Poem 18A: Shadorma’s almost dance

(By way of explanation: I have decided to post on the first of each month a poem in a specific form. Throughout that month, if further poems are created and posted, they will all use that form. The poetic form chosen for February 2016 is the Shadorma. The shadorma is a pseudo-Spanish poetic form made up of stanzas of six lines with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter. Little is known about this poetic form’s origins and history but it is suspected that the form is not Spanish but a concoction of some scally-wag at one time having some fun! In my reading and experimentation with the form, I have found it to be a relatively useless literary shape; one that has made an insignificant contribution to the canon of Planet Earth’s literature – hence the poem below!)


It’s a shame
when a poetic
form speaks of
nothing but
self like an introverted
narciss’stic idi-

ot. But e-
nough of me, it says,
let’s talk a-
bout you. What
do you think of me, O Ode?
Am I not pretty?

replied the wise Ode,
speak of rain
on window
panes in winter’s irksome days.
Or blue irises.

Dance a Spanish dance!
Click fingers!
Fast stamp feet!
Do the tarantella as
if you’re spider stung.

Warm cockles
of the heart with cast-
anets and
shake the ma-
racas louder than a train.
Drive all cold away!

Thus spoke the
Ode to Shadorma.
stood to dance
but sat again content to
mope and hug her knees.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.


27 thoughts on “Poem 18A: Shadorma’s almost dance

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    Most shadormists I’ve known stop at just the six lines, thinking it haiku-ish. You’ve taken the time to develop it as a real poem, and it has all kinds of things a good poem should have….rhythm, imagery, voice, statement, invention and in this case, humor I really like it, Bruce!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks, Cynthia. I’ve been wanting to post it for several months and have restrained myself! I’ve found however, that when ever I try to compose another shadorma, the form never suits the subject matter. I don’t think the form is particularly versatile (or useful!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cynthia Jobin

        I agree. I think it’s just dumb. It doesn’t relate to anything. The other thing is, syllable counting, in my view is irrelevant in English. Accents, stresses, are what’s important. Mere enumeration of syllables works in French, Italian, many other languages, but doesn’t work so well in English. I agree with Robert Frost’s views about ordinary English speech—if you listen carefully the iambs (as well as the other English verse feet) are all right there; they don’t have to be forced, or ticked off like a metronome.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          Agree absolutely – which is why I cut words up like “idi-ot”; to make the point. I found one “shadormist” on YouTube who rambled on interminably and merely cut the lines where the required number of syllables demanded it. However, having said that – and while agreeing with your points re English and iambics – my challenge this month is to try and write a shadorma that warrants being a shadorma!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Cynthia Jobin

    I’ve just been pondering all this, and I think I’ve come up with an explanation—at least for me. A syllable has no meaning, so simply counting syllables, as a form, doesn’t suggest content. On the other hand, a word—be it iambic or otherwise—carries sound, rhythm, and meaning. And that may be why form and content can be suggestive to each other in English prosody.

    By the way tarantella and tarantula…..a nice association!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      I think you’re right – and I shall go for a walk on it and talk to myself about it! Syllable counts in themselves are meaningless. When I taught R.A.K. Mason there was a poem there about a cocksure soldier marching, and the iambic march occasionally missed a beat and you knew the soldier wasn’t so sure of himself. I always used it as an example of how the rhythm contributes to meaning…
      Regarding tarantella and tarantula… ! The origin of the tarantella (apparently) was a dance to get rid of the poison after a spider bite! So I wasn’t that original in my association. I think the dance is in 6/8 time: /- -/- –

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thecontentedcrafter

    I find it fascinating eavesdropping into the conversation between you and Cynthia – I learn so much – little of it of any real use as I don’t write poems, just read ’em….. and I know what I like and what I don’t but couldn’t necessarily hold forth with a learned reason why. I just wondered if I should I put some punctuation in this sentence 🙂 I quite enjoyed this poem, especially given your prefix, it was witty and clever and made sense 🙂

    Liked by 2 people


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