IN-FORM POET – Trolaan

Trolaan was created by Valerie Peterson Brown, and is a poem consisting of 4 quatrains. Each line of the quatrain begins with the same letter. The rhyme scheme is abab.

Starting with the second stanza you use the second letter of the first line of the first stanza to write the second; each line beginning with that letter.

On the third stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the second stanza and write the third each line beginning with that letter.

On the fourth stanza you will use the second letter on the first line of the third stanza and write the fourth each line beginning with that letter.

Marie Elena’s Rant:


Each form has its limitations
Ears, and eyes, and brain oppose
Entertaining word relations
End, their playful tryst bulldozed.
All this time I’ve scorned Sestina
Aching brain now vows upon
Avoidance of this strict arena,
And Sestina’s evil spawn!
Lost my muse in form, unyielding
Longing for said muse to dance
Little lexicon I’m wielding,
Low, my brain is in a trance.
Ought now I these forms to hold?
(One would say true poets ought) –
Onward then despite head cold!

Or not.


Walt’s Example:


As evening wanes and morning
appears over the hill,
another day, with the sun adorning
all that lies quiet and still.

Soon, the shadows cast will
seem elongated and pronounced,
surrounded by the sounds that fill,
serenity has been announced.

Over in the quietest places,
one who seeks will find.
Of all their heart encases,
offerings are the thoughts within their mind.

Very soon the morning fades,
vacillating between now and noon,
valiantly the hours parade,
visions of nightfall coming soon.

© 2012 – Walt Wojtanik

139 thoughts on “IN-FORM POET – Trolaan

  1. This form is new to me, and tomorrow is my day off! Can’t wait. Wow! You guys offer two beauties and after reading them I understood the description. this looks like FUN. rhyming and all;))

  2. Thanks, ladies! Actually, I love Walt’s, but feel like mine should be renamed to TroLAAME. 😉

    Rinkly, I love the colors you added, and can’t believe you wrote this that quickly! GREAT JOB!

    • Funny, Marie!! I think you both created shining examples! Thank you and I will be returning with an attempt. First more coffee and another read on the “directions!” Kind of neat…I knew a Valerie Brown once, I wonder if it’s the same person? 🙂

      Smiles all @ happy form poeming!

  3. Oh my….. my mind was spinning, then your examples brought clarity… Walt, yours is so pretty; meg, yours amusing :)! Thank you both.

  4. Hell on Earth…(on Child Prostitution)

    They stand, like crudely painted Barbie dolls
    Twilight is a silent cue
    The street becomes a tainted shopping mall
    That broad daylight hides from view

    Hell begins for some before death’s kind grace
    Hope, a wretched mockery
    Here crawls the lowest form of human race
    Hate feeding lust’s misery

    Evil steals the child’s right to innocence
    Eyes mirror desperate need
    Employers trade their lives for petty cents
    Enslaved to dead gods of greed

    Veiled propriety rises with the dawn
    Visage feigns blind ignorance
    Violence wears a suit and carries on
    Victims seek cocaine deliverance

    © Janet Martin

    My daughters helped a street mission one week-end. Their horror stories are unforgettable. This is one that happens every night. As our youth were introduced to the streets the mission-worker told them what is about to transpire under the cover of darkness.

    • Henrietta, Hannah, this is very awful and I am sorry, but even more sorry for these victims caught in every level of this horror. but I awoke with the line,
      ‘they stand like painted dolls but mascara cannot disguise their bleeding grief…’ I changed it up because of form restrictions but when I wake up with a random line like this in my head I usually try to heed its prompt. To all who read this…it is not my intent to darken with thorns a flower garden. It seemed for some inexplicable reason this line would not go away so I wrote it… I hope to attempt a sunnier version tonight if time allows.

      • Oh Janet, of course you must follow your deep inner spirit…. your writing was just so superb, that I just ached from the evil and sadness that inhabits parts of our world! Thank you for sharing…! Hen

      • Sometimes, Hen, the only proper way to exhibit this kind of subject is through poetry. The form strips away the extraneous, leaving behind only essence and raw emotion, which paints the picture few can turn from once they see it. It’s the turning away that causes so much agony in this world.

        You did this with great acuity and left us wishing for answers to the problem and prayers for the victims. Brava! Hen.

