Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Rondeau

The rondeau is a French poetic form that uses only two rhymes and hemstitch. Here are the basic guidelines:
  • Composed of 15 lines
  • Lines of 8 syllables, except the refrain, which is 4 syllables
  • Refrain (hemstitch) is the first 4 syllables of the first line 
  • Two rhymes with three stanzas and rhyme scheme of:
    • quintet - a, a, b, b, a
    • quatrain - a, a, b, R
    • sestet - a, a, b, b, a, R
Here's an example of a rondeau.

We Wear the Mask
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies, 
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— 
This debt we pay to human guile; 
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile 
And mouth with myriad subtleties,

Why should the world be over-wise, 
In counting all our tears and sighs? 
Nay, let them only see us, while 
     We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries 
To thee from tortured souls arise. 
We sing, but oh the clay is vile 
Beneath our feet, and long the mile, 
But let the world dream otherwise, 
     We wear the mask!

You can learn more about the rondeau at Shadow Poetry.

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

1 comment:

  1. Afterthought

    An afterthought caught him off-guard:
    perhaps it was that he had sparred
    with too much vigor. Had he hurt
    this vision when he’d meant to flirt?

    He had been known to disregard
    the niceties and to bombard
    polite discourse with words that tarred
    the finest evenings when he’d blurt
    an afterthought.

    Not tonight! He vowed it. No shard
    of caustic repartee, lips barred
    from cruel irony, he’d avert
    his need to win until dessert,
    when he would see how she’d regard
    an afterthought.

    ©2016 Judith Robinson all rights reserved.