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Zéjel with a mudanza

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

Spanish PoetryZéjel is a romantic Spanish form with Arabic influence related to the Qasida and adopted by the Spanish troubadours of 15th century. The Zéjel is distinguished by linking rhyme established in the opening mudanza (strophe in which the theme is established in a mono-rhymed triplet). There have been many variations of the form, in Arabic it is called the Zahal.


The simplest and most common form of the Zéjel is:

  • syllabic, most often written in 8 syllable lines.
  • stanzaic, opening with a mono-rhymed triplet followed by any number of quatrains.
  • rhymed, the rhyme of the opening mudanza establishes a linking rhyme with the end line of the succeeding quatrains. Rhyme scheme, aaa bbba ddda etc.


    An Old Hymn Still Singing by Judi Van Gorder


    And He walks with me

    and He talks to me

    and He tells me I am His own.

    ------Charles Austin Miles 1913


    On mornings when the sky is clear,

    the air washed by an angel's tear,

    I know that heaven's path is near.


    To walk in the garden and know

    truth from a hymn of long ago.

    Harmony in the fountain's flow.

    Hush, could it be His voice I hear?


    Solitary crunch of my shoe,

    antique rose that sparkles with dew,

    garden buzzes with life anew,

    the melody dispels all fear.


    I learned to sing it as a child,

    a pretty song with words so mild

    and even then I was beguiled.

    My garden sings the words held dear.

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