Circus of Dreams: A Terza Rima Sonnet and Challenge

Circus of Dreams

It’s the circus of dreams where dreamers will go,
And if you’re not careful, it will steal your soul,
But if nary you try, then you’ll never know

If this could have made you finally whole.
You can choose to perform or be a sad clown,
Sitting off to the side and long for control,

Or swing on the trapeze, not cannonball frown.
Letting go, you don’t know if you will be caught,
But you hold your head high and do not look down.

Though your stomach will feel like it’s in a knot
To see hungry lions as they nip and bite
The dreamers who came and are leaving distraught,

But if you teach lions to roar with delight,
Then you will know dreams and the marvel of flight.

The Challenge

Instructions on writing a terza rima sonnet:

  1. There are a total of 14 lines consisting of four 3-line stanzas (tercets) and one rhyming couplet.
  2. The rhyming scheme is aba bcb cdc ded ee.
  3. Commonly written as ten syllables per line (Those Who Judge) or eleven syllables per line (Circus of Dreams). It does not have to be a strict count.
  4. Often seen without spaces between for the sake of continuity.

Next I will highlight the patterns.

It’s the circus of dreams where dreamers will go,
And if you’re not careful, it will steal your soul,
But if nary you try, then you’ll never know

If this could have made you finally whole.
You can choose to perform or be a sad clown,
Sitting off to the side and long for control,

Or swing on the trapeze, not cannonball frown.
Letting go, you don’t know if you will be caught,
But you hold your head high and do not look down.

Though your stomach will feel like it’s in a knot
To see hungry lions as they nip and bite
The dreamers who came and are leaving distraught,

But if you teach lions to roar with delight,
Then you will know dreams and the marvel of flight.

My apologies to email subscribers who received my “doh!-that’s-not-the-save/update-button”, accidentally published post yesterday. (I’m glad no one could see the mortified look on my face when that happened.)

For this form, I found 10 syllables per line easier to work with than 11, but you may find the opposite is true for you. To participate in the challenge, either provide the link in a comment, post it in a comment, or link with a pingback to your post.  Most importantly, have some fun!

As always, your poems will be added to the challenge post along with the links to your blog and poem. If you like what you read, please follow the link in the title and “like” it there too. :)

God’s Poems

Heed this as we walk amongst ungodly souls
Imprisoned in evil’s stronghold of darkness
May we remember they are ours to console

Let us not fear or turn away in blitheness
Thinking we are better now we are redeemed
Lest we be the ones walking lost and aimless

Love them we must like us they are God’s poem
Fearfully and wonderfully made by Him
To become a broken mess wreaking all mayhem

Although of our Lord these souls have blasphemed
And turned away from our Father who loves them
By grace given us these souls must be esteemed

With heavenly voices like God’s seraphim
In haste let us sing to them Salvation’s hymn.


Promise Me

do promise me you will always be there
even when the shadows gather their sheaves
and this dying rustle an expunged air

when the tides pick up their volcanic steam
unleashing fury on this battered shell
do promise me you will never leave me

even when my breathless heart tolls a bell
faint clanging notes of diluted sweetness
whisper of a faraway living well

let me sip of its ever cool freshness
let me drink of the warmth that is your love
oh, shield me from this threatening darkness

as my lids droop and take their final bow
promise me you will stay true to our vows

  ©Celestine Nudanu

Keep Faith

Beyond the horizon and to the right
you’ll find my rainbow adorning the sky
hoping your wishes keep it in sight

they say you may find a pot of gold
keep the faith because you never know
and if you dare, just stretch and be bold

This world is not meant for those who are shy;
It is for the courageous and strong
It is for those who always question with, why?

