Poetic Forms Winner: The Terza Rima


Hi everyone, if you don’t know what a Terza Rima is yet, then go find out and we’ll be waiting for you on the other side!

This week only one person entered and before that I was beginning to fear that my own half written poem would have to be featured (and nobody wants to see that) so it should be acknowledged that this is a challenging structure to use! That said, niteowl handled it very well and was able to create a complete and credible narrative with some strong emotions and a nice dash of imagery. Let’s take a look:

One Last Chance


The dreadful bells will toll this afternoon,
as my love gives away her golden name
for a man who will betray her too soon.

She was once smarter, so it’s a shame
that she had to fall for his charming eyes.
By his side her once-wild heart is now tame,

so now I run to make her realize
that l still need her and it’s not too late
to leave the one who will cause her demise.

As I get closer, the cruelty of fate
steps in and I never did see the car
that stopped me from saving my perfect mate.

I die in peace, for my love is not far.
In heaven she will be the brightest star.

My favourite part of this poem is actually that first line which sets the scene and the tone of the piece so wonderfully and really grabs the reader’s attention. It is written in perfect Iambic Pentameter and the tolling of the bells is reflected really nicely by that rhythm so it was a good choice of subject/ image for a Terza Rima to be moulded around. It might have been nice to see the theme of the bells repeated later, to remind us that they are still tolling, both for the persona and his love, but even without that it has a strong impact.

The storyline holds the reader’s interest throughout the poem and niteowl has chosen to go against the grain and her hero is not successful in saving his love. In fact, a twist of fate dooms them both and the reader is reminded of the first line and there’s an almost acceptance that this was inevitable, but still a lingering sense of loss.

There’s some roughness around the edges and the Iambic rhythm isn’t quite there in a few of the later lines, but it’s a great start and has the potential to be a very powerful poem.One suggestion I’d make is to add more visuals to the lines:

As I get closer, the cruelty of fate
steps in and I never did see the car
that stopped me from saving my perfect mate.

Perhaps something like:

I see the church, but cruel as love is fate
who sends in place of love a crushing car
to see that I am late and over late

It’s great to see a narrative poem which follows through – too often I find they don’t contain the full story and the reader is left with too many questions, but this one comes full circle. Great job, niteowl!

** Image owned by Enokson at Flickr.


Heather, who goes by Rydia on YWS, has long been an aspiring author. In the early days of her life she attached herself to poetry and would curl up on the playground bench to scrawl down lines of forgotten virtue. Or, more likely, little virtue at all. At the very old age of 11, she joined The Young Writers Club and progressed into the realms of roleplay. Here she constructed characters to fight off dragons or rally to their allies' aid with healing spells; a joint love of gaming heavily influenced this fondness of adventure storybooks. A few more years went by before Heather became a serious novelist and she still considers poetry to be her favourite media for getting those thoughts down on paper. Outside of writing her loves include puzzle books, strategy/ fantasy games, movies, swimming, skiing (when she actually has money), crafty things, baking, food in general, fun pranks and anything involving snow.

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