In October, to prepare for NaNoWriMo, I did several extra poetry posts so all I’d have to do in November is post them. This form was one I considered doing, but ultimately abandoned because it’s a little . . . shall we say . . . challenging. As one web site put it: The terzanelle is a good form for the recovering obsessive-compulsive
The terzanelle, invented by Lewis Turco in 1965, is a poetic form that combines the villanelle’s refrain with the terza rima’s end line patterning. Turco’s "Terzanelle", the original terzanelle poem titled for the name of the form, was first published in the summer edition of The Michigan Quarterly Review that same year. Over the years, Turco’s invention has become well known and popular. Hundreds of terzanelle poems may be found by as many authors.
Here are the rules by which a terzanelle should be written:
The first and third lines of the opening tercet are refrained as the second and fourth lines of the closing quatrain.
The terzanelle body is comprised of tercets that each refrain the second line of the preceding tercet for its third line. The first line of each of these tercets is rhymed with its refrained line.
It is a fixed form of 19 lines (five triplets and a quatrain).
The closing quatrain refrains the second line of the last tercet as its third line and rhymes its first line with that refrain.
Lines may be in any length or meter within reason.
Terzanelles may be written on any subject.
To give you a better idea of how it works, here’s the repeating and rhyme scheme:
Line 1 A
Line 2 B
Line 3 A
Line 4 B
Line 5 C
Line 6 repeats line 2
Line 7 C
Line 8 D
Line 9 repeats line 5
Line 10 D
Line 11 E
Line 12 repeats line 8
Line 13 E
Line 14 F
Line 15 repeats line 11
Line 16 F
Line 17 repeats line 1
Line 18 F
Line 19 repeats line 3
My example was inspired by the new header on this blog. I have a soft spot for dragonflies. :-)
The wind is sighing through the trees,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round;
Magic‘s found in days like these.
A forest pool, a wild playground,
Where water lilies are abloom,
The warmth of summer shimmers ‘round.
A wafting scent of rare perfume;
The air is soft with ambient light
Where water lilies are abloom.
Who directs your soaring flight,
Free spirit wandering where it will.
The air is soft with ambient light.
You dip and weave and fly with skill -
I’d follow if I only could,
Free spirit wandering where it will
I watch you flitter through the wood;
The wind is sighing through the trees.
I’d follow if I only could -
Magic is found in days like these.