Week Twenty-Six: The Rondeau

Friends and Poetry Lovers,

As I celebrate reaching the halfway mark of this 52-week challenge (whoop!), I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to check out these posts and show their support by following, liking, and commenting. I created this poetry challenge as a test of my own resolve, willpower, and writing ability, and though I’d still be posting if I hadn’t any followers at all, knowing that there are some folks out there who get enough from it to take the time to interact with my blog is a wonderful feeling.

You may have noticed I’ve taken the last couple of weeks off (due to illness and general holiday busyness) and this will be my last post of 2019. The challenge will pick up right where it left off in January 2020, so please come back and join me in the new year. I hope the end of the year (and the decade!) brings you love and joy, no matter how you choose to celebrate the season.

And now…the main attraction!

Meet the Rondeau

The word rondeau derives form the French rond,  meaning “round,” and, indeed, it is a form that turns round and round. The rondeau originated in Provencal poetry in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The term originally included various short poetic forms. The current form was fixed toward the end of the fifteenth century and became especially popular in French poetry.                   
 
– Edward Hirsch, A Poet’s Glossary 

Key Features

Form: Consists of fifteen lines in two or three stanzas and a refrain that is introduced in line 1 and repeats in lines 10 and 15

Rhyme: Follows a unique rhyme scheme

Meter: Often written in iambic tetrameter

~

Example

“We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

~

An Original Rondeau

The Fix Was In

The Fix was in right from the start.
They wrote the script, assigned the parts,
Then hired a team to advertise,
To teach to want, each worthless prize
A meal designed to slowly starve.

We work to live; our lives are hard.
Our hands are strong, but marked with scars,
And long before we realized
The Fix was in,

They dulled our minds and tamed our hearts.
We fell in line, we pushed the cart
Through crowded aisles, half mesmerized.
And on we’ll play, the stakes will rise,
not knowing as we fold our cards
The Fix was in.

~

Want to Learn More? Start Here:

A Poet’s Glossary – Edward Hirsch
Rondeau – Writer’s Digest
We Wear the Mask – Poetry Foundation
Rondeau – Wikipedia
Rondeau – Poets.org

~

Come back next year for part two
of the Fifty-Form Poetry Challenge!

~ Creative works are owned by the author and subject to copyright laws ~

Write your own and share in the comments!

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