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Picture courtesy: Sliced cake on a ceramic plate by Lisa, Unsplash


Sanaa here (aka adashofsunny) once again to stir your muses. The winter trees are iced as thickly as cake frosting, yesterday they were rough twigs, their elegance having fallen to the ground in autumn. However, today they capture the eye of every onlooker that passes by, they are living art, nothing short of inspiration under the sun.

French Literature began when writers started using dialects that had evolved from Latin spoken in parts of the Roman Empire that would soon become France. Eventually, the dialect gained supremacy over others and by the 10th century began vying with Latin for prestige.

The 11th century witnessed the emergence of Literature in French language in the form of several Epic poems known as “Chansons de Geste,” which recounted heroic tales of knights fighting with or against Charlemagne.

The Chansons were then followed in the second half of the 12th century by “Romans Courtois,” i.e. tales of courtly love which were written in verse and were intended to be read aloud before aristocratic audiences.

On the other hand a very different type of Literature flourished outside of aristocratic circles. The “Fabliaux,” were short narratives in verse, simple,

earthy and bantering in tone. Fables, which were allegorical stories, portrayed animals used to satirize human characteristics or to point to a moral; they were equally popular, the most celebrated of this type being “Reynard, the fox.”

Traditional forms and genres:

Medieval French lyric poetry was indebted to the poetic and cultural traditions in Southern France and Provence including Toulouse Poitiers and the Aquitaine region.

The Provencal Poets were greatly influenced by poetic traditions from the Hispano-Arab world and were called “Trobadours,” derived from the word “trobar,” which means to find and to invent.

Today we will delve deep into the French poetic form “Rima Dissolutas.” Popular with 12th and 13th century French poets, rimas dissolutas is a poem that rhymes and doesn’t rhyme.

For instance, each stanza contains no end rhymes, but each line in each stanza rhymes with the corresponding line in the next stanza–sometimes employing an envoi at the end.

Here’s how the end rhymes would work in a Rimas Dissolutas with three five-line stanzas:

(1-a, 2-b, 3-c, 4-d, 5-e) (6-a, 7-b, 8-c, 9-d, 10-e) (11-a, 12-b, 13-c, 14-d, 15-e)

(If the poem has an envoi, it might be 2-3 lines long using the c, d, and/or e rhymes.)

Please click on the link below for more in-depth understanding of the form:

The Music in it: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog: Rimas Dissolutas

There are no rules for meter, line length, or syllables–except that it should be consistent from stanza to stanza.

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

by Sylvia Plath

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To see the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can’t honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then—
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait’s begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

By the end of the late 13th century, the poetic tradition in France had begun to develop in ways that differed greatly from the troubadour poets.

The new poetic as well as some of the earliest medieval music has lyrics composed in Old French (by composers known by name) tendencies are apparent in the “Roman de Fauvel,” in 1310 and 1314, a satire on abuses in the medieval church filled with motets, lais, rondeaux and other new secular forms of poetry and music.

It mocks the sins of humanity by making the Seven Deadly Sins appear in the personification of a horse.

Although the European prominence of French Literature was eclipsed in part by vernacular literature in Italy in the 14th century, it underwent a major creative evolution in the 16th century and through political and artistic programs came to dominate the European letters in the 17th century.

Picture courtesy: Concrete houses and Green trees by Pierre Blache

Under the aristocratic ideals of the “Ancien Regime,” the nationalist spirit of post revolutionary France and the mass educational ideals of the Third Republic and modern France, the French have come to have a profound cultural attachment to their literary heritage.

Today, French schools emphasize on the study of novels, theater and poetry. The literary arts are heavily sponsored by the state and prizes are major news.

In 1964 Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but he declined it stating; “A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form.”

Sources: Introduction to French Literature, its origin and development and Writer’s Digest: Poetic form “Rimas Dissolutas,” write better poetry.

For today’s Poetics, I want you to write keeping in mind the following two options.

  • Write a poem that’s loosely based on French ideals and culture. You may opt to share your experience of visiting France and many of its lovely cities if you have done so.   OR
  • Write a poem using the poetic form “Rimas Dissolutas.” The choice of topic is entirely up to you.

New to dVerse? Here’s how to join in:

  • Write a poem in response to the challenge.
  • Enter a link directly to your poem and your name by clicking Mr. Linky below
    and remember to check the little box to accept the use/privacy policy.
  • You will find links to other poets and more will join so please do check
    back later in order to read their poems.
  • Read and comment on other poets’ work– we all come here to have our poems read.