Skip to main content

Interlocking Rubaiyat: Poetic Form

Learn how to write interlocking rubaiyat, an ancient Persian form of poetry that is as contemporary as Robert Frost and fun to write. This quatrain form can get addictive fast.

It's been a while since I've shared a poetic form on here. And strange as it seems, this form has been hiding under my nose for years without me even realizing it. Of course, I'm speaking of interlocking rubaiyat, sometimes referred to as rubai.

(Common Poetry Terms.)

I've long been familiar with the 12th-century Persian work, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, but I did not recognize it as a form. And without piecing it together, one of my all-time favorite poems ("Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost) executes interlocking rubaiyat to perfection.

Just goes to show that no matter how much one thinks he knows, there's still so much more to learn. Or at least, there's still "miles to go before I sleep."

Here are the rules of the interlocking rubaiyat:

  • The poem is comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern.
  • Each successive quatrain picks up the unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So a three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme so: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, as in Frost's example above, rhymes all four lines.
  • Lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter.

*****

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.

*****

Here's my attempt at an interlocking rubaiyat:

Ringing

Forget the day he plummeted to earth
in a mess of wings and excessive girth
because he once knew the secret of flight
and may someday experience rebirth

like a phoenix transfixed by its own light
with fire that burns against the frozen night
he'll turn to ash like all worldly things do
and be renewed through a pure divine rite.

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use faint vs. feint in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples. Plus, we answer whether it's "faint of heart" or "feint of heart."

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter | Book Recommendations

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter

Here are 6 book recommendation perfect for winter reading.

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch shares 12 things all writers should consider when attempting to write effective fight scenes in fiction.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character turn out to be less than they seem.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 15th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Author Valeria Ruelas discusses the process of writing her new book, The Mexican Witch Lifestyle.

What Is the Hook, the Book, and Cook Query Pitching Technique for Writers?

What Is the Hook, the Book, and the Cook Query Pitching Technique for Writers?

Find out what "the hook, the book, and the cook" are in relation to writing query letters and pitching books to literary agents and book editors. This post answers the question of what each one is and how to successfully assemble the pieces.

Romance Retellings of Literary Classics

Romance Retellings of Literary Classics

Author Chloe Liese makes a case for the romance genre being the natural home for retellings, and shares some tips on how to write a successful romance retelling of literary classics.