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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Taking a Break

Greetings, all!  Grace here.  I did say we were finished with the rondeau family for now, but as I was looking through formats the triolet caught my eye.  It's another medieval French form, and I swear, next post we will move on either south or east...but today, we'll discuss the triolet.

The triolet is a short poem of eight lines, utilizing the repetition and rhyme we remember from our work with the rondeau family.  The first line again becomes our rentrement, and the last couplet is a repetition of the first, seen here in a triolet by A.E. Stallings, "Triolet on a Line Apocryphally Attributed to Martin Luther":
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
the booze and the neon and Saturday night,
the swaying in darkness, the lovers like spoons?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes?
Does he hum them to while away sad afternoons
and the long, lonesome Sundays?  Or sing them for spite?
Why should the Devil get all the good tunes,
the booze and the neon and Saturday night?
So we've got a form where the first, fourth, and seventh lines repeat, as well as the initial and final couplet, with a rhyme scheme of
A (rentrement)
B
a
R
a
b
R
B,
but at least it's only one stanza!  With this form, we're looking for a refrain that fits naturally into the message of the poem, but one that can also subtly alter in meaning as it travels through the form.  Thomas Hardy wrote several triolets and was extremely skilled at the slow altering of refrains, as in the second half of "The Coquette, and After":
At last one pays the penalty -
The woman--women always do.
My farce, I found, was tragedy
at last!--One pays the penalty
With interest when one, fancy-free,
learns love, learns shame...Of sinners two
at last ONE pays the penalty -
The woman--women always do! 
Most triolets were written in iambic tetrameter, but this is, thankfully, no hard and fast rule.

The triolet has been revived a few times since the 13th century; they were later composed in English by a former Benedictine monk said to have used them in his devotions, and were reintroduced again to English-speakers by Robert Bridges, who popularized the form at the end of the 19th century.  One of my favorite examples of the triolet comes from Sara Teasdale, around 1911:
Dead leaves upon the stream
and dead leaves on the air--
all of my lost hopes seem
dead leaves upon the stream;
I watch them in a dream,
going I know not where,
dead leaves upon the stream
and dead leaves on the air.
Ready?  Good.  This week's challenge can be regarded as a little breather, while I finish my notes for a more complex adventure.  I can't wait to see what you link up this week.


16 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

I have linked an old post of mine here, because my time to write is limited this week. I do hope to squeeze in a new piece though.

I hope everyone enjoys this challenge.

California Ink in Motion said...

I wrote this short time ago. I will be back in action soon. Until then, Peace out!

Jinksy said...

We are all in the same boat, it seems, with our 'here's one I wrote earlier' ! :)

Laurie Kolp said...

Just wrote this one today... after your inspiration. Thanks!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Decided I had to find time to work on something new.. based on a Dali artwork.

Doctor FTSE said...

Never tried a triolet before. I like forms, and especially this one.

Mike Patrick said...

The only French I know is the names of poetry forms. That can't be good, but the forms are fun.

turtlememoir said...

I'm not much of a to-form poet, but had fun with it all the same. :)

Mary said...

I wrote this tonight. I enjoyed playing with the form, and I think it will be one I will use again. Thank you.

Ella said...

I love this one! I will check everyone out and give it a go~Thank you Grace for challenging us :D

Grace O'Malley said...

I need to start using challenge forms that I can actually WRITE. Wait, what's that you say? Grace, that wouldn't be a CHALLENGE?

Yeah. You are correct. More attempts later.

Thank you all for participating!

Marian said...

challenging! xo grace!

ShonEjai said...

Thanks for the challenge. It was my first time writing in this genre. Feel free to delete my first entry...it was submitted by mistake. With the second entry I finally got it right. LOL :)

Ella said...

Thanks Grace, I found this challenging! I found inspiration on my lawn, dank and dark. ;D

I loved the poems you did share, they set the tone, so well~

Grace O'Malley said...

I think I'll be playing with the triolet for quite some time to come.
Here's another!

vivinfrance said...

This was fun to do - I cheated a bit, as you will see. Not very profound, as written in five minutes.