Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetry Challenge #12: Rondeau

As always, before we get started, please enjoy the lovely lyric poems submitted this week here

Annnnd away we go!
A rondeau is an old French form of poetry, originating in the 13th century. It is characterized by the repeating of the first line, or refrain, as well as only two rhyme sounds. The poem consists of fifteen lines of eight to ten syllables each. Its rhyme scheme goes aabba aabR aabbaR (with R being the refrain). The refrain is either the entire first line or just some of its words. 

Our rondeau example today will be a famous World War I poem by John McCrae.

In Flanders Fields


by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place, and in the sky, 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high! 

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Here's my example. As a quick aside, let me say that I got the first line from a randomly posted note on an apartment building wall on the way home from a walk today, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use it. In beginning the poem, however, I realized that nothing rhymes with the last word, so look for the visual rhymes!

What would we wear were we werewolves?

Slinking, howling, lurking around the caves

at the edge of the wood, a bat

screeching his displeasure, a cat

succumbing to our imperatives.

Despite all of our resolve,

the full moon would still involve

running amok, due to the fact that

we were werewolves.

In the morning, we will devolve

into bitches, that is, ourselves

growling sotto voce at

the asshole who called us fat

behind our backs. The palliative?

We were werewolves.

You can read more about the rondeau here. There you have it, folks. The key is a good, repeatable first line, and either a willingness to use near-rhymes or sight rhymes or a good ear. Let me see what you've got!


Anonymous said...

Working on it; quick question--if you start with an 8-syllable line, are you committed to doing all the lines (except, apparently, the last lines of the stanzas) in 8 syllables?


Minerva said...

Cicely--I think there is some wiggle room there. I wasn't being really strict with my syllable count in my poem; I just think you should go with what sounds best. :) I hope that helps!

paige said...

hmmm... what nationality was john mccrae??
hehe, thinkin' i should get on my rondeau soon...

Minerva said...

Paige--I believe he was Canadian. :) I'll be glad to see what you come up with!

paige said...

By Peyton gr.4
1. I don’t know why I like monkeys, they’re just fun,
I like how monkeys travel on their knuckles when they run.
I like how they swing on their mom’s arm
knowing she’ll keep them safe from harm.
I always wanted a monkey though I had none.

2. I asked for my birthday, but my birthday was done,
I waited for my next birthday in the bright bright sun.
It’s not the type of animal you find at a farm.
I don’t know why I like monkeys!

3. Sometimes a monkey will swim for fun.
I would swim with my monkey until he was done.
Me and my monkey would be full of charm.
Me and my monkey would be snug and warm.
Me and my monkey would share a yummy bun.
I don’t know why I like monkeys, they’re just fun.

Minerva said...

Paige, please pass this on to Peyton:
Excellent job on a potentially tricky poetic form! I love your imagined activities with your pet monkey. I have always enjoyed them myself. Do you have a particular favorite type or just all kinds? 1,000 points and some bananas for you. :)

paige said...

From Peyton: i love everykind of monkey - i even like gorillas! i want to make a sock monkey.

paige said...

Adventure Quest Worlds (charter's favourite computer game)
by Charter Grade 2

Charter the gassy! That's what they call me.
If you look in China, that's where I'll be!
There's dragons and skulls but I will defeat them.
If you look in my bag, you'll see a big gem!
The adventure is always a big mystery!

This is my favourite game as you can see,
I sneak lots of time on it, that is the key.
with my sword or my axe I will battle bad men.
Charter the gassy! That's what they call me!

If you put me in prison, then I can break free.
I can earn money by cutting down trees.
If I need swords, guns or axes, I can buy them.
I can pay gold coins for each and every item.
With one click, I travel over land and sea!
Charter the gassy! That's what they call me!

Minerva said...

Paige, please pass this to Charter:

Charter, your game sounds like a lot of fun, I can understand why you like it so much! Is that nickname what you use in your game too? You did such a good job describing it that I can imagine what it's like even though I have never played it before. You also have really good rhymes! 1,000 points to you!