        • Sorry, Janet. I meant to type your name instead of Hen. I had just looked at Henrietta’s name and my fingers took things into their own “hands” for a moment.

          I really did know who wrote this haunting verse, Janet.

          • Thank-you Claudsy, I agree. Poetry offer a medium of expression like no other.
            I appreciate the way you expressed your thoughts. Thank-you again.

            • Thanks, Janet. Expression for me depends on the day, many times. You, however, don’t seem to have that problem. I’m inspired by ones like you who can write so eloquently anytime.

          • Funny how we respond to life’s little hiccups and the internal price we pay for them. I keep telling myself to BREATHE. I’ll suffocate one of these days.

    • So great that your daughter went out there. I am so glad to hear that people do that. This is the first time I hear that anybody did something – how can I say – something real. I live on a small island and I so often have difficulties in understanding why people just don’t do something. Here you tell me that you do. Thanks!

      • Yes, they do. But there are so few of these unsung heroes compared to the horrible number of victims. The worker told her that what disgusts her the most is that the same people who ignore them, trip over them in business suits by day return at night…Victims at both ends. It is almost too sad to think about.
        Andrea, I appreciate your thoughts so much…among them a line caught my fancy immensely! You’ live on a small island?!’ sounds like a dream:)
        Thank-you for sharing.

  5. Newbie

    Having never tried this form before
    Hard it truly seems.
    Hang on now for what is in store
    Humor may be my only means.

    Adapting to the previous letter
    Amidst each and every quatrain
    Awakens my senses and helps me write better
    And really wakes up my brain.

    Doing exercises in poetic formats
    Does a number on my nerves
    Driving me to dig deep in that
    Dungeon of unwritten reserves.

    Oh, what have I done to start with an “O”
    Odd letter to work with for certain
    Okay, I’ll try and give it a go
    Or with regret I will be flirtin’!


    Myriad, kaleidoscope, splaying of color,
    mismatched words tumble forth,
    madness, making my hue pallor;
    mystifying patterns, words worth.

    Yesterday’s thoughts, images fighting,
    years of inspiration bubbling, as from a spring,
    yellow bursts, bright blinding bits of writing;
    yes, the very core of me strung as beads upon a string.

    Even in the most wordless of incidence:
    ears will hear the soft whisper, nature resounding,
    eyes wander, hungrily tasting, perfect providence;
    early words mingle deeply, truth impounding.

    Voice found flight on the feather of an intentional osprey,
    visceral images float midst the most weightless of cloud,
    verbiage finds venue under gem-green, burst of tree display;
    vestiges remain, lack of direction for expression, merely a shroud.

    That was truly fun!! Smiles!

  7. Pingback: ~CLAMORING TO CLIMB~ « Metaphors and Smiles

  8. Heaven on Earth

    Heaven opened up one day and spilled against the earth
    Hallowed wonder pouring from a window up above
    How else can we explain the joy of a wee baby’s birth?
    Holding heaven softly in our humble arms of love

    Every morning with the dawn His mercy is made new
    Each evening a whisper of Him paints the western sky
    Embrace this moment for it is His gift to me and you
    Eternity is waiting in a sweeter by and by

    Violets and daffodils to herald spring’s glad day
    Velvet blue to hold the moon in summer’s warm midnight
    Valley, field and hillside flame in autumn’s bold array
    Victory crowns the evergreen in winter’s pristine white

    Is there a man who can exceed an offering such as this?
    Infinite redemption fills mankind with heaven’s worth
    If this is not a glimpse Heaven, tell me then, what is?
    In God we trust; as heaven spills its shadow on the earth

  9. There are so many lovely examples of this new form here. I’ve only the time to comment on a few. I will be back with my own tomorrow. Too many chores tonight.

    Everyone has posted impressive work here, as always. I feel quite intimidated, trying to match anything already here.

    Have a good night, all.


    Book in lap, she reads to me
    but ‘her’ story tells me more
    born newly out of a book that she
    begged me read to her before.

    Oh the joy of her delight
    over picture books and tales
    of frogs and sheep and moons at night
    of illustrated dogs and whales!

    How, after listening on my knees,
    her 3-year old voice asks so bold,
    “Here, let me read it, Poppi, please”
    her story is quite newly re-told.

    Old men like me, we do shed tears
    often at the treasured sound,
    of granddaughters reading to our old ears.
    Oh, picture books–forever abound!

