Nature’s Alka Seltzer

The April day was overcast
and I was feeling out of sorts.
Although the winter gloom had passed
the April day was overcast.
My deep despair was cured at last –
a blackbird sang in fits and starts;
the April day was overcast
and I was feeling out – of sorts.

Kim M. Russell, 4th April 2023

Image by Marco Midmore on Unsplash

For Day 4 of NaPoWriMo, we are writing triolets, an eight-line poem in which all the lines are in iambic tetramenter (for a total of eight syllables per line), and the first, fourth, and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines. This means that the poem begins and ends with the same couplet. Beyond this, there is a tight rhyme scheme (helped along by the repetition of lines) — ABaAabAB.

Triolets were in vogue among the Victorians — all those repetitions can add a sort of melancholy gravitas to a poem; however, they can also make the poem sound oddly gong-like. A playful, satirical poem, on the other hand, can be easily written in the triolet form, especially if the non-repeating lines slightly change the meaning of the repeated ones.We have been given examples by two of my favourite poets: Thomas Hardy’s ‘Birds at Winter’ and the wonderful Wendy Cope’s ‘Valentine’.


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