Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Poetry Stretch - Terza Rima

After my sonnet writing experience, I've had iambic pentameter on the brain. I thought we should try another form that uses this meter, so this week I've chosen Terza rima. The Handbook of Poetic Forms 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.

So, what kind of terza rima will you write? Leave me a note about your poem and I will post them all here later this week.


  1. Ooooh!! This was a toughy. But I like a challenge. It was fun.

    Mine can be found at

    Thanks Tricia,


  2. Mine's short and doesn't quite make sense. Well, my last name is Champoux, (pronounced shampoo,) so I think it makes more sense, if you know that.


  3. I'm working on one I hope to post for Friday Poetry. Thanks for the challenge!