    This was FUN! I just read a thread on the Writer’s Retreat forum, and posted a comment among many insights on e-books and the future of picture books. An experience this morning with my granddaughter Bethany was the fodder for this little experiment. Never heard of this form before, it was challenging but really fun.

  11. ONE LOVE

    Under the sky
    up above the clouds
    Ulster claims victory,

    No need arguing
    neither Dean nor Jean,
    Nora, party dressed in green.
    North Cumberland just got us.

    On this bright summer day
    our dreams
    of happy hours in the night
    out conquered you,


  12. Marie and Walt, what a great challenge. I’m amazed how you fit in your words in both your poems – they work great. Here I’m inspired by your funny discussion of who won what.

  13. Wow! You guys did some brilliant work on this form. I’ve made an attempt at it (with the help of Worthless Word for the Day.)

    Age Springs Eternal

    ‘They’ say youth’s wasted on the young.
    ‘They’ say appreciation starts
    the day you realize you’ve clung
    too long on puerile counterparts.

    However, I must disagree.
    Hardscrabble cannot be one’s soul.
    How can ‘they’ state so blanketly
    how nature is beyond control.

    O, do I think I’m young? I do.
    Onolatry means naught to me.
    Orgulous, my age tends to skew
    old? Not! Think juvenility.

    Does that mean that I don’t believe
    degringolade comes with one’s age?
    Don’t kid yourself. We all would cleave
    decisively to vernal stage.

    Hardscrabble – difficult
    Onolatry – devotion to foolishness
    Orugulous – proud
    Juvenility – youthfulness
    Degringolade – rapid decline
    Vernal – springtime, youthful


  14. Having a Ball

    May as well take a risk, she said with a sigh.
    Might be our last chance to do this after all.
    Must, sooner or later, all up and die.
    May as well go while having a ball.

    After she said this, we leaped from the plane.
    Air rushed by us, as we fell toward the ground.
    And I wondered, by this time, if we were both insane.
    As I said my prayers on the way down.

    Falling so fast, it was now time.
    Fingers quickly found the life saving chord.
    For a moment I thought things were just fine.
    Fine, I knew now, wasn’t the word.

    Amazing to think what my last thoughts were,
    As I bolted past her as she floated along.
    A risk? Having a ball? Maybe for her.
    Ah, but for me something went wrong.

  15. I found this form to be very challenging. For me, it’s not the rhyming as much as it is the first letter of each line.

    I’m just curious as to how all of you tackle a form such as this. Do you begin with a theme in mind? Specific words you wish you include? Do you plan it out ahead, or just write as you go and see where the form takes you? I’d love to hear your process.

    • I found the most difficult part to pick a topic! Then… I just let the spirit lead. I groaned when I realized in the second poem I had a ‘v’ verse again, but the fun of a challenge IS the challenge so I let it be, and when I got there the ‘ve’ verse sort of fell into place. I hope to use this form more often. The funny thing on the last poem was that without realizing it I switched to aabb rhyme scheme. So I shuffled the lines to proper format and it still worked out okay. Of course, you know how I feel about rhyme:) It is free verse that I am trying to build confidence in. Thank-you for all your support and encouragement to the writers here, Marie and to the rest of you also.

      • That’s neat that you thrive on the challenge, Janet. I do to a point, but then I can get discouraged and give up on it. The Sestina is just a bear for me. Too much attention to detail that my mind has a hard time wrapping around can kill my creativity quick as a wink. 😦

        Thanks for your input!

        • Aw, now, Marie, you should have plenty of practice with that particular form. You’ve edited for me on my attempts often enough to have the blasted thing memorized by now.

          I don’t know that I’m good at it, but some things and forms just fit the subject. I love limericks, but I’m not good at them. I get to the third line and fall on my face.

    • I have to say that I like this challenge as well. You know me. I count syllables and use those for pattern as much as anything else. I don’t do rhyme very often, simply because I don’t think I’m good at it. Maybe I should practice more to get more secure in its use. I almost changed the whole form, to create a form within the stated one. I tend to do that.

      The poem I put here right now is one that I’m still not comfortable with. What I started out to write was totally different by the time I got to the end; a different meaning, a different feel. I guess I just lost control of the horse I was riding. I’ll use more rein next time.

