Octain Refrain Poetry


An in depth description of the Octain or Octain Refrain style of poetry can be found at Poets Collective. Comprised of octosyllables (or iambic tetrameter), the Octain Refrain is made up of 8 lines: two tercets (stanzas of three) and a couplet. The first line is repeated in the last line and the fifth line should have an internal rhyme of some sort. A double Octain is called a High Octain (16 lines)

The rhyme scheme for the Octain is as follows: Abb a(c/c)a bA, where A is a repeating line (rhyming with a lines), and (c/c) is an internal rhyme.

My Tips, Tricks, & Opinions

Feel free to leave your thoughts and advice in the comment section below.

What I Like

I love complex rhyme schemes (not that this one is really complex, but more than simple aabb or abab rhyme)! The use of a refrain also enables you to really drive home a particular point. This style is short, sweet, and has the potential to really stick in the mind. I always feel good the final product when I create an Octain.

But Lookout For...

The refrain may need tweaking to be effective when repeated (see the High Octain below). Sometimes (most times actually), repeating the same thing is monotonous and more annoying than captivating. Also, the use of octosyllables may take time to get use to--especially for those use to iambic pentameter.


Simple Example:

Falling Tears (October 27, 2014)

Tears fall when all hope seems to be lost

Time stands still for the heart to mourn
Lifeless until new hope is born
Then moves on no matter the cost...

Weep, gently rolling down the cheek
Tears soft but seeking to exhaust
Pass across red cheeks they adorn

Tears fall when all hope seems to be lost.

High Octain Example:

Orange Nights (October 26, 2014)

Orange covers the rejoicing sky
The tree line bows beneath the wind
Casting shadows as the sun descends...

On brooms witches take off and fly
The black of bats, the black of cats
Show themselves when the moon draws nigh.

Hold steady--their hour will begin
When orange covers the night's sky

Orange covers, blankets the sky
The spirit of the earth ascends,
Gives way to white fog in the end

Ghosts and Gobblins, a painful cry
The day of death, of the last breath
Comes, goes in the blink of an eye...

Till at last the tale is penned
And orange covers all the sky.


  1. "Octain Refrain". Shadow Poetry; visited October 2014
  2. Lawrence Eberhart. "Octain Refrain". Poet's Collective. February 6, 2013

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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