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Tinker

Retourne

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry

French Poetry

 

The Retourne, (Latin - retorn=return), like much French verse from the Middle Ages is written with a refrain. However unlike verse of that same period, it is unrhymed which makes it suitable for short narratives.

 

The Retourne is:

  • a poem in 16 lines, made up of 4 quatrains.
  • syllabic, 8 syllable lines.
  • written with a tumbling refrain. The lines of the first stanza provide an opening refrain for the ensuing stanzas. xABC Axxx Bxxx Cxxx.
  • unrhymed.

     

    French Flare by Judi Van Gorder

     

    In Middle Ages fraught with forms

    the French were known to write with flare.

    But search in books and search on-line,

    an old Retourne is hard to find.

     

    The French were known to write with flare,

    lines repeated and expanded,

    a poem measured four by four,

    octo-syllabic lines unrhymed.

     

    But search in books and search on-line

    no one it seems did take the time

    to record sixteen lines in frame

    to display a tumbling refrain.

     

    An old Retourne is hard to find,

    The form explained is everywhere

    sans example from the masters

    so humbly I offer my own.

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