Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Poetry Stretch - Terza Rima

I read and wrote a lot of poetry this weekend and it seems I have iambic pentameter on the brain. I thought we should try a form that uses this meter, so this week I've chosen Terza rima. The Teachers and Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms (2000), edited by Ron Padgett, defines terza rima in this fashion.
Terza rima is a tumbling, interlocking rhyme scheme that was invented by the thirteenth-century Italian poet Dante for the creation of his long poem, The Divine Comedy.

Terza rima (an Italian phrase meaning "third rhyme") consists of a series of three-line stanzas (tercets) with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc ded and so on. It can go on as long as the poet wishes. At the end of the poem an extra line is often added to complete the structure: yzy z.
You can read more on this form at Here is a poem written in terza rima by Robert Frost.
Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
You can read another example in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem, Ode to the West Wind.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing terza rima. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Train

    On summer nights she lies awhile awake
    hoping to hear a passing train.
    She listens for her long-dead grandma’s sake.

    Sometimes the whistle blows and blows again.
    It calls the way she thinks that lightning should,
    the turning wheels are like the falling rain.

    Her grandmother was small and fierce and good.
    She wishes she were half as strong,
    the kind who faced with trouble never would

    get mixed up over what is right and wrong—
    the kind of woman honor bows to meet,
    the kind who carries sorrow like a song.

    —Kate Coombs, 2015
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