Poetic Form: Paradelle

Well, well. Who’s tried writing a paradelle? It’s a poetic form that Billy Collins originally introduced as “one of the more demanding French forms,” though eventually Collins fessed up that he created it as a joke.

Collins was not kidding about the demanding rules of the paradelle. Here they are:

  • The paradelle is a 4-stanza poem.
  • Each stanza consists of 6 lines.
  • For the first 3 stanzas, the 1st and 2nd lines should be the same; the 3rd and 4th lines should also be the same; and the 5th and 6th lines should be composed of all the words from the 1st and 3rd lines and only the words from the 1st and 3rd lines.
  • The final stanza should be composed of all the words in the 5th and 6th lines of the first three stanzas and only the words from the 5th and 6th lines of the first three stanzas.

Here’s my attempt at the form:

“Paradelle with the stars”

Meet me on the darkest sea of dead stars.
Meet me on the darkest sea of dead stars.
When the waves burn my skin, I’ll remember.
When the waves burn my skin, I’ll remember.
I’ll remember the burn on the darkest
sea of dead waves. When my skin, meet me stars.

Fall into this faulty trap of myself.
Fall into this faulty trap of myself.
Explain me without understanding why.
Explain me without understanding why.
Explain this faulty trap of myself. Fall
into understanding why without me.

Buries your sadness in my abstraction.
Buries your sadness in my abstraction.
Because time worries us eternally.
Because time worries us eternally.
Eternally in my abstraction, your
sadness buries us, because time worries.

On the darkest sea of dead abstraction,
explain your understanding. Without me,
when the waves burn my skin, I’ll remember
this faulty trap of myself, because my
sadness buries us. In time, worries meet
me. Stars fall into why eternally.

*****

To read Billy Collins’ original paradelle, click here.

Click here to check out the Wikipedia entry on the paradelle.

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Learn other poetic forms!
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15 thoughts on “Poetic Form: Paradelle

  1. adisonadolf

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  2. Janice Sheridan

    “Touching me invisibly”

    Your flesh that I stroke is real to me.
    Your flesh that I stroke is real to me.
    When my eyes close, I feel a vapor move,
    When my eyes close, I feel a vapor move,
    When your eyes stroke my flesh to move,
    I feel that vapor is a real me; I close

    my heart. My heart that beats a wound rises.
    My heart, my heart that beats a wound rises.
    Because if I can grasp you, I am real inside.
    Because if I can grasp you, I am real inside.
    You grasp my heart because I am a real wound.
    I can if my heart that beats inside rises.

    See the invisible and you will feel me.
    See the invisible and you will feel me.
    Do you pray that you can touch God?
    Do you pray that you can touch God?
    Touch God and feel the invisible me.
    Will you see? Do you pray that you can?

    I can grasp my real flesh–the vapor is me.
    If you see a wound to touch, close your eyes;
    pray that my heart rises.
    Because I am invisible, I can feel you move.
    You do that. And when you stroke my heart
    that beats inside a real me, I will feel God.

  3. Salvatore Buttaci

    THE TREASURE OF LOVE

    I swore to give my very best in this romance.
    I swore to give my very best in this romance.
    So many others failed for lack of trying.
    So many others failed for lack of trying.
    In failed-for romance, many others lack trying
    To give, so of this swore I: my very best.

    Love demands that we dare not take love for granted.
    Love demands that we dare not take love for granted.
    One moment it is passion, the next––all gone.
    One moment it is passion, the next––all gone.
    Granted that. Take for one: Love is for the moment.
    All passion. It demands we next dare not love gone.

    Love’s treasure once discovered must not be hidden.
    Love’s treasure once discovered must not be hidden.
    When you spend its gold, its value multiplies.
    When you spend its gold, its value multiplies.
    Spend its discovered treasure; value its gold.
    Love, when not hidden, multiplies. Once must be you.

    Granted, many swore once to give love. Others failed.
    I must spend romance trying for its treasures,
    Value the next moment of its passion, so it multiplies.
    In-love demands we dare not be hidden.
    For all this, my one very best take is when
    discovered love gone, you lack that gold.

    #

  4. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    I know my scattered brain will never attempt this form, but shouts out to Bruce, who found the blues in a poetic form created as a joke (and so, surely has my heart!!); Walt, whose first was great and whose second was even better;, and RJ, who could crack me up on a rainy night in Alaska. Billie and Taylor, brava to your courage at tackling this. You both did a marvelous job. And Robert? You, young man, "stars fall into why eternally," indeed. Kyhaara, your poem is the reason I never took philosophy courses!! There’s never an answer – which is why you have to take it on faith, I guess… Thank you all!

