The Black Widow

Imagining herself on silver screen,
seductive in lace, she hosts a soiree.
She lures her guests, her evil goal unseen,
with delicate threads to lead them astray.
Her hourglass figure, tempting when seen,
is summoned to weave a web for her prey.
Beware,  Miss Arachnid’s truly notorious.
Her venomous kiss, always victorious.


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today, Frank is hosting and asks us to write an Ottava Rima. A new form for me, and quite challenging. It is actually an old Italian form of poetry that has multiple stanzas of 8 lines, in iambic pentameter (10 feet per line), with an ababababcc rhyme scheme. Frank gave us a reprieve and said one stanza was acceptable. Iambic pentameter also involves a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables — which I find extremely difficult — so I originally went with 10 syllables per line and avoided the stress! The version you just read, went back and aimed for the iambic pentameter. I have new admiration for Will Shakespeare! Stop over and see what others have done with the form — or better yet, give it a try yourself and join us — we’re a very friendly bunch! Photo in public domain.

48 thoughts on “The Black Widow

  1. frankhubeny May 25, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    I am going to have to avoid those black widow spiders. I liked the sound and flow of the poem from the seductive display to the victorious bite at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 25, 2017 / 4:46 pm

      Thanks, Frank. So I guess the link works even though in Mr Linky it shows up as The One With All The Words?

      Liked by 1 person

      • frankhubeny May 25, 2017 / 9:35 pm

        I think that is the name you used last time for the quadrille. It gets saved, but I am still new using the tool.

        Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 25, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      Never be enticed to her web? 🙂


  2. Glenn Buttkus May 25, 2017 / 4:53 pm

    Like the myth of the succubus & fetching vampire, seductive ladies that kill & devour their lovers have been the stuff of literature, film & song beyond the beyond. Your poem looks, feels, is word perfect for the prompt; hard to believe this is your first attempt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian May 25, 2017 / 5:18 pm

      Definitely my first attempt at this form. Have done rhyming before and attempted that devil, iambic pentameter. But that’s what I love about dVerse — I learn a lot from the challenges and from others 🙂 So glad you enjoyed, Glenn.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bev May 25, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    It IS a challenging style. Personally, I think it’s sufficient that I am the one stressed and unstressed, and I shamelessly admit it was quite enough of a challenge to do the abababcc part. Your poem is such a fun read. Bravo

    Liked by 2 people

    • lillian May 25, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      Thank you thank you, Bev for your oh so thoughtful and kind response. Yep…”I am the one stressed and unstressed” when trying to write the devil form, iambic pentameter! 🙂 I agree, as you can see…and there’s a rhyme from me! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bryan Ens May 25, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    perhaps not iambic, but you “weave” such a delightful metaphor that I’m OK with that! Fabulous take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 25, 2017 / 10:34 pm

      Thanks, Bryan. I tried for iambic but didn’t quite achieve 😦


    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      Okay….just spent time rewriting and editing and I THINK it is closer to iambic pentameter. Sheesh — it’s like poetic sudoku 🙂


  5. Singledust May 25, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    lovely Lillian! I went with that too 10 syllables , just couldn’t get the stressed / unstressed things – I became stressed trying to complete it before getting off to work. I enjoyed this,
    “She lures every male, each day, every scene
    with delicate threads to lead them astray.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Thanks again….I just spent another hour rewriting and editing….and I THINK it is closer to iambic pentameter now. Sheesh….it’s like poetic sudoku! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed….I just edited and rewrote and hopefully it is closer to the iambic pentameter and still sounds good! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kim881 May 26, 2017 / 2:35 am

    You make it look so easy, Lillian! I remember the film. I love your final couplet: notorious and victorious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      Thank you, Kim. The iambic pentameter throws me for a loop — just spent time rewriting and editing and version here now, I THINK, is closer the required meter….maybe. Like a poetic sudoku! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Adda May 26, 2017 / 9:18 am

    I am not going to pretend I understand all that you needed to add to this poem but I liked how you played with the words (silver screen, hourglass figure, delicate threads..) It has a musical, sing- songy way about it. I enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Thanks, Adda. And this is why in 10th grade English, we studied Julius Caeser (the play) and learned about what the times were like in Shakespeare’s day, but we did not attempt to write Shakespearian sonnets! 😦
      So — I just rewrote it and THINK I have it closer to the iambic pentameter meter…and hopefully didn’t sacrifice the meaning or the sound of the piece. I do like a challenge!


      • Adda May 26, 2017 / 8:15 pm

        My curiosity got the better of me Lill, so I looked more into what an iambic pentameter and “foot” are. Oh my…. I am so glad we didn’t have to do anything like this in 10th grade. I like your new


      • lillian May 27, 2017 / 7:15 am

        You made my day! 🙂 Yep —- writing haiku and scribbling to music with a paper bag over your head to get the idea of “feelings on paper” — teaching the poetry of Langston Hughes and reading aloud Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Oh Jazzmen” — that was more my style 🙂


  8. frankhubeny May 26, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Some of the lines still have more than 10 syllables. Although 9 to 11 syllables might be OK, but probably not 14, such as: “Her venomous kiss is always always victorious.” Here is the syllable breakdown as I pronounce it: “her-ve-no-mous-kiss-is-al-ways-al-ways-vic-to-ri-ous”.

    But it is still a nice poem about a spider I want to avoid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 26, 2017 / 3:27 pm

      okay….so here’s the question. In Iambic Pentameter, is a foot a syllable? When I read other poems posted, they’re not following the 10 syllable rule. Can a two syllable word be one “foot?”

      Liked by 1 person

      • frankhubeny May 26, 2017 / 5:47 pm

        Here would be a line of iambic pentameter:

        “I saw the house they built upon the shore.”

        There are ten syllables and five accented ones in capitals: “i-SAW-the-HOUSE-they-BUILT-up-ON-the-SHORE”.

        An iambic foot would be an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable, such as, “i-SAW” or “up-ON”. So the two syllable word “upon” is one iambic foot.

        Some of the poems are not written in clean iambic meter. For good examples, see those Jane Dougherty posted. She also uses variations that are still considered iambic pentameter. Some of her lines have only 9 syllables. She skipped the first unaccented syllable at the beginning of some lines. That adds variety and helps the poem not sound too repetitive.


  9. colorfulpen May 26, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    I’m pretty sure I don’t have iambic pentameter down at all. Love the way yours flows. A truly, delightful read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 27, 2017 / 7:12 am

      Thank you! I’ve rewritten this so many time….I really really appreciate your response! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. kaykuala h May 27, 2017 / 4:54 am

    A relationship where it was not just food for thought but food for the ravenous appetite literally for the love of its life! Phew!


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 27, 2017 / 7:13 am

      She is a ravenous thing! Love your response here!


  11. Colin Lee May 27, 2017 / 10:19 am

    I like how the innuendos consistently weaved from start to finish like Miss Arachnid’s web. Deadly!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rosemary Nissen-Wade May 28, 2017 / 9:30 am

    I enjoyed reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Waltermarks May 28, 2017 / 10:32 am

    Ha, ha, very witty. She was indeed waiting for her guests with baited breath. Such a charming hostess too. That’s very clever

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 29, 2017 / 12:21 pm

      Yes….she has a very particular cuisine that she prefers! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 29, 2017 / 12:22 pm

      Amazing how some creatures of nature have built in clever evil traits!

      Liked by 1 person

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