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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
French Verse

A Vignette, (Old French = little vine), is a brief descriptive verse. This is a genre of verse that uses clear and detailed images to paint a picture of a moment in time. The Vignette is timeless, it can be found in the books of the Bible,  Ralph Waldo Emerson was called a master of vignettes and today's rappers use different vignettes within their first and second strophes to set a scene and expand on it.  It gives the poet an opportunity to use symbolism and imagery to paint a picture or explore a character in a few short lines.  

A vignette is usually short and focused. The frame of the Vignette is at the discretion of the poet. A syllabic verse form also called a Vignette is one of the many frames a poet might choose. Emerson writes the following Vignette in Blank Verse.

Days by Ralph Waldo Emerson                                                        

Daughters of Time, the hypocritic Days,
Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdoms, stars, and sky that holds them all.
I, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn."

The Crystal Vase 

Etched upon a crystal vase
these words round the base,"
"Beauty in things exists
                            in the mind
which contemplates them."*
Resting gently inside
are three long stems
with tight rosy buds rising
above the mouth, ringed in kind
with dainty baby's breath
and fanned by the forest's
                         green lace.
In my mind, no denying,
living things, lovely in their dying.
                  ~~Judi Van Gorder

*David Hume 1711-1776 Of Tragedy 

  • The Vignette is also the name of a syllabic invented verse form introduced by Fozari Rockwood found in Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg 1977.  It's unclear if the content should follow the Old French genre, but I would assume so.  Especially since "short and focused" would be necessary in this restrictive frame.

    The elements of the Vignette are:

    1. a hexastich, a poem in 6 lines.
    2. syllabic, 2-4-4-6-7-3 syllables per line.
    3. unrhymed.

      breaking free

      on the earth's rim,
      spring board to the
      universe and beyond,
      possibilities abound,
      dare to soar


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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