Poetry challenge #16: Triolet

First, apologies if I don’t reply/haven’t replied to all my notifications. It’s not meant as a snub; I’m having big problems with mail and have to go a roundabout way to access anything let alone reply. Hope to get it sorted out soon.

I know this is a more difficult form, not so much for the rhymes—there aren’t many—but getting the meaning of the refrain to shift slightly.

For the basic form of the triolet:

Eight line stanza

Eight beats to the line, or nine/seven if it sounds better

The first line is the refrain and is repeated as the fourth and the seventh line.

The second line is repeated as the eighth line so the first and last couplets are the same.

The rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB. The capitals denote repeated lines.

If that sounds obscure, the wikipedia explanation is here along with an example of a triolet by Thomas Hardy

Your mission etc etc is to write a triolet inspired by the painting below. If it helps, you can start it with:

The last words

but only if it helps. The triolet of mine is an example. The shift in meaning comes with the changed punctuation. It’s the hardest part to get to work, and it doesn’t always. I hope you’ll give this challenge a try; it’s very satisfying when it comes out right 🙂 You have a whole week, so get thinking about it, and post in the comments when you’re ready.

Painting ©Marta Shmatava

Marta_Shmatava_2010_Dream,_dream..._120x100

The last words ever I heard you say,

This rose is barbed with fearsome light,

And midnight gleamed as bright as day.

The last words ever I heard you say,

Before you turned and walked away,

They turned my heart to stone that night.

The last words ever, I heard you say.

This rose is barbed with fearsome light.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

42 thoughts on “Poetry challenge #16: Triolet”

  1. My attempt. Thank you, Ms. Jane.

    Poppy Petals
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Take a seat upon yonder throne
    Upholstered with poppy petals
    Though you are reluctant to rule
    Take a seat upon yonder throne
    Replacing your father the fool
    And don an emerald mantle
    Take a seat upon yonder throne
    Upholstered with poppy petals.

  2. Very well done, and thank you for another interesting challenge.
    My triolet is titled, A Single Rose:

    A single rose, its meaning hidden,
    A farewell gift, or sign of love.
    A pledge perhaps, of love forbidden,
    A single rose, its meaning hidden.
    A trace of doubt has come, unbidden,
    To ponder on its weight thereof.
    A single rose, its meaning hidden,
    A farewell gift, or sign of love?

    https://rivrvlogr.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/a-single-rose/

  3. Hi Jane, one more format…great thought.. here is my experiment on triplet…

    Title: With eyes closed…

    As I close my eyes,I just think,
    What fond memories do I behold??
    The sky lantern n the flower I hold,
    As I close my eyes,I just think,
    Come back to me my dear,
    Without you there’s darkness here,
    As I close my eyes, I just think,
    What fond memories do I behold???

    Hope I did justice to the format and the photo prompt used…

  4. I like this form. Here is the verse…and the link is below:

    Opiate Mem’ries

    The mem’ry of that autumn night
    still haunts her dreams these many years
    she fills her veins with opiates
    the mem’ry of that autumn night
    and cries for him through groggy tears
    but death has closed his ears to hear
    the mem’ry of that autumn night
    still haunts her dreams these many years.

    ~kat – 3 February 2016

    https://kmmyrman.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/opiate-memries-a-triolet/

  5. Thanks for this challenge. The more I looked at the picture, the more I got ideas. I have come up with a poem which I have scheduled to post tomorrow morning unless I look at it again over the next 12 hours and change my mind 🙂 I shuffled the commas at the end as an attempt to do that meaning shift that you mentioned…not sure whether it is an enhancement or not…

    1. As Ken and I were saying, this part of the form isn’t always followed, sometimes it claims to have a subtle change in meaning that’s too subtle for lesser mortals to notice, and sometimes it detracts from the poem. If yours is better straightforward then leave it alone.

      Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 17:57:43 +0000 To: jane.dougherty@dbmail.com

  6. Thanks for another challenging…um, challenge. So hard to even get it to make sense. I found the painting a little creepy.

    under the tree, the shadows crawl
    but not a single bird will fly
    above the leaves nor near the wall.
    under the tree the shadows crawl
    and in the house within the hall
    a cat naps, but she’d rather lie
    under the tree. the shadows crawl
    but not a single bird will fly.

    https://crow.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/poem-20160203b-2/

  7. The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”, ascend the throne of my heart,
    Be mine forever n now,
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    Beaming moonlight is burning me up,
    Lids of my are reluctant to open up,
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”,ascend the throne my heart..

    The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”,ascend the throne my heart..
    Turned to a statue as I stood..
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    The flower in my hand, Is falling away,
    Loosing it’s scent, slowly dying may,
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”,ascend the throne my heart..

    The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”,ascend the throne my heart..
    It’s your hug, that’s gonna work,
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    Come back to me n fill me up,
    Kiss me now to wake me up,
    The last words, if I could ever say,
    “Oh! my love”,ascend the throne my heart..

    Hey Jane, just check this…used the words given by and could continue the triolet for three stanzas…

    1. Three stanzas! Well done! Since you have obviously developed a taste for this and you have the refrain in the right places, why not have a go at getting the rhyme scheme too? If you look at the examples you’ll see how to do it. Happy rhyming 🙂

      Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 12:34:55 +0000 To: jane.dougherty@dbmail.com

  8. Figured I’d have a go at this… first time, so please let me know what I need to fix.

    Last Words…
    The last words he ever did speak,
    Will live with me the rest of mine,
    Spoken in tones so very weak.
    The last words he ever did speak,
    Though said in a moment so bleak,
    Have become for me my lifeline.
    The last words he ever did speak
    Will live with me the rest of mine.

    http://bit.ly/1S2TwgO

    1. I don’t think you need to change anything! It’s quietly sad, and the refrain just emphasises the melancholy of it. The thing about having to give the last couplet a slightly different meaning just doesn’t always add anything to the poem. If you mess about with commas and subtleties just to fit the form, I’d say leave well alone. I like this the way it is.

      Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 16:08:41 +0000 To: jane.dougherty@dbmail.com

      1. Thanks, I was struggling with that ‘twist’ because in my urge writing, it is much more O’Henry-esque so with just that subtle hint of hope in the word “lifeline” I wasn’t sure if it really counted.

  9. oh clever! I will have to add triolet to my list of short forms to try… currently trying out nonets! (Very restricted time in which to write at the mo!)

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