Enter the triolet

Now and then I like to play around with poetic forms and recently I’ve been having fun with triolets.  The triolet is a French form originating in the 14th century.  It has 8 lines and involves a lot of repetition.

It goes:

A
B
a
A
a
b
A
B

ie the first two lines are repeated at the end and the first line is also the 4th line (as well as being the 7th line).  The rhyme scheme means that there are 2 rhymes – one for the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th lines and another for the rest.

Traditionally triolets were written in iambic pentameter (dee dum dee dum dee dum dee dum dee dum) but I haven’t bothered about that.  Here’s one of my (not very good) attempts to give you the idea.

No Skin

for years he had no skin
the slightest slight was felt too keenly
reaching too far in
for years he had no skin
his barriers had all worn thin
his innards had become exposed – unseemly
for years he had no skin
the slightest slight was felt too keenly

 

and here’s a link to a really good one by British poet Wendy Cope.

 

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