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Burns Stanza (or Standard Habbie): Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Burns stanza (or standard habbie), a form popularized by Scottish poet Robert Burns.

This week's poetic form was popularized by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. As such, the standard habbie is called the Burns stanza or the Scottish stanza. If it feels familiar, it is very close to being a rime couee.

Here are the guidelines for the Burns stanza:

  • Six-line stanza
  • Lines end rhyme: aaabab
  • Lines with a rhymes contain four feet (or stresses)
  • Lines with b rhymes contain two feet (or stresses)
  • Poem can consist of one stanza or several

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The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

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Here's my attempt at a Burns Stanza poem:

"popup shower," by Robert Lee Brewer

Running for cover when the rain falls,
we jump and we dance and laugh and call
one to another across the mall
knowing we'll get wet
but still we feel we must give it all
for the thrill of it.

(Also, here's an example of the form by Robert Burns himself.)

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