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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
French Verse

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 elements of the Retourne are:

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

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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