8×8).

Wordsworth has allegedly ruined the use of the daffodil by poets so I’ve done it anyway, with a twist. Bonus points if anyone gets the mirror and trance references.

Tim Fellows


This morning so blue, limpid air
crow-calling, ah-ah to the light,
a golden flood with wealth to spare,
fills up dull ditches, running bright
as galaxies that mesh the night,
while constellations, stately slow,
step toe to fiery toe, ignite
dawn-strewn dew-gems in afterglow.

Hawk hill

High upon this green hill, hawk-hung,
as mists dissolve and change their state,
fall in dew then rise feather-strung,
to hover in mid-air, I wait,
breathless, as searching eyes locate
some small furred thing, warm heart beating,
watch eternal death in the bate
of unfurled wings, life bleed, fleeting.

How Did it go?

Tentatively. There are a lot of rhymes to juggle with in a short space, ababbcbc and no repeats. As a standalone stanza, it has to be all there in the eight lines. Though it hasn’t been my favourite, I’ve enjoyed this square 8×8 form, and getting it to make sense. I think of this aspect as a form of maths too.

Jane Dougherty

Transistor Radio City (Prologue- A Huitain for Mid March)

Linear lines line the ground pure mystic,
and so, I come, and so, I go.
My heart ground down from a dark holistic.
Come to me when the tide is low.
The flight lands where trucks stop, below
ever present moon, amidst pity,
spinning presence of ancestor escrow.
Head to Transistor Radio City –

Carpenter moon scavenger moon,
then search the agricultural desert.
And you can never leave too soon.
A rally of racing car drivers flirt
with ballistic missiles and drone age skirts.
Bottomless aching Cups dance fall gritty,
on radioactive soils, shifting red dirt.
Head to transistor Radio City –

How Did It Go?
A quest poem written from the desert exploring the strident rhythms of the Huitain ballade form – which from what I read — goes back to Chaucer.  I could see turning this into a longer manic-dystopian ‘tale’ with lots of mishaps and mayhem. These images emerged out of my observational travels and interactions with local players; I scanned the landscape, threw runes and tarot – and tried to alternate 8 and 10 syllable lines, use the simple-yet complex scheme: ababbcbc, and create a repeatable last line refrain that could temper and ground a longer work.

Robert Frede Kenter

Bios And Links

Robert Frede Kenter

is a writer, visual artist, designer, widely published pushcart nom, who runs Ice Floe Press http://www.icefloepress.net and is author of hybrid works: Audacity of Form (Ice Floe Press), EDEN (www.rareswanpress); and has work in print anthologies incl. The Book of Penteract (Penteract Press), Stories from Blood and Aphorisms (Gutter Press), forthcoming in Seeing in Tongues from Steel Incisors (2023).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.