Poem a Day – 30 – Safebreaking

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

30th April


A Safebreaker’s Quatern

Phew!  Last day of April, and I’m limping over the line with my final ‘poem a day’ for NaPoWriMo.  Taking up a challenge from Robert Lee Brewer’s excellent web site, I’ve written a Quatern.  My first ever Quatern in fact.

A Quatern, according to Robert, is “a French poetic form that incorporates a refrain like in the villanelle, and eight-syllable lines like in the kyrielle….

  1. (It) has 16 lines broken up into 4 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas).
  2. Each line is comprised of eight syllables.
  3. The first line is the refrain. In the second stanza, the refrain appears in the second line; in the third stanza, the third line; in the fourth stanza, the fourth (and final) line.
  4. There are no rules for rhyming or iambics.

The refrain, in my example, is “finding the right combination”.

The Safebreaker

Finding the right combination

was trickier than expected

two twists to the left, four twists right

still no sound of turning tumblers


They’d put together the best crew

finding the right combination

brains, brawn, safe breaker. The target:

fifty grand in the old bank vault


Had to sack the last ‘box cracker’

high on booze and cocaine. To him,

finding the right combination

meant mixing whiskey, dope and speed


Turn the dial. Clink! Open the safe

Just a note in a booze bottle:

Smashed! But still quicker than you at

finding the right combination

copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

13 thoughts on “Poem a Day – 30 – Safebreaking

  1. Yep, congrats on achieving it. Some v good quality in that month’s work – you’re well on your way to your next collection. But now you’re in the groove, why stop?

      • Aw Mike, excuses excuses… Sometimes I think that having a fuller day makes it easier to compartmentalise tasks. Even writing. That’s what I found for the April poem-a-day project anyway. 😉

        • True. As the saying goes, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person”. It’s been a great kick-start to my writing this year. I’d been pretty slack until April – mind you I had other things on my plate 😉

  2. I like it Mike. It’s very clever. Well done. And especially well done for getting through the month. A very creative month indeed.
    My web site, if you want a look, is

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