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How to Write a Sparrowlet Poem

Updated on March 11, 2016
Sparrowlet profile image

Katharine writes both modern and traditional poetry. She was named poet laureate for AllPoetry 2015 and has two books of poetry in print.

photo by Erasergirl
photo by Erasergirl | Source

A New Poetry Form!

Writing poetry can be a creative, rewarding and fun experience. Whether or not you have written poetry before, the Sparrowlet is a form you can learn and master, with a little practice! It is a form I have created, using the basic structure of the Swap Quatrain poem, and adding a varied rhyme scheme. Follow these steps to create your own Sparrowlet poem!


Listen to this Sparrowlet! Do you like the sound?

Here is one example of a Sparrowlet Poem

Deer in Winter

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-
a sheltered place, beneath the fold
of pine tree branches, where it seems
a covered cave, my fawn may hold...
as moonlight beams in winter's cold.

My little fawn, be safe and warm,
inside our nest, out of the storm.
Sleep close beside me 'til the dawn,
as all the woods to white transform.
I'll wake you when the moonlight's gone-
be safe and warm, my little fawn.

© Katharine L. Sparrow


How to Write One Yourself

The Sparrowlet is a variation on the Swap Quatrain poem. It contains six lines of eight syllables each. There can be any number of verses in this form. Here is its basic structure:

(x's stand for syllables)

Sparrowlet:

XXXA XXXB
xxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxa
XXXB XXXA

Don't be confused by the diagram, it is just a guide for you to refer to as you write your Sparrowlet! If you look at the diagram, you will see that each line of the Sparrowlet has 8 syllables. If you are an experienced poet, I would recommend that each line be written in iambic tetrameter... but this is not a requirement of the form. To learn to write in iambic rhythm, read the article How to Write in Iambic Pentameter.


As you look further, you will see that the first and last lines are the same, only with the 2 phrases reversed (look at example above). To accomplish this, you'll need to come up with a first line in each verse that has 2 phrases or clauses that can stand alone, so that you can swap them around. For example, in the poem "Deer in Winter", the first line is "In winter's cold, as moonlight beams", which is swapped around in the last line of the verse to read "As moonlight beams, in winter's cold".


After Line 1...

Your second line should have the same end rhyme (b) as line 1:

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-

Line 3 will have an end word that rhymes with A, which is the end of your first phrase in the first line, or the middle of your first line:

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-
a sheltered place, beneath the fold

Line 4 then rhymes again with lines 1 and 2 (b):

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-
a sheltered place, beneath the fold
of pine tree branches, where it seems

Line 5 will rhyme with line 3 (a):

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-
a sheltered place, beneath the fold
of pine tree branches, where it seems
a covered cave, my fawn may hold...

Finally, in line 6, you swap the phrases in line 1 around, so that the end word also rhymes with a:

In winter's cold, as moonlight beams
and snowflakes drift like crystal dreams-
a sheltered place, beneath the fold
of pine tree branches, where it seems
a covered cave, my fawn may hold...
as moonlight beams in winter's cold.

The last line MUST be the EXACT SAME as line 1, just switched around. You cannot change any of the words. (Punctuation may be changed to accommodate the meaning).

The trickiest part of the verse is to make line 5 flow into line 6 so that it makes sense. So, the way you create and structure line 5 will take the most careful thought. It may take a few tries to get it right, but once you get the hang of it, this is a fun form to write and it creates a beautifully flowing poem.


painting by Joseph DeCamp
painting by Joseph DeCamp | Source

Here is another example of a Sparrowlet Poem

The Violinist

As evening nears, I play the strings,
remembering a thousand things-
a song no single person hears,
my violin mournfully sings.
While notes flow down like shedding tears,
I play the strings, as evening nears.

Only this way, my heart can grieve
a truth my mind cannot believe.
The story must my tune portray-
a tale its melody will weave
of one we lost that tragic day.
My heart can grieve only this way.

He left too soon, his hope was gone.
The plan was laid by early dawn.
His life he took that afternoon-
now I must play and look upon
a mound of earth with roses strewn.
His hope was gone, he left too soon.

© Katharine L. Sparrow

Four More Types of Poetry to Try!

photo by John Poyser
photo by John Poyser | Source

... and one more Sparrowlet example

In Woodlands

In woodlands deep, where ivy grows
and mossy-scented sunlight glows,
among the leafy vines, asleep
and waiting for the melting snows
the forest sprites and fairies keep-
where ivy grows, in woodlands deep.

In spring they wake. They stretch and yawn,
as frigid night gives way to dawn
and swirling mists up from the lake
are whispering that winter's gone.
As sleepy dust from eyes they shake,
they stretch and yawn. In spring they wake.

Where dust is shed on forest's floor
are flakes of magic, stuff of lore,
For where the fairy dust is spread,
a flower grows from every spore.
And there appears a violet bed
on forest's floor, where dust is shed.

In woodlands green, upon the ground
where purple violets can be found,
while sprites and fairies can't be seen,
it's known they live in trees around
the springtime forest's misty sheen-
upon the ground, in woodlands green.

© Katharine L. Sparrow

What Do You Think of the Sparrowlet Poem?

Will you try a Sparrowlet?

See results

More Forms to Try!

Try a Sparrowlet and you will see what a lovely poem you can create!

*Now try a Swap Quatrain or a Triolet!
.....then see if you can write an English sonnet !
.................how about a haiku?

© Katharine L. Sparrow

*If you would like further help with this form, or would like to have me read your Sparrowlet, respond to this email address:

poetess@gmx.com

Comments Appreciated!

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    • profile image

      klarawieck 6 years ago

      This is really interesting Sparrowlet... very creative on your part. The poems are beautiful.

    • Ibis Suau profile image

      Ibis Suau 6 years ago from Florida

      This is very interesting, I shared with my sister, she is also a writer, and love to write poetry.

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