10-line Poem Challenge #26: Miniature

Margaret Ball Dickson brought to us the poetic form known as the Miniature. It’s a kind of contradiction of syllabic and metric form. Lines 6 & 8 have feminine endings (unstressed syllables), while all the other begin and end on stressed syllables (masculine endings). The Miniature is rhymed, and it even contains a bit of internal rhyme.By the way, if some of the terms above confuse you, feel free to take a look at my other article, “The Nuts and Bolts of Poetry: Rhythm, Meter, and Rhyme,” for some help in understanding them better.

In summary, the Miniature is:

  • A decastich (10-line poem) written in one single stanza.
  • Syllabic pattern: 7-5-7-5-7-6-7-6-7-7
  • Rhythm: dactylic (one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable, i.e. AM-ber)
  • Lines 6 and 8 have feminine endings. Incidentally, these are the only two lines with an even number of syllables (6).
  • All the other lines begin and end on stressed syllables.
  • Rhyme scheme: xaxaxbxbcc, where x means there is no rhyme
  • Internal rhyme: The 5th syllable of line 1 must rhyme with the 1st syllable of line 2.


Below are two samples for you. I’m going to be honest. This form would be fairly easy if not for that last rule—internal rhyme between the first and second lines. But for every Miniature I have written, I wrote the entire poem first, without considering the internal rhyme, then went back and revised the first two lines to get the rhyme that the form required. That was easier than struggling with it at the outset, before I knew where the poem was headed. I have underlined the rhyming syllables below. The second one is a stretch, but I think it works.

How They Grow

Children at the picnic play—
Quickly they will grow;
Almost empty is my nest,
So I ought to know.
How the moments seem to fly—
Use them with discretion.
Hug your children every day,
Pray in intercession.
Childhood’s season soon will pass;
Riches not, but joys amass.

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

A Chance to Smile

Every day the man in rags,
Standing, begs for food.
Rain gets in his holey shoes;
Cold goes through his hood.
Once he was a businessman;
He and wife were wealthy.
Now she’s gone, and he is left
Lonely, poor, unhealthy.
I would go the extra mile
For a chance to see him smile.

Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Miniature. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Choose a topic. It can be anything. If you’re struggling for an idea, you might consider the Daily Prompts from The Daily Post
  2. May I suggest you write on a piece of paper or in a notebook.
  3. Down the left column write the numbers 7-5-7-5-7-6-7-6-7-7.
  4. Across from these numbers, in the right column, write the letters xaxaxbxbcc.
  5. Now, inside this framework which shows you the syllable count and rhyme for each line, write your poem. Don’t worry about the internal rhyme just yet.
  6. If it helps, first write the lines that have rhyme (2&4, 6&8, 9&10), then fill in with the unrhymed lines. Or at least plan which rhyming words you will use.
  7. Try to avoid filler words. Instead, use a thesaurus to find precise words that give you the right syllable count for each line.
  8. Now go back and revise the first two lines until the 5th syllable of the first line rhymes with the 1st syllable of the second line. And you’re done!
  9. And of course, when you are finished, share your poem with the rest of us.

Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…

  1. Write your blog post.
  2. Include the tag Decastich Challenge or 10LPC
  3. Publish your post on your blog.
  4. Come back here and click the blue button below to add your link to the others.

Dig Deeper

To find more samples and to learn from those who taught me, check out these sites. All links open in a separate tab so you can easily find your way back here.

Poet’s Collective ~ The forms on this website are not organized in alphabetical order, but he does have at least one sample poem for each form, he even has tags for rhyme scheme. He also has a visual template for every form so you can see the rhyme scheme and stress patterns, as applicable. That is extremely helpful.

Sol Magazine ~ This resource covers much more than just 10-line poems.

“Metric Forms from Pathways for the Poet” ~ This is an outline of information from Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977), a book for and by educators. This resource also includes more than just 10-line poems, but it helped to fill in the gaps where my other sources were a bit scanty with their information.

Shadow Poetry ~ This is my favorite resource for learning about poetic forms (and not just the decastich), but I have discovered that there is ever so much more to learn than what I can find here. This is, however, a very good place to start.

15 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #26: Miniature”

    1. Well, you didn’t follow the rhyme scheme, but I wouldn’t change it. Frankly, it sounds perfect just like it is. You have suspense and resolution at the end, which is most excellent. Sometimes rhyme ruins a poem because it has to be forced.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s a little tip: I don’t always think of rhymes on my own either. I have a printed rhyming dictionary which I consult frequently. And I also do Internet searches such as “rhymes with” and whatever word I’m looking to find a rhyme for. http://www.rhymezone.com is an excellent resource. And of course, I also use a dictionary to look up words unfamiliar to me. This helps to improve both my rhyming and my vocabulary. Win, win! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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