  5. Walt Wojtanik

    ANGUISHED THUNDER

    Lost in the distant thunder,
    lost in the distant thunder.
    The sound of her cries in the night,
    the sound of her cries in the night.
    The thunder in the distant night cries,
    lost in the sound of her.

    Her fear engulfs her,
    her fear engulfs her.
    Shadow falls against the door,
    shadow falls against the door;
    falls against her fear.
    The door shadow engulfs her.

    Anguished, he offers his love,
    anguished, he offers his love.
    To shield her heart from the night,
    to shield her heart from the night.
    The night offers to shield her,
    his anguished heart; he from love.

    The lost shadow falls to offer her heart,
    the thunder in her sound engulfs the night.
    He against her,
    his love cries.
    In the anguished night, shield her from
    the distant door of fear.

  6. RJ Clarken

    NYC Subway Directions to The Bowery Ballroom

    Take the ‘A’ Train going downtown.
    Take the ‘A’ Train going downtown.
    Get off at Broadway-Nassau exit.
    Get off at Broadway-Nassau exit.
    Get going off the ‘A’ train.
    Downtown, take exit at Broadway-Nassau.

    From that same station, take the ‘J’ Train towards Jamaica Center.
    From that same station, take the ‘J’ Train towards Jamaica Center.
    Exit at Bowery, near the Delancey end of the platform.
    Exit at Bowery, near the Delancey end of the platform.
    From the Bowery (near Delancey) exit the same station. At the end of platform,
    That ‘J’ Train? Take Jamaica towards center.

    Exit and go west on Delancey.
    Exit and go west on Delancey.
    The Bowery Ballroom is right there.
    The Bowery Ballroom is right there.
    Go West, Delancey! Exit the Bowery Ballroom
    and right on is there.

    Right there – at the end.
    Station the exit at the west platform of the downtown center.
    Going? Take a train. ‘J’ Train. Get off.
    From Broadway-Nassau, exit Jamaica and take
    that Bowery exit, Delancey train. Go. ‘J’ is near Delancey –
    on towards the same. Bowery Ballroom.

  7. RJ Clarken

    Pappardelle Paradelle

    The verb ‘pappare’ means to gobble up.
    The verb ‘pappare’ means to gobble up.
    In Italy, some towns have festivals honoring this broad noodle.
    In Italy, some towns have festivals honoring this broad noodle.
    To gobble up (verb) the broad noodle in Italy –
    this, honoring festivals. ‘Pappare’ means have some towns.

    Pappardelle is prepared with a variety of sauces.
    Pappardelle is prepared with a variety of sauces.
    Some recipes use vegetable Bolognese or wild boar or rich hare.
    Some recipes use vegetable Bolognese or wild boar or rich hare.
    Wild boar or rich hare is prepared pappardelle with
    a vegetable variety of Bolognese recipes sauces. Or use some?

    Typically, pappardelle is made with an egg-based dough.
    Typically, pappardelle is made with an egg-based dough.
    It makes the pasta fluffier, and the edges of the ribbons of pasta may be fluted or left straight.
    It makes the pasta fluffier, and the edges of the ribbons of pasta may be fluted or left straight.
    Fluffier, typically the fluted pasta may be left or straight of the ribbons,
    and of the egg-based, pappardelle made it. Makes an edges. Pasta is with dough.

    In an honoring of the vegetable, the Bolognese
    typically may have some festivals’ variety. Straight is up! Is.
    With hare and of boar, gobble this broad noodle.
    It means, of the pappardelle towns (rich with prepared ribbons) the left makes a pasta
    or edge, to be fluffier. Recipes use (verb!) egg-based, fluted pasta or some made sauces or…
    Italy “pappare’ wild dough.

  8. Taylor Graham

    WHO GOES A-SOULING

    Tonight the shrew peeks, it practices its face
    tonight the shrew peeks, it practices its face
    and whispers in its dance under
    and whispers in its dance under
    the dance under its face tonight, its
    whispers. It peeks and practices in shrew.

