So What’s an Iona Poem?

San Juan Capistrano


Return of the Swallows

I wonder where the swallows go
until they wing
back to San Juan Capistrano
in early spring.
I’ve missed them flitting in and out
with disregard
to other birds who fly about
the big courtyard.
I always welcome their return
and hope they stay
and yet I know that they will yearn
to fly away.
Until they disappear once more
I’ll listen to
them sing their song as birds of yore
once did
like swallows do.

© 2015 Freeda Baker Nichols
The IONA form contains alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic dimeter (exception: line 4 of verse 4 is monometer and is unrhymed). It rhymes a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d,e,f,e,f,g,h,g,x,h.

This is my very first Iona poem!  Just now created and it may have some errors. Maybe you’ve noticed that my recent poems have been patterns in alphabetical order. I started with an Amphion and have progressed to this one, the letter I, which is an Iona form. Books that guide me are “Poetry Patterns” by Mary Harper Sowell, and “Pathways for the Poet” by Viola Jacobson Berg.  Both of these outstanding how-to-write poetry books are out of print. They are a great tool for beginning poets. I ordered “Pathways for the Poet” from an out of print list a few years ago. “Poetry Patterns” is no longer available. It was published by Mary Sowell, who is deceased.  She was an exceptional Arkansas poet, my cousin and good friend.

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