Search this Blog

Monday 18 July 2011

Ottava Rima - WANTING

After a short break, I am continuing with the "Exploring Poetry" journey with a new poetry form "OTTAVA RIMA".
What is this Ottava Rima?.It is a rhyming stanza of Italian origin usually for long poems.Many poeters such as Boccaccio , Poliziano , Boiardo Spenser, Milton, Yeats and  Lord Byron have successfully used this form in their poems.The Ottava Rima in its current form was created by the Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio, who used it first in Theseide.

The Filostrato of Giovanni Boccaccio

To write a Ottava Rima  :
  1. As the name says ,thItalian musical term "ottava" is related to the Italian word for eight: otto.  and "rima"means rhyme in Italian meaning that it is a stanza of eight lines which has rhyming scheme.
  2. It is usually written in  iambic pentameter.Iambic foot means that has two syllables the first lightly stressed, and the second heavily stressed. Pentameter is five of those feet to a line. 
  3. From the above two points, we have to write a poem of eight lines in five feet and each foot has the stress on the second syllable.
  4. The rhyming pattern of each stanza consists of three alternate rhymes and one double rhyme, following the ab-ab-ab-cc pattern.It is said that the Italian poets used the female rhymes to these patterns.
As child ,I wished for things toying my eyes  (a) 
Some worked with tantrums ,every child's weapon  (b) 
To seek warmth and attention this child relies  (a) 
Shield , I  snail into my Mother's curtain  (b) 
As adult , I grabbed eyes to make magpies    (a) 
Ruling the world as if my own cabin  (b) 
I had my own drama and scenes to be  (c) 
Yet rooted to the  ground, pleased to agree  (c) 

A bit of my grand passed to my mother  (a) 
Who then passed it to my daughter through me (b) 
I wanted my kid to grow with laughter  (a) 
With the positives that I  learned to gee   (b) 
Growing from mistakes , part of  another (a) 
Clung onto my generations to be (b) 
To follow my journey , quenching my steam (c)
In search to end my half completed dream (c)

I tried to follow the meter and rhyming pattern.The foot varies according to the rhyme , not so iambic .Post your views below as comments on the same .If You have a Ottava Rima of your own , do leave your links in the comment section below .


  1. molto bello.
    very beautifl


  2. very challenging form. well done.

    i wish I can try it some day.

  3. Honestly, I'm afraid of metric forms. I feel limited, constrained whenever I try to follow a specific pattern.

    Given that, I really commend you for trying. I find it extremely difficult to write a metric (or rhymed) poem, even just for a hand exercise.

    To be specific on the poem, on a purely technical level, maybe you'd also want to experiment more on using unusual end sounds for the pattern. Just a thought. :)

    Nice poem though. Maybe one of these days I brave the metric side of poetry too. :)

  4. you handle this form well...very beautifully done...

  5. Well done - sticking to any form is a challenge

  6. Nicely done, Uma. I enjoy learning about new forms from you.

  7. Beautiful job o a challenging form!

  8. Oh wow very well done, this does look challenging! I don't understand iambic pentameter I read about it but it doesn't help I just cannot figure it out