Rondine: Poetic Form

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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
  • Rhyme pattern looks like this: abbaabR/abbaR


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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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