A Guide to Poetry #5: Verse Forms #5: Rondelet

The Story So Far

1. Foot, Metrics, Prosody and Scansion

1.1 General Overview

1.2 Anglophonic metrics

1.3 Romance languages

1.4 Classical languages

2. Verse Forms

2.1 Sestina

2.2 Villanelle

2.3 Pantoum

2.4 English Sonnet

Only a short one today.

The rondelet (also written roundelay) is a Western Medieval lyric form, French in origin and practice and a diminutive version of a rondel. It is short, consisting of one stanza, made up of seven lines. It contains a refrain (as in the pantoum, a change in punctuation is permissible), a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern. The structure is as follows:

Line 1 : A – four syllables

Line 2 : b – eight syllables

Line 3 : A – repeat of line one

Line 4 : a – eight syllables

Line 5 : b – eight syllables

Line 6 : b – eight syllables

Line 7 : A – repeat of line one

Let’s give it a go!

God Damn the Light

God damn the light:

Fucking daily, divine refrain.

God damn the light

That permeates London at night;

An amber set around my brain.

Don’t you know I have a migraine?

God damn the light.

Laurence Thompson, 12th December 2011

Closing thoughts

Easily the worst poem I’ve written over the last few days and the least fun to write, but I still like reading it back. It’s somewhere between Swans and Spike Milligan. I like having curse words in what was originally presumably a nice, sung form of Medieval French poetry.

London was chosen because it fits better than Liverpool. Also, if I was mental enough to have a favourite light pollution, it would be London’s – it has that amber glow better than anywhere else, that somehow looks both unhealthy and healthy at once.


In a more substantial post, we take a look at a truly heavyweight form and a favourite of many a spurned lover: the Italian sonnet!


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Laurence Thompson

Laurence Thompson is an English writer. He is almost certainly drunk.

6 thoughts on “A Guide to Poetry #5: Verse Forms #5: Rondelet”

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