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The Kyrielle and How to Write One

Updated on September 5, 2014

A page of Kyrielle and Advice on Writing Them

Here I show you the kyrielle with its pretty name and pleasing structure. The repetition of its last line is its most obvious feature. Look below for its other structures. Previously I used very free forms for my poems throughout 2010. Now I am enjoying the benefits of staying within a structure of both rhyme and rhythm. May be you too will try your hand at writing a kyrielle.

What You Need to Know about a Kyrielle

The name kyrielle derives from early christian liturgy "Kyrie eleison, Christe elieson," Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. They were first written in medieval times when the troubadours travelled about with their songs to delight the wealthy classes.

The four lines of a stanza are all eight syllables long. The first two lines rhyme and the second two do also. The last line is a refrain throughout the stanzas, so choose a last word which has lots of possible rhymes. Fewer than three stanzas is not acceptable in a Kyrielle. Go to the link below to see how it is explained in Wikipedia. but I think you may hurry back to me.

Kyrielle # 1

Through life's dark ways I wander on

And soon I find my time is gone.

I soon will reach my chosen goal,

May God have mercy on my soul.

I have not lived for what is best,

But made of Christ a welcome guest.

Now he has cleansed and made me whole,

God will have mercy on my soul.

For Christ of my soul is the friend,

He will succour me and defend.

And when at last Jordan shall roll,

God will have mercy on my soul.

For Christ the only answer is

As surely as my name is Liz

Though sin and sorrow take their toll

God will have mercy on my soul.


Kyrielle #2

In England Summer oft is cool;

It really makes you feel a fool,

That in winter you made a fuss.

When will Summer shine upon us.

The rain pours down from leaden skies,

The day is cold, there are no flies.

This weather is an incubus

When will Summer shine upon us.

The sun sends weak and weary rays

Down upon us all the days.

I'm tired of all this grey sameness

When will Summer shine upon us.


Freedom or Structure in your Poems?

Do you like structured poetry?

Kyrielle #3

Oh Summer where are you today?

Swamped behind the cold clouds of gray.

Blossoms languish in the hedge rows

My heart for sooth, more languid grows.

But evening comes and sun is out.

Why was I filled with such great doubt?

Evening is filled with fewer woes,

My heart forsooth, less languid grows.

As night draws near the clouds muster,

More rain comes and the winds bluster.

"Summer" you bring me still such woes,

My heart again more languid grows.


Kyrielle #4

I will not sing a song of rain,

Trickling on down the open drain,

But speak of happy days and high,

Let's talk of blue of summer's sky.

Remember swallows in their flight

Darting through the dazzling light.

Flying to nests where chicks do cry.

Flit through the blue of summer's sky.

And golden corn stands tall and bright.

Fat ears bend over glowing white.

The sun is hot, the sun is dry,

Shining in the blue of summer's sky.


Kyrielle #5

There is a name I love the best,

He is to me a welcome guest.

He comes right in and sits him down,

'Tis Jesus Christ in whitest gown.

That gown it is his righteousness,

Shining garb of such brilliantness.

See it round my shoulders thrown

By Jesus Christ, that whitest gown.

Such love is hard for me to grasp.

Such sacrifice leaves me aghast.

No longer shall my face wear frown,

While I have Jesus in that whitest gown.


Kyrielle #6

He battled through the woes of life,

He took the pain and took the strife.

He trained his men for times to come,

Went to the cross, his work was done.

This gentle Lord when healing folk

Gave to them his most easy yoke.

Living among them, God's own Son

Went to the cross, his work was done.

He berated the religious

Took on the most prestigious.

For the lowly his race was run,

Went to the cross, his work was done.

In heaven above now he reigns,

Now he has washed away my stains.

Ever praised from eon to eon

No more cross now, his work is done.

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    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      I have not come across this form before, as far as I know. It reminds me of a lot of songs however. I will have to try this out, it seems to be my kind of poetry. Love your poems - Blessed