Aug 18, 2011

Rimas Dissolutas

The Rimas Dissolutas comes to us from the French troubadours, developed as an alternative to the strict rhyming that classic poetry had embraced. Instead of rhyming within the stanzas, there is an external rhyme – each stanza rhymes line by line with all of the other stanzas. The result is a lovely subtlety to the rhymes. They dissolve, but they're there.

The poem may consist of any number of stanzas. Stanzas may consist of any number of lines, but the number of lines must be consistent in all stanzas. If you have three lines in the first stanza, then every stanza thereafter must have three lines. There is also an optional envoi, shorter than the other stanzas but rhyming with the latter part of them.

Traditionally, this form is considered a syllabic one, meaning that each line would usually share the same number of syllables. This tradition, however, is not always followed and I have seen several examples where it is not.

The Rimas Dissolutas is:
Stanzaic, written in any number of uniform length stanzas.
In keeping with most old French forms it is syllabic - all lines have the same number of syllables, with the number of syllables being at the discretion of the poet.
Lines are unrhymed within the stanza.
Lines are rhymed between stanzas.
Sometimes written with an envoi which would be half the number of lines of the stanzas using the rhyme of the later lines of the stanzas.

Example of a Schematic:
Stanza 1
x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
x x x x x e

Add'l Stanzas
x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
x x x x x e

Envoi... (if used)
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
x x x x x e

You will notice in my example I chose not to use an envoi. I have nothing against envois, I just felt it would take away from the pattern. I’m not sure whether I like this form or not. I kept wanting to rhyme when writing it and keeping within the syllable count makes it, to me at least, seem a little choppy.


My story’s told without a word
I weave my tale another way
Still my meaning is understood
And my story is passed along

I sketch, no charcoal is preferred
Sometimes I sculpt, but without clay
I carve without the use of wood
And still the image comes through strong

I have a melody unheard
No instrument attempts to play
Yet has the tune though time withstood
Listen, and you can hear my song

The poem is writ, the pen deferred
The metered form has no display
And yet it’s ne’er misunderstood
You cannot take the meaning wrong

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