It takes some thought
but once you start
a simple plot
can become art
in the confines
of seven lines
and rhyme sublime
Ha’sonnets are a short form of poetry invented in the RhymeZone poetry site by poets MHenry and Grant Hayes in May of 2016. They were created in the comments section for the poet Suz-zen’s wonderful poem ‘Farewell, Farewell,’ where Grant Hayes and MHenry discussed what to call four syllable line poems. This led to the additional constraints on the poem creating the Ha’Sonnet form.
Being short poetry makes the form best for describing vignettes, little moments of life, or the thoughts that pop into your head. It also lends itself to lighter, more humorous topics, though that is not a limitation.
Ha’sonnets are roughly half of an Elizabethan style sonnet, and follow some of those sonnet rules in how they are created. They consist of seven lines of four syllables each. The first four lines set up the poem like the first two stanzas of a sonnet. The fifth and sixth line contain a little turn, or volta, preferably unexpected, like the third stanza of a sonnet. And the seventh line a resolution, or turn, like the final couplet of a sonnet.
For MHenry and Grant Hayes rhyme was optional, but if used the end rhyme scheme tended (but is not limited to) to be a b a b c c dd with the seventh line (dd) rhyming on the second and fourth syllable. MHenry added a four syllable title rule suggestion later. Rhyming ones in the scheme described are easier for me, and I find them quite fun to write.
Ha’sonnets were originally planned to be short form, single stanza poems, but sometimes I’ve created poems with multiple ha’sonnet stanzas (see the first blog post), or connected multiple ha’sonnet poems with a common theme into what could be a single longer poem.
To sum it up, to be considered a ha’sonnet the minimum requirements would be the syllable and line counts, the volta and the turn; the rhyme scheme is an extra level of challenge.