Keep track of rainbows and stars if you can
God made them for us to help keep our faith
the faith deep in your soul no one can ban

Delight in all seasons and all nature brings
You will know He is with you when a Robin sings

  CMelba Christie

My H∈art Sp∈aks

I have lost the beauty I once could see
A world of solitude engulfs my heart
Since I lost what my soul loved completely
No words can stop our fate to be apart
Someday I know we’ll meet in heaven’s bliss
Yet now I’ve to release love and restart
Too consumed to see there’s a lot I miss
Never let regret stole away the years
Soon these will perish as we share a kiss
I recall the love I felt in for years
That my soul found in life I’ve always seek
In my anguish, alone, I shed cold tears
I’ll find the words in you I cannot speak
And pray life’s despair will not make me weak


The Man I Need

Will I marry a man of great beauty,
Aesthetic, prim, with billions of dollars,
Prompted with fame with which to endow me?
Or will I be tied to a quiet man,
Whose mind drinks the world of philosophers,
Bless me with Universe’s phenomenons?
Perhaps with a man with boundless talents,
Who would woo me in life, cunning anon…
Will I? if Fate be so kind? Why not? yet!
I know very well the man that I crave—
A soul who lives his life on what He wills;
If I were to pick one thing for a mate:
I’d pick someone who trusts what He reveals,
Someone of His character— he who kneels.


Find a Way

My quest seems to end at the very centre
Of this deeply woven intricate maze,
Disguised, so innocent to enter

I penetrated its heart in a daze
An invisible wand in my hand, raised
Through the fog, mist, the shadowy grey haze

Bruising along the way, my quest unfazed
I reached out and the thin veil gave away
To reveal its truth as my eyes blazed

In such simplicity my answer lay
I was bemused, my quest was over
Now all I had to do was find my way

Back through the maze, fear to overpower
Find my way to you as fireflies hover



Stumbling through Mirkwood, dwarves and one hobbit /
grumble coarsely at Gandalf the Greyfriend: /
“Bring us to danger and again you split!” /

“Your powers our mission could well defend, /
but again we are left naked, exposed. /
Your only advice? From the path, don’t bend!” /

Gleaming, sinister green eyes have disclosed /
creeping things that shuffle, scuffle and snort: /
who knows to what mischief they are disposed? /

“When you leave us, with whom do you consort? /
What cold furtive shadows do you pursue /
without granting your fire, our fiends to thwart?” /

Alone in the dark, our travelers stew. /
Ignore Grey counsel and heartaches ensue. //

  Jen Rosenberry

Summer Heat

T’was hot as though it were a summer’s night!
I tossed and then turned seeking his Lordship Sleep…
Heartless, elusive, though seek him I might.

I was in Morpheus’ valley deep,
When Hades call came for me to come out…
Sweat covered I was no longer asleep!

Once awake there was really little doubt,
African heat has come visiting us.
From flooding we’ll soon feel the autumn draught.

Last week snow and now the desert’s red dust!
Tis true the saying that the weather is king…
And in those nobles you cannot place your trust.

So I’ll hear the blackbirds and sparrows sing!
(Take note: I’ll remove the duvet first thing.)


My Spirit Brother

It seems I have been tricking myself each day
By surmising both of us are free and clear
Apparently I think, there’s no other way

For us to survive through each and every year
And to arrive at the appropriate place
A million moves to combat the shame and fear

That shadow our dreams, arising from disgrace
Today I find myself all covered in woe
For acceptance now I have given up the chase

I would protect you forever for love, but no
My spirit brother how far you have wandered
You cannot respond now it’s time I let go

Loyal and steadfast, my duty I’ve pondered
Like camels and straw our bond has been squandered.

  Jambo Robyn

Death’s Door

Once a bud waiting in beams of summer,
Dreaming of the one to bid her open.
Petals closely held and thorns to buffer.

When at long last one came to her garden,
Bursting forth, her fragrance on winds did dance.
Thorns cast aside she began to blossom.

Trusting his sweet words of love and romance,
She saw not his façade begin to fade.
August’s heat revealed all a trick perchance.

Autumn’s chill finds him gone; farewell now bade.
Thorns stand at the ready; shall fail no more.
Life soon over, she wilts as fall’s clouds shade.

His heart as frozen as the winds that roar ~
Was it him or winter that brought death’s door?


A newly discovered sonnet by William ~Snakeswagger

My mistress’ eye is like a currant bun
Though she has problems, she is quite divine
Her bosom is bared, bold out in the sun.

I hope that what his hers is also mine?
My mistress eye looks fine as it is glass
She lost her marbles playing with a fox

She’s good at letting errors whistle past
And mending fuses in that little box.
My mistress dear I gaze upon that breast.

