Friday, 2 November 2018

Meddle with a triolet poem


For the launch of the Meddling with Poetry course, starting in Feb 2019, I'll be sharing 16 delicious forms of poetry I've discovered, each of them a delight to play with.

Meddle with a triolet poem. Like your first two lines? Just keep using them!
FIRST LINE
SECOND LINE
new line, rhymes with first line
FIRST LINE
new line, rhymes with first line
new line, rhymes with second line
FIRST LINE
SECOND LINE

The triolet is a fabulously compact repeating form, where the first two lines make up most of the poem. If you've got two good opening lines, why not make the most of them?! Part of the fun, too, is seeing how much you can shift their meaning around each time they're repeated, by using words with two meanings, or with the different lines that lead in, or by punctuating them in different places. That said, the lines can also be repeated for the sheer force of repetition, the insistence of it.


FIRST LINE a
SECOND LINE b
new line, rhymes with first line a
FIRST LINE a
new line, rhymes with first line a
new line, rhymes with second line b
FIRST LINE a
SECOND LINE b

The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-a-a-b-a-b, but because of the repetition you actually only need 3 a-rhymes and 2 b-rhymes. For the metre, people often use iambic pentameter, but you don't have to. Here's an example:

At the prod of a finger, a sea anemone closes.
It can’t unfurl its tentacles till danger has passed.
It tickles so lithely at tides, one hardly supposes
at the prod of a finger, a sea anemone closes.
The rockpool is tight and clenched, where just before. roses
were laughing and loose in the water – then sealed, aghast
at the prod of a finger. A sea anemone closes:
it can’t unfurl its tentacles till danger has passed.

It's also known as a French medieval rondeau, and is part of a group of repeating forms that all have almost the same name and slightly different lengths and patterns: the rondeau, rondine, roundelay, roundel, rondeau redoublé...! So if you find repeating lines fun, there's a ton more out there to play with.

Note: To respect copyright, these blog posts only use my own poems as examples. On the course, I'm licensed to give my students copyright poems, so you'll see lots of others.

The Meddling with Poetry course starts in February 2019 and explores a host of different poetry forms, as well as the musicality of language, poetic imagery, and other aspects of the poetic. Absolute beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome. You can read more details and book a place here.


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