Childish Heart. A poem in the Décima or Espinela style.

A new Poetry Challenge is coming and here is my example. The How To follows.

Childish Heart

It’s a beautiful world we’re on.
To choose a path of divisions.
Our most foolish decisions.
All chances for atonement blown?

Child-like laughs, in mischievous tone,
Remind me of more hopeful days.
Dreams possible through class essays.
Believing not in might but can.
Not knowing us and them but man.
Now’s time to turn to younger ways?


10 lines with each having 8 syllables.

Sometimes people divide the lines into two stanzas of four and six. A pause after the fourth which means a period or semicolon is warranted. Some divide in other ways depending on where they learned Espinela, but all are 10 lines and…

…8 syllables to each line with

a rhyming pattern of abba/accddc

Traditional themes of old have been philosophical, religious, lyrical, political, and satirical humor. But you can do whatever you like as the theme can be anything, but I may be setting themes or a couple of words as part of the challenge.

This form of poetry is known as an Espinela or décima poem of octameter (more or less eight syllables). The form is named after Vicente Gómez Martínez-Espinel (baptized December 28, 1550, Ronda, Málaga, Spain—died February 4, 1624, Madrid) an expelled university student who entered the army, was a rogue, and eventually was ordained into the priesthood. He was a contemporary of Cervantes., who is probably most known for writing Don Quixote. Espinel is alternately credited with creating the style or reviving it. Whichever it is, we have it today.

Again, the rhyming pattern is always


There are even songs created of multiple Espinela Poems united.

In Spain these poems were often sung or spoken, with the topics being philosophical, religious, lyrical, political, and even humorous with the humor being satire in nature noting the weakness or foolish act of the recipient. Often a challenge would be made by the decimero, the person who read aloud the anonymously written poem, to the recipient who is to respond in turn. This would start a duel of poetry, and possibly creating an interesting song of responses and challenges.

It is up to you as to how you structure your Espinela, as there really is no set in stone structure, only the syllables and rhyming pattern.


2 thoughts on “Childish Heart. A poem in the Décima or Espinela style.

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