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Poetic Forms: Rispetto

Okay, here's a new form. Actually, scratch that. This is a very old form (from Italy, no less). Still, new to me anyway. I found more than a few definitions, but here are the two most common variations:

Rispetto #1: Poem comprised of two quatrains written in iambic (unstress, stress) tetrameter (four feet--or, in this case, 8 syllables).

Rispetto #2: Poem (or song) comprised of 8 hendecasyllabic (11-syllable) lines--usually one stanza.

Both versions appear to follow this rhyme scheme: ababccdd (though I also found a mention of an abababcc pattern). Plus, I found more than a few sources which claim rispettos were originally written to pay "respect" to a woman.

However, over the centuries, this poem has offered itself up for other subjects and variations. So feel free to experiment.

Here's my attempt at the rispetto (the second version):

"Forget sleeping"

When fires spark in the dark, I know you're near
enough to hear my kisses blaze against stark
atmospheres forming and reforming like clear
antidotes to tired notes left lounging in parks
on swings twisted by teenage angst-rage affairs--
all those stares, those wild stares--and I don't care
to let you know how much I care about life,
but it would mean less without you as my wife.

*****

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*****

The Poetry Dictionary cover

Learn more about poetic forms...

...with The Poetry Dictionary, by John Drury, which was actually one of my sources for the rispetto. It's crammed to the brim with poetic definitions, terms, thoughts, poems, and more.

Click here to learn more.

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