Poetic Forms: Two Week Special!
Welcome to week six (and seven) of poetic forms, where every week I introduce a different type of poem and invite you to give it a go! As an added incentive to take part, the best poem every week is featured on the Writing Gooder blog on Sunday afternoon, alongside a brief analysis by myself.
To enter a poem, make sure it’s written in this week’s style and then either post a link to it in a comment below, or post the full text of the poem.
This week isn’t actually going to be a week, but instead a fortnight, so I’ve decided to give you a couple of options to choose from! If you wanted to really challenge yourself, you could even do both, and I’ll be featuring my favourite poem in each style the Sunday after next so you have double the chance of being featured. What are your options then?
With a name like this, how can you not want to have a go? The Rubaiyat creates this engaging, almost echo effect rhythm, where the first two lines rhyme, then the third is different, and the fourth rhymes again to pull you back in. If you’re still unconvinced though, then read the example and I’m sure Frost will persuade you:
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If you’ve been following us from the start, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with one of these. It’s written in Iambic pentameter, which is ten syllables in each line and a rhythm of
Da- DUM Da-DUM Da-DUM Da-DUM Da-DUM
Do not go gentle into that good night
(Every second word should be a stress word, or have the ability to be stressed.)
The other thing you need to know is that the rhyme scheme is aaxa. There’s the option with the Rubaiyat to do as Frost has done above and have the rhymes loop around so then you’d have xxyx, but this isn’t necessary and a standard Rubaiyat doesn’t require the rhyme to carry on to the next stanza.
I was tempted to choose my latest obsession for the second form, but I think we’ll save that for another week and instead let’s stick to the r’s. The rondelet then is a brief form of poetry with repeated lines which help to build the atmosphere and it’s one of the first forms I ever fell in love with. There’s something simple, yet surprisingly beautiful, about a rondelet:
The Flowers of June
The flowers of June
The gates of memory unbar:
The flowers of June
Such old-time harmonies retune,
I fain would keep the gates ajar,—
So full of sweet enchantment are
The flowers of June.
This is the part where I should admit that I haven’t written a rondelet since I was seventeen, but I will be taking pen and paper to Poole with me to reunite with the form.
What do you need to know to write a rondelet then? Let's take a look at the requirements for each line:
Line 1: A (4 syllables) Line 2: b (8 syllables) Line 3: A - a repeat of line 1 Line 4: a (eight syllables) Line 5: b (eight syllables) Line 6: b (eight syllables) Line 7: A - repeat of line 1 Here, every 'a' line must rhyme with one another (including the repeated A line) and every 'b' line must rhyme with other b lines. If you want to be extra creative, you could try stacking multiple rondelets on top of one another! Good Luck everyone and I'll see you in two weeks.
** Image owned by Enokson at Flickr.