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,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
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?
A (rentrement)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 -Most triolets were written in iambic tetrameter, but this is, thankfully, no hard and fast rule.
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!
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 streamReady? 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.
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.