Whittled Words – Terzanelle Poem



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Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:

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TERZANELLE POEM

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What do you get when you mix two super popular Italian poetic forms, specifically the terza rima and villanelle? The terzanelle, of course!

It combines the lyricism of the terza rima with the repetition of the villanelle to make a powerful one-two punch in only 19 lines. The traditional stance on the terzanelle is that the lines should be written in a consistent iambic meter (as shown in my example), but there are plenty of contemporary terzanelles that just aspire to keep the lines a consistent length throughout.

Here’s the rhyme and refrain order for the Terzanelle:

 

A1
B
A2

b
C
B

c
D
C

d
E
D

e
F
E

f
A1
F
A2

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Examples of Terzanelle Poems:

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GOING HOME

by Cynthia Page

 

Going home is hard for me and it seems
while away I found new dreams. I grew strong.
I’ve traveled new roads, waded other streams

that pulled me further away. Carried along
through the tides of change, I learned new things
while I found new dreams. I grew strong.

Facing my past, I discover old strings
pulling me back, Tied together by the past
through the tides of change. I’ve learned new things

about them now. Yesterday does not last.
Memories are deceptive. Changes daunt me,
pulling me back. Tied together by the past,

these strangers with well-known faces haunt me.
The years have changed me more than I knew.
Memories are deceptive. Changes daunt me,

but this is family, my first home, so I rue
going home is hard for me and it seems
the years have changed me more than I knew.
I’ve traveled new roads, waded other streams.

~~~

MAGIC ENERGY

By Taylor Graham

 

At daybreak, just see how her eyes burn bright.
This earth-dark, sable puppy, puckish-gay
by cell-phone photo taken at first light –

“magic energy” in dog-form, you’d say.
I say she’s wild as water, hard to hold.
This earth-dark, sable puppy puckish-gay,

quicksilver. She whirls through a dawning cold;
next she’s scouting wind for coyote scent.
I say she’s wild as water, hard to hold

by leash or theory. What was it I meant
to teach her? The far ridges call her now,
next she’s scouting wind for coyote scent,

she startles birds from a low hanging bough;
a rise of wings, wanderlust song of birds
to teach her the far ridges. Call her now,

try to catch her with a rope of flung words
or cell-phone photo taken at first light.
A rise of wings, wanderlust song of birds
at daybreak. Just see how her eyes burn bright.

~~~

THE EMBRACE OF PAIN

By Brad Osborne

The flesh is torn from weary bone

And there is beauty in that pain

A beauty rarely shared or known

And when our lives be put to strain

We hold to that which we abhor

And there is beauty in that pain

For what the future has in store

We cannot know or ready see

We hold to that which we abhor

And in that ache and pain steady

There lies some hope of what may come

We cannot know or ready see

And if good grace would offer some

A light to guide our wandering way

There lies some hope of what may come

Before the pain leads to decay

The flesh is torn from weary bone

A light to guide our wandering way

A beauty rarely shared or known

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I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Terzanelle poem. Thanks for reading!

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Comments
12 Responses to “Whittled Words – Terzanelle Poem”
  1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Oh these Italians and their variety of rhyme forms, poetic styles et cetera! Fabulous! And you have provided a smashing good example!

  2. You know that the style of a poem is not of great concern to me. However, I like all three of these poems.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I agree form is far less important than content. Thanks for all your support. I like the other examples better than I like me own, but that is nothing new. Love you, sis!

  3. Jim Borden says:

    I like the rhyming, repetitive nature of this style of poem. and I like your message of hope…

  4. All three selections make a good case for the form.

  5. jonicaggiano says:

    I really like this format Brad. As usual I liked yours the best. These lines are so special and hopeful as well Brad, my dear friend.

    “We cannot know or ready see
    And if good grace would offer some
    A light to guide our wandering way
    There lies some hope of what may come”

    Such hope and light in these words. I can use this today too. Thank you Brad, love Jonikins xoxoxo

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