By My Side: A Triolet
By My Side
Here, by my side
Is my loving wife
Sparing me from the crashing tide
That would’ve been a disastrous ride
In the sea of my own pride
There’s never time for strife
for here, by my side,
Is my loving wife.
What is a Triolet?
The English may not want to admit that the French have had a profound influence on their language and literature. However, the proof is there. Since the pivotal year of 1066, French words and poetic forms have been incorporated in the language. In fact, at one point, French was the preferred language of the island nation.
Of course, the English language reemerged as a dominate language – with the help of new vocabulary from the area across the channel. Still, as English writers honed their skills and helped to push the language forward, they borrowed heavily from their former rivals.
French lyrical forms have been adopted by English poets for years. Much of the influence began in the 14th and 15th centuries. Of these poems, The Triolet, Rondeau, and Rondel were not naturalized into the English language when it was first introduced. However, by the end of the 19th century, a group of English poets began to give these poetic forms a more “Anglo” touch to them. The leaders in this movement were Swinburne, Austin Dobson, Andrew Lang, W.E. Henley and Edmund Gosse.
Of the French lyrical form poems to catch on with the English was the Triolet. This particular poem consist of eight lines with two rhymes and arranged in a rhyme scheme of a,b,a,a,a,b,a,b
Although not often mentioned as an important part of the poem, many poets using this form repeated the second and final line
The following scheme can be seen in the sample given below:
Bundle of Joy
Life blessed me today (A)
With a bundle of joy (B)
It parted days of gray (A)
And let forth hope’s ray (A)
On this, the finest day (A)
My heart swells with my bouncing baby boy (B)
Revealed, if it was Christmas today (A)
With a bundle of joy. (B)
Although not often mentioned as an important part of the poem, many poets using this form repeated the second and final line. Sometimes, it can be the first and last line. Still, not all triolets will have this.
The popularity of this lyrical poem is in its nature. It’s a poem that uses only two rhymes, is relatively short and has a light theme (usually about love, nature, or happiness). In particular, it is easier to grasp its format than the other French styles such as Rondeau and Rondel (which are often referred as the same format)
© 2013 Dean Traylor