Hello everyone! What an honor it is to be able to join you as a guide at BJ’s Shadorma and Beyond! My name is Jen, and I am visiting you from Blog It Or Lose It. As Bastet announced last week, she and I will be alternating our weekly appearances here.
My task for today is to tempt you to write a Rondine – by using music! For this week’s challenge, please watch and listen to “Saltarello” performed by Arany Zoltán. (A saltarello is a 14th century Italian dance.)
Wow! What a beautiful piece of music – and what a wealth of great (and sometimes amusing) medieval artwork. Do any of these images pique your interest? You may also want simply to close your eyes and listen. What images and emotions pop into view? Do any of the instruments remind you of creatures – or customs – or people? Do you think of medieval banquets? Do you feel joy? Or mystery? Or sadness?
Once you have some ideas you’re ready to write!
This week you have the option of writing a shadorma or a rondine (or both, if you like).
As you know, a shadorma is an unrhymed six-line poem with a syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have as many stanzas as you like, so long as all of them follow the 3/5/3/3/7/5 pattern.
The rules are fairly simple.
1. There are twelve lines in three stanzas;
2. The rhyme scheme is abba / abR / abbaR;
3. “R” stands for “refrain”. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say that your refrain will be the first four syllables of your first line of poetry. (For example, I once wrote a rondine with this first line: “No one told her the box was cursed.” The refrain, then, was “No one told her.”)
4. Lines should be about eight syllables long. (If your lines run around 7 or 9 syllables, though, don’t worry – don’t force your lines and make them sound awkward.)
5. The meter consists of iambic tetrameter for the main lines and iambic dimeter for the refrains. This sounds complicated but it’s not! It’s just a fancy way of saying your main lines sound like “da DA da DA da DA da DA” and your refrains sound like “da DA da DA”. For example:
in FLANders FIELDS the POPpies BLOW
beTWEEN the CROSSes, ROW on ROW
(But – as is the case with line length – don’t worry about meter if it makes your poem sound awkward. Don’t force it. And by all means – if meter makes you feel nervous – skip it this time around. I did.)
Here is my rondine, color-coded, so you can make sense of the rhyme:
Piper, help me: my Lady grieves a (with R)
for her love, long gone in the East. b
With your joy slay the shadowed beast b
that ‘round her heart a black veil weaves. a
I cannot save her; her pain cleaves a
her mind and heart – she can’t be reached. b
Piper, help me! R
Fading daily like winter leaves – a
like dying swans whose souls are creased – b
cheer her with dance, with song, with feast b
before Death her torment relieves! a
Piper, help me! R
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