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Hello and welcome everyone! This is Gayle from Bodhirose’s Blog for Meeting the Bar and I’m introducing a form today known as the Rondel which is sometimes spelled Rondelle but is not to be confused with the Roundel, or the Rondelet which was previously covered in Form For All by Tony Maude some time back.  Whew!  Please don’t tell me that you’re already confused…smiles.

The Rondel is a French short form first composed in the 14th century that evolved from the songs of French troubadours (medieval poets or singers) and is comprised of three verses which include two quatrains and one quintet.  The word “rondel” comes from the French meaning “little round” and is so called because of the use of repeated refrain lines that serve to create a circular pattern in the poem so that it wraps back around itself.

In my research of this form there were no parameters concerning meter or syllables except in one instance where it said 8 syllables per line are sometimes used. So I leave it up to you, dear poets, to choose whether you would like to limit your syllables or not.  Either way is acceptable.

Bing Images Public Domain:  Troubadour

So, we’re working with a 13 line poem. Each quatrain is 4 lines each and then the quintet is 5 lines.

The first two lines of the first quatrain are the refrain and are repeated as the last two lines of the second stanza and in the quintet (third stanza) the first line of your poem will be repeated on your 13th line.  The poem uses only two rhymes, so the structure of the poem looks like this:

1st line A
2nd line B
3rd line b (rhymes with B)
4th line a (rhymes with A)
5th line a (rhymes with A)
6th line b (rhymes with B)
7th line A (entire 1st line repeated)
8th line B (entire 2nd line repeated)
9th line a (rhymes with A)
10th line b (rhymes with B)
11th line b (rhymes with B)
12th line a (rhymes with A)
3th line A (entire 1st line repeated)

I have bolded the lines that are the refrains taken from the first two lines of the poem to illustrate where they will be placed.

The following is a Rondel by Henry Austin Dobson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Austin_Dobson

Love comes back to his vacant dwelling,
The old, old Love that we knew of yore!
We see him stand by the open door,
With his great eyes sad, and his bosom swelling.

He makes as though in our arms repelling.
He fain would lie as he lay before;    
Love comes back to his vacant dwelling,
The old, old Love that we knew of yore!

Ah! who shall help us from over-spelling
That sweet, forgotten, forbidden lore?
E’en as we doubt, in our hearts once more,
With a rush of tears to our eyelids welling,
Love comes back to his vacant dwelling.

And here’s another:

A Rondel for Margarita; Copyright 2004 Gail Kavanagh

On the carousel, on a summer’s day,
As the rest of the fairground goes gliding by,
We coast together, now low, now high,
But how quickly the moment slips away.

She laughs at the music, elfin and fey,
She laughs for joy at the sapphire sky,
On the carousel, on a summer’s day,
As the rest of the fairground goes gliding by.

How sweet her delight in simple play,
Someday, without me, she’ll take to the sky,
Brave little fledgling, ready to fly.
We must hold these moments while we may
On the carousel, on a summer’s day.

Shadow Poetry: http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/rondel.html

I hope you enjoy trying the new form today.  Gayle ~

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