Sep 29, 2011

Cuaderna Vía

The Cuaderna Vía (frame way) dominated most of the serious Spanish poetry for the 13th and 14th centuries until the 15th century when it was replaced by the Art Mayor. The Cuaderna Vía was the introduction of syllabic verse into Spanish poetry. This stanzaic form is known for its rigidity of form - syllables are counted carefully. In addition to the rigid meter, only true rhyme is allowed.

The Libro de Alexandre, an anonymous 13th-century Spanish account of Alexander the Great holds an important place in Spanish literature as the most substantial and probably first work in the Cuaderna Vía verse form. Pedro López de Ayala, Spanish poet and court chronicler, is chiefly remembered for his Rimado de palacio (c. 1400), one of the last works in Cuaderna Vía, an autobiographical satire on contemporary society.

Written in any number of quatrains.
Lines are 14 syllables, divided into hemistiches of 7 syllables each, often broken by caesura. The syllable count must be adhered to.
Lines are mono-rhymed. The rhyme must be a true rhyme - no slant rhyme, assonance or consonance.

I found this form a little on the difficult side to work in. For some reason I kept wanting to write it in 7 syllables to the caesura, and then five syllables. And I found the “true” rhyme to be a little intimidating, so I stuck to one syllable words. I also have to admit that although I held to the syllable count and the rhyme scheme, the poem doesn’t really flow well. I don’t know if it’s the form itself, or just my example. :-)

Dark Thought

In the darkness dwells a thought, a thought that should never be
It ghosts through the subconscious, seeking the elusive key
Biding its time patiently, keen to escape, to be free
Madness lurking in its wake, waiting for its chance to flee.

The thought was there from the start, just hidden so very well
Poking though the mind at will, infecting each minute cell
Turning bad good intentions, as though invoking a spell
Leaving wicked residue, on its crossing o’er to hell.

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