      • I love your metaphor for a poem getting away from you Clauds!!! I have felt that way on many occasions! I think with rhyme, the best kinds are the unlikely ones. Or I guess I mean the less obvious ones. I find lately my favorite rhyme is the inner rhyme, sounds held within the words. So much fun to play! 🙂

      • “What I started out to write was totally different by the time I got to the end; a different meaning, a different feel. I guess I just lost control of the horse I was riding. I’ll use more rein next time.”

        I’m smiling at how you worded this, and it describes my writing to a T more times than I can count. 😉

    • This is one of the first times I’ve written form that I refused to let the “wall,” go up upon seeing/hearing the word form, hindering creativity. I gently let my brain wrap itself around the form itself and upon understanding didn’t hesitate and just let the words flow. I didn’t pick a topic this time, just let the words tumble where they may. This form actually spoke to the heart of this poet because I find such joy in alliteration. Really fun!! Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our processes, Marie.

      • “I gently let my brain wrap itself around the form itself and upon understanding didn’t hesitate and just let the words flow.”

        Wow. This is how I wish it worked every time for me. You commented on how Janet says she lets the Spirit lead … I believe this is exactly what you are describing. 🙂

  16. This is my first attempt at this challenge form. This is also only the first draft, though the last stanza took four tries to get it to work. I hope you enjoy it, or at least don’t throw stones. Of course, the constant interruptions didn’t help the process for me at all. Anyway, here goes.

    Trolaan In-Form Challenge

    Silencing the Snorer

    It comes during the night
    Insinuating itself into dream,
    Informing the mind, right
    Into an alarmed scream

    Teertering on the edge of wakefulness,
    The dreamer listens with intent,
    Trembling in dark corners of distress,
    Terrors of nights misspent.

    Each nerve stretches tighter,
    Erasing slumber’s relaxation,
    Embers of a fighter
    Emerge toward vexation.

    A groan and twist position the sleeper,
    Angle’s proper to deliver
    A reminder of life’s great reaper,
    An elbow, sharp quiver.

  17. This is the hardest challenge I’ve had in a while.

    Friendship ( a Trolaan)

    Faithful friendships are often rare,
    Treasure them as second hearts.
    Though miles between may interfere
    Trust in loyalties as your guiding charts.

    Remember vacations you spent together,
    Rising to view the ocean at dawn,
    `Round fireplaces in fickle weather
    Seaside servings of giant prawns.

    Enjoy the company of good friends,
    Endeavor to know they are vital to you.
    Encourage and support; help them mend
    Encroaching woes that may ensue.

    Never stay in a state of rage,
    Nostrils flaring in the face of offense
    Not intended, though perhaps not sage.
    No compromise means a permanent fence.

  18. Sorry I’m tardy to the party this week. Crazy busy. Marie, your poem was amazing. This was tougher than it sounded and tied my tongue every other line. I finally decided to just go with the wind and weather happening outside my window and hope for the best. It has blooms in it–does that count? teehee j


    The winds blew in a heavy rain
    That thumped the ground like fists on clay
    Thick storm clouds rushing past again
    To get to somewhere else that may

    Have need of purple-clouded skies
    Hard down-pours and swift-moving streams
    Homes dry as dust who realize
    How water figures in their dreams

    A drought may last for months and we
    Ask daily for a kindred shower
    And pray whatever gods there be
    Assuage our thirst, if but an hour

    Droplets of rain depend upon
    Dry earth to hold them for a while
    Damp seeds can sprout under the sun
    Drenched, quenched, the earth can bloom and smile

  19. I know I’m late on this one but I’m trying out older prompts:

    Through Her Eyes

    Hopping up and down and up
    “Hurry, we have to go!”
    Hurling in her special cup
    “Have everything now, I know.”

    “Onward then,” I agreed
    Only to please my little charge
    Out the door with all her speed
    Opening it made her large

    “Next stop, libaby” she cried
    Never could pronounce it right
    No correction, only pride
    New books were her delight

    Every page she turned was new
    Even old stories changed as she read
    Exposition as only she could do
    Exploding stale ideas inside my head

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    • LOVE IT! She is soooooo expressive! Thanks so much sharing, and I do so hope you are right about the picture book. I can’t imagine a childhood without them. 🙂

  21. Pingback: Wonder in Action | SevenAcreSky

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