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The Swap quatrain is a form of poetry created by Lorraine M. Kanter within the poem, each stanza must contain a quatrain — four lines stanza, where the first line is reversed in the fourth line.

In addition, line 2 of the swap quatrain must rhyme with line 1 and line 3 must rhyme with line 4 and so on. But the same rhyming pattern must not be used in subsequent stanzas.

Rhyming patterns can be AABB, CCDD and so on.

Read this excerpt from an article on HubPages:

“A swap quatrain is a four line stanza wherein the first and fourth lines are identical, except that the phrases in them are switched around, or swapped. The rhyme scheme of a swap quatrain is aa, bb. The rhythm that this form produces is very musical, and the reader is usually unaware of the reason why it is so catchy.

As you will notice as you read this poem for children, the first and fourth lines of each stanza are identical, except that the two phrases in each are reversed, or swapped. They rhyme scheme is aa, bb (lines 1 and 2 rhyme and lines 3 and 4 rhyme) Simple, right?

Well, not quite. The trick lies in the flow of the lines, particularly line 3 to line 4. When your readers read your swap quatrain, they shouldn’t really notice that the first and 4th lines are swapped. That’s because your poem will flow together so well that they’ll only be vaguely aware when they get to line 4 that they have read those words in reverse!

You see, you can’t simply swap the phrases around in lines 1 and 4 and call it a swap quatrain.”

Below are three swap quatrains to set you on the path…

Example 1:

THE PRIZE by Lorraine M. Kanter
The crowd cheered on in joyful stance,
as Knight Will Cace raised up his lance
and struck his foe with skillful brawn;
in joyful stance, the crowd cheered on.

His foe fell hard, displaced from steed,
the one that plunged, did not succeed.
Fulfilled yet stunned, he yields regard
displaced from steed, his foe fell hard.

The prize attained for hero Case,
and status raised in Kingdom’s grace.
A celebration, honor gained;
for hero Case, the prize attained.

Example 2:

Set them free, unlock that cell
You heinous creatures from hell.
Mama cries a river can’t you see?
Unlock that cell, set them free.

I hear Halima screaming her pleas, her voice is clear it’s full of stress,
Bring her in piece not pieces, free our damsel in distress.
At her expense, your cravings you please
Her voice is clear it’s full of stress, I hear Halima screaming her pleas.

Example 3:

No, please no! To do such a terrible thing!
Not again! Evil creature, he’s no human being
Defiling a child of ten. How can he not know?
To do such a terrible thing! No, please no!

Caught pants down, this is indeed very indecent
Killing her innocence, claiming it’s with her consent
Worst still her mother’s her pimp, taking off her gown
This is indeed very terrible, caught pants down.

Child prostitution on the rise, for morals they detest
Parents pursuing vanities, their trust they put to test
Gold chains, diamond rings, prawns on a plate of rice
For morals they detest, child prostitution on the rise.

Lust’s on rampage, not just on girls, but on boys too
Now they take them off mama’s back, yes they do
Violating their minds, even before they come of age
Not just on girls, but on boys too. Lust’s on rampage.

Now, try your hands on the swap quatrain? Drop it in the comment section below when you are done. 

Author: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

KIS, author of two poetry collections, ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO?’ and ‘I SAID THESE WORDS’, is an award-winning Nigerian writer, photographer, and media professional with experience in journalism, PR, publishing and media management. In 2016, he was listed in Nigerian Writers Awards’ list of 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL NIGERIAN WRITERS UNDER 40. The same year 2016, he won the Nigerian Writer’s Award for ‘Best Poet In Nigeria 2015.’ he had also won the Orange Crush 1st Prize for Poetry in 2012.
He is the CEO of Words Rhymes & Rhythm LTD.

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