Incremental Poetry ~ 56 Lines


Atop each table, flowers red
adorn the feast before us spread;
a salad stands at every place,
and baskets filled with garlic bread.

Some photos scattered through the room
tell stories of the bride and groom—
a picture-path from year to year
that speaks of love and friendship’s bloom.

Now, two by two, the guests arrive,
including some who had to drive
for half a day their folks to see—
the empty room has come alive.

There, just inside the entry door,
a table stands to place before
the guests a book in which to write
their names, and blessings underscore.

Around this book small treasures lie,
mementos of a day gone by;
though five and twenty years have passed,
they still the table beautify.

And in the kitchen, working fast,
two men the scent of food broadcast;
their wives assist them willingly
to ready things for our repast.

With all the preparations done,
the preacher gathers everyone,
inviting all to take a seat
and witness words exchanged anon.

The handsome groom now takes the hand
of his sweet bride, who comes to stand
alongside him whom she adores,
renewing vows with brand new band.

The words they share come from the heart,
for time has helped them to impart
new depth to vows before exchanged—
their love’s become a work of art.

The years have turned brunette to gray,
and laughter’s lines have come to stay;
yet from within a beauty shines
more glorious now than yesterday.

The service closes with a song:
“To God our praises all belong!”
We lift our thanks for love and food,
then to the waiting meal we throng.

The bride, in flowing dress of blue,
greets friends and family, old and new,
while at each table, one by one,
her husband intermingles too.

Today with friends they congregate,
who’ve come to help them celebrate
the love the Father gave to them—
His love they seek to emulate.

You ask what brought them to this place?
What kept them running in this race
when countless others lost all hope?
‘Twas God, and His amazing grace!

Copyright © 2020 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

Welcome to my series, Incremental Poetry, where each week the featured poem will be one line longer than the one I share the week before. I have no idea how long I’ll keep this up, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Thank you for stopping by.

The name Rubai is an Arabic term meaning “quatrain.” The plural form, Rubaiyat, is used to describe a series of quatrains.
This form made famous by Edward FitzGerald’s English translation of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” Robert Frost used this form in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
Stanzaic: written in any number of quatrains
Metered: iambic tetrameter
Rhyme scheme: aaxa bbxb ccxc, where x may or may not be rhymed
Variation: When L3 of each stanza is rhymed, it’s called an Interlocking Rubaiyat. (This is not one of those.)

7 Replies to “Incremental Poetry ~ 56 Lines”

  1. Well done!! it needs to be read aloud to really appreciate its rhythm.
    I did and I do.
    I don’t have a copy of Tolkien’s books in front of me, but the rhythm and rhyme scheme remind me of much of the poetry he used in his writing. That’s probably where I first gained an appreciation for poetry. Well, that and music!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read your newest poem and it reminded me that I wanted to get back to you.
        After our last exchange, I decided it was time to start re-reading The Hobbit and LOTR trilogy. The very first poem in the Hobbit, sung by Thorin, is a Rubaiyat in form, or a variation of it. It was the chant/rhythm that I recognized, though I didn’t know what it was. I wrote a poem trying to capture that style that I will re-visit and possibly revise. Thank you for filling that hole in my knowledge (or head).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How wonderful that you found such inspiration here, and you returned the favor to boot! I read your latest comment and immediately jumped up to read that Rubaiyat in The Hobbit—only to discover that I don’t have it. I have the LOTR trilogy and two books written about them, but no Hobbit. I probably lent it out at some point. Time to buy a new one….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve gotten past the point where Bilbo finds the ring and escapes the goblins. He has arrived at Beorn’s home. I had to stop reading, but I left off at the point where the dwarves sing another song of their history and current quest. I scanned it quickly for its rhyme scheme, and, you guessed it, another Rubaiyat. I’m guessing (and I don’t like to guess) that Tolkien chose that form for the dwarves because it suits their voice and solemnity.
    I’m anxious to see if it holds through LOTR. Also, I’m curious about what other forms he used for the other races in the books. I have to admit that I don’t know much about poetry, academically speaking. I know Haiku, limericks, free verse and sonnets when I see ’em, but I’m learning about all the variations and forms I never knew about, from you, and all the others who’s words I’m reading.
    I’ve read The Hobbit and LOTR many times, and I find escape and joy every time. I’ll be finding something new this time around!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What you already know about poetry is a really good start. Every time I drive by Books-a-Million, I tell myself to stop in a buy a new copy of The Hobbit, but so far I haven’t listened to me. 🙂 I did find out, however, the my original copy is still around. My daughter has it.


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