I see her skin is warm and she does sweat.
I too have lusted and I have confessed
But still she gambles and she places bets.

In truth I am as fickle as a weed
but each must act according to his need.



How can it be cold, frost nipping the air,
When all of the trees sport leaves in full flame,
Except for those that are already bare?

Those naked trees must be shiv’ring in shame
Amongst all their fashionable brothers.
“We’ve nothing to wear!” they woefully claim.

They would be warm if they had their druthers,
But the autumn wind has left them undressed,
Left to eye the bright frocks of the others.

As the temperature falls, they are distressed,
Crying out their sad plight as they shiver,
“The cold, bitter, wind puts us to the test!”

The sun drops down low, light just a sliver,
While bright leaves float away on the river.


59 thoughts on “Circus of Dreams: A Terza Rima Sonnet and Challenge

    • I don’t think the syllable count has to be very strict. I’ve seen ranges anywhere from 8 to 12 syllables in the same poem for this form, so don’t stress over the counting too much! :)

  1. Pingback: God’s Poems – Terza Rima Sonnet | awomansaved

    • And I got so excited when I saw a long post from you in my spam box, until I saw it was my deleted post lol. I will keep the deleted poem off the blog for now as I was not very happy with it hehe. I hope inspiration comes to you soon and that the next time I see a long post, it will be in your beautiful writing. :)

  2. Oh thank you for sharing this, I’m learning. Actually, never did read guidelines in writing poems, I should and must start now. Thank you for liking my poem cubby. :)

    • I think most writers feel like fumblers as they try to figure out what they want to say and how they want to say it. The more you fumble, the better you get at fumbling, and the easier it will be to fumble gracefully. :)

  3. Pingback: My H∈art Sp∈aks | ⓜ∈t•ⓐRVh∈∈•n✪iⓐ

  4. Pingback: The Man I Need (Terza Rima Sonnet Challenge) | Jashaél

    • After reading some of the entries here, I realize how much better a sonnet works with love poetry, which makes complete sense, but for some reason it made me think of circus. This tells me that I do not have a romantic bone in my body…except when it comes to desserts. :)

  5. Ooooh you do like to challenge us. This is a pretty tricky rhyming structure – did you find it hard to work with? I love the end result but wonder if it took a lot of working or flowed?

  6. Great poem and yes, I was one of your e-mail subscribers…love how you put up a challenge and see you’ve already got oodles of responses! Good show indeed! So, now let me get to work and see if I too can do honor to your work!

    • Yes, people seem to really love a challenge as this was one of the more challenging forms, in my opinion. You do me great honor just by participating in the challenge and showcasing your talent for all of us to appreciate. :)

      • Well, I certainly like your challenges, first of all you don’t just plop it off, but explain how the form works, which is really a great. I’ve probably done a terza rima somewhere along the line, just catagorized it under general sonnet, but this time I actually stopped and looked what I was doing. Thanks ever so much, for the challenge and for your wonderful encouraging feedback.

  7. Pingback: Find a way | Madhura's Musings

  8. Pingback: Mirkwood (Terza Rima Sonnet) | Blog It or Lose It!

  9. Pingback: Terza Rima Sonnet: Summer Heat | Bastet and Sekhmet's Library

  10. Pingback: My spirit brother | Jambo Robyn

  11. Pingback: Death’s Door ~ A Terza Rima Sonnet | The Sanctuary of My Heart

  12. LOL I just tried this, and did it in ten minutes. Each line has ten syllables, too. Here it is:

    Death Is Knocking

    One day I heard death knocking at my door
    And decided that it was not my time,
    So to Mister Death I had to ignore
    Because I had to finish my last rhyme;
    I was in the middle of composing
    A poem for someone I admire.
    It’s quite rude for him to be imposing,
    Forcing time to come down to the wire.
    Send him away; I’m not ready to go
    To heaven, or hell where there is fire!
    When I am finished, Mister Death will know
    And he will come knocking for me again,
    So I am starting another – or ten -
    And will continue to grow until then!

    My blog is new, as you know, and is called Poetry Perfected. The main link is

    Thanks for this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s