Rondine: Poetic Form

As regular readers of this blog can attest, I love me some French forms. And this week’s poetic form is a French form: the rondine.

Rondine Poems

If the term “rondine” sounds familiar, almost like rondeau, that’s because it’s very similar to the rondeau. In fact, I’m thinking of calling it the little rondeau, because it’s kind of like a mini-version of the rondeau.

So here are the basic rules:

  • 12-line poem
  • 2 stanzas
  • 7 lines in the first stanza; 5 lines in the second
  • 8 or 10 syllables per line, except in the 7th and 12th lines
  • 7th and 12th lines are a refrain
  • The refrain comes from the opening word or phrase of the poem


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Here’s my attempt at a Rondine Poem:

If I Were You, by Robert Lee Brewer

If I were you, I’d not be me;
instead, I’d be a complete fake
or, perhaps, I mean to say flake
as in snow dissolved in the sea
as in something that’s hard to see
and still there’d be nothing to take
if I were you.

For instance, remove my name Lee
from anything I plan to make
and insert your namesake
and replace all traces of me
if I were you.


Okay, so my example doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but you should get the idea of how the form works now, right? So now you know, and as you know, knowing is half the battle.

So now get poeming!


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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24 thoughts on “Rondine: Poetic Form

  1. Terry Jordan

    A Thriving Survivor

    I am a thriving survivor
    Though twice betrayed and abandoned
    Often been lied to and cheated
    Plutoed, fired, hired then mistreated
    Struggled getting up off the couch
    Alienation caused self-doubt
    For this thriving survivor

    Release all the hurt and slander
    To that past I will not pander
    Determined to walk through the door
    To a life with so much in store
    For this thriving survivor

  2. taylor graham


    It’s all swept clean, Main Street seven o’clock.
    Nothing’s open yet, as rain turns to snow.
    I’m walking yesterday-town, Antiques Row.
    A pewter tray, a stoneware pickling crock.
    That grandfather rocker long ceased its rock.
    A feather boa from decades ago.
    It’s all swept clean,

    sidewalk’s ready for morning, key in lock.
    But there’s a sewing basket – no thread to sew,
    its notions gone. An eye that lost its glow
    surprised by time, or age, or memory block,
    it’s all swept clean.

  3. taylor graham

    La Rondine

    returns, returns. The sweater never fits.
    Those colors that enticed her on the rack
    make her cadaverous. A hairline crack –
    so she took back the bowl; the new one sits
    in her closet. EXCHANGES knows her; it’s
    her first stop every time, in letters black:
    RETURNS. Returns

    is like a mantra, like a bird that flits
    to Capistrano, always coming back—
    those swallows ever seeking what they lack.
    The restless forth-&-back that never quits,
    returns, returns.

  4. taylor graham


    There are lessons here, in the Gold Rush mine –
    a hazard. Might a child fall down the pit?
    not in search of gold or the bad airs that sit
    in shut-off places, quartz vein crystal-shine
    too dim to show a way. These walls confine
    the lungs, I say, the heart. But this is it:
    there are lessons here

    we need to learn, even the child of nine
    about to inherit, to somehow fit
    into his earth, right the old wrongs, remit
    old debts; to see the intricate design.
    There are lessons here.

  5. RuthieShev

    The Yellow Sundress
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    When we were young and newly wed
    My husband bought a special gift
    To cheer me up and make me smile
    Gave my spirits a needed lift
    A bright cheery yellow sundress
    With a sweet and loving caress
    When we were young

    Now that we both are old and grey
    I sometimes wish we could refresh
    Life and go back to that sweet day
    He gave me the yellow sundress
    When we were young

  6. Walter J Wojtanik


    I heard it again on the radio.
    From long ago, it was our song.
    And I heard it yesterday. Is it wrong
    to make me think of you, your loving glow.
    There’s no pretending my heart would know
    and is starting to feel you through this song.
    I heard it again.

    Why do I marvel when your spirit shows?
    When I hear it would I keep love as strong?
    Maybe I’m amazed you’re here all along
    when I honor you as my words flow?
    I heard it again.

    © Waltetr J. Wojtanik – 2017

  7. mayboy

    In your boots

    In your boots, I’d touch the ground
    to feel the strength of our time,
    to make a step that follows what
    you want, mine wouldn’t be the one,
    with my birth, The God granted me
    A chance to choose the right path.
    In your boots.

    The roots of blood are all around,
    to reach them turn your shoe around,
    pull the spin from heel to feel less pain,
    make the half way to feel the same,
    in your boots.


  8. pmwanken

    LOVE’S CHANGED ME by Paula Wanken

    Love’s changed me from the inside out.
    First it was the love from mother:
    protective, kind; like no other.
    Then came along a first class lout
    who took what wasn’t given out
    ‘for leaving me for some other.
    Love’s changed me

    as it’s taken me on this route:
    trust/distrust—to trust another?
    Cautious, I am, with my lover.
    Of this, I’m sure—without a doubt—
    love’s changed me.

      1. pmwanken

        Thanks, Walt. I appreciate it.

        You know me – not one to do rhyming forms. But it had been waaaay too many months since writing any poetry that I decided a new form was the “assignment” to take on, hopefully to bust me out of my non-writing phase.

  9. HandHeldWriter

    I am Batman, you would not know
    Caped Crusader all dressed in black
    face under mask, voice inexact,
    defender in the moonlight glow,
    dishing out justice where I go
    I am Batman.

    Patrol the city, high and low.
    Gadgets are packed, villainy tracked,
    waiting in the shadows… attack!
    Can the Dark Knight ever rest? No.
    I am Batman

    1. PressOn

      I’m assuming that, if it’s basically a shorter rondeau, it has two rhymes, plus refrain, and the pattern would be what Robert shows; i.e., abbaabR abbaR. Or is that too much to assume, Robert?

      1. pmwanken

        OK – thanks, William. I have not written a poem in months…and it’s not usually my “thing” to write in rhyme. But for one reason or another, I’m inclined to give this one a go! Stay tuned…. 😉


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