    Vole has sometimes breath in between
    vole has sometimes breath in between
    the bare owl when again oak-wind
    the bare owl when again oak-wind
    the sometimes bare wind when again
    owl in-breath has vole between oak –

    those blank boughs as moon spirits changed
    those blank boughs as moon spirits changed
    tongues, their names to strange bones,
    tongues, their names to strange bones,
    their strange boughs, those bones changed
    as blank moon-tongues to spirits’ names.

    The moon has changed its blank face again.
    It peeks between bare oak boughs
    as Owl practices names in those strange
    tongues the wind sometimes whispers
    under its breath to shrew and vole,
    tonight when spirits dance in their bones.

  9. Billie

    Suddenly, the lights went out!
    Suddenly, the lights went out!
    And I woke up under the night.
    and I woke up under the night .
    The lights went out. I woke up.
    Out came the night.
     
     
    The rain is pouring !
    The rain is pouring!
    return me to the ground to sleep.
    Return me to the ground to sleep.
    Rain is pouring on the ground,
    I return to sleep.
     
     
    To sleep is to dream of you!
    To sleep is to dream of you!
    In the broken heavens!
    In the broken heavens!
    In this broken sleep,
    to dream of you, heaven.
     
     
    The lights go out and I woke up.
    Out comes the night
    Rain is pouring on the ground
    I return to sleep
    to dream of you, heaven.
    in this broken sleep.

  10. Margo Roby

    I think I like your paradelle [sounds like a pasta] better than any poem I have read of yours. I like Walt’s very much too. So, I will now go away and fight the form with those two poems as my inspiration!

  11. Kyhaara

    Here is my attempt:

    The Philosopher:

    The philosopher asks, "Why am I here?"
    The philosopher asks, "Why am I here?"
    Is there an answer to all of his questions?
    Is there an answer to all of his questions?
    The philosopher is his questions,
    Asks all questions: Why? Why? Why?

    One in love with wisdom and truth.
    One in love with wisdom and truth.
    Wondering everything, seen or not.
    Wondering everything, seen or not.
    Seen wondering, not seen everything.
    One with wisdom, one with truth.

    Always thinking, never ceasing.
    Always thinking, never ceasing.
    The world itself is a mystery.
    The world itself is a mystery,
    Itself is always a mystery,
    Is the world never ceasing?

    The philosopher is always wondering,
    Is never ceasing his questions.
    Asks the world, everything, why?
    One with all questions. A mystery.
    Is wisdom itself one with truth?
    Why seen? Why not seen?

  12. Walt Wojtanik

    OF SUFFERING OR REMEMBRANCE

    In the cool evening when the mists of Autumn departs.
    In the cool evening when the mists of Autumn departs.
    I will hold memories of you closely.
    I will hold memories of you closely.
    When the cool of Autumn evening departs,
    closely will I hold memories of you in the mists.

    The pangs of a weary heart, beckon you.
    The pangs of a weary heart, beckon you.
    But, silence remains the response it does not understand.
    But, silence remains the response it does not understand.
    You understand, but it does not beckon a weary heart,
    The pangs of silence remains the response.

    And shall I call to heaven, “raise me upward”?
    And shall I call to heaven, “raise me upward”?
    Or the fire of hell will burn me for releasing you?
    Or the fire of hell will burn me for releasing you?
    Releasing heaven will burn me to you.
    Shall I raise the fire upward, or call me for and of hell?

    The memories of Autumn evening raise me
    when the cool mists beckon, and you will understand
    heavens response, but it does not burn.
    I hold you or the fire closely. A will departs.
    Releasing upward of the pangs of hell,
    the weary heart remains in silence. Or I shall call for you to me.

  13. Bruce Niedt

    Wow, Robert! That’s one of the best paradelles I’ve read. Here’s my attempt from a couple of years ago – I played with the form and restructured it as a blues stanza:

    Paradelle Blues

    by Bruce W Niedt

    Well I feel so bad now,
    Can’t write a paradelle;
    Well I feel so bad now,
    Can’t write a paradelle;
    A paradelle so bad,
    Feel now I can’t write well.

    It’s a right nasty form,
    That keep me up all night;
    It’s a right nasty form,
    That keep me up all night;
    A night up keep me nasty,
    It’s that form, all right.

    Ain’t no one in this world
    Can do that verse and win,
    Ain’t no one in this world
    Can do that verse and win,
    Ain’t no win; that verse and
    This world can do one in.

    Now I feel bad – can’t a
    Form win and keep that right?
    In all this world, do up
    A verse no one can write?
    Night, it’s me, ain’t so well;
    That nasty paradelle.

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