Poetry Month: A Poem Format Less Taken

Today we are going to explore a lesser-known poetry form. The Rondelet is French in origin and is the briefest form of the poetry family termed the Rondeau. The distinctive form of all the Rondeau family is they have a repeated line called a refrain. The Rondelet is a seven line, one stanza poem (septet) which has a refrain (A). The refrain line is always half the amount of syllables as the other lines. Here we have made it easy with a 4/8 format.

The format is;

Line 1: 4 syllables– the refrain (A)

Line 2: 8 syllables (b)

Line 3: 4 syllables– the refrain (A)

Line 4: 8 syllables – rhymes with line 1 (a)

Line 5: 8 syllables– rhymes with line 2 (b)

Line 6: 8 syllables – rhymes with lines 2 and 5 (b)

Line 7: 4 syllables– the refrain (A)


An example:


By Marie Staight

When I feel sad

One thing that always cheers me up

When I feel sad

I write clearly on my sketch pad

A list of blessings in my cup

Friends, family, and buttercups.

When I feel sad.


Now if I were to modernize this format slightly, my third and/or last line would rhyme, but not be exactly the same, such as: “If I were sad”; “No longer sad”; or “Now I am glad.” Although the traditional format is strict in its pattern, some poetic license is allowed. Try one and see how you do.

Please share your poems in the comments below.


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