Chante Fable – Reference

Since according to my search, there remains only one surviving example of this 13th Century French form,  I will provide you with the commentary of my favorite extant sources, and a link to that actual work. 





A french form that can’t make up its mind whether to be verse or prose. More seriously, it is a romance that alternates between the two.




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My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.

Chante Fable is a medieval French drama composed with alternate sections of verse and prose. It was originally meant to be performed by two jongleurs, the verse was sung, the prose spoken.

Chante Fable verse is:
• in sections alternating verse with prose.framed at the poet’s discretion with no specific number of lines.
• syllabic, usually 7 syllable lines and the strophe ending with a line of 4 syllables.
• rhymed using assonance within the line in all but the last line.

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My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

This is far too ambitious an undertaking for me to endeavor to create an example.

Below is apparently the only one surviving example of this form from the early 13th century.

Rondeau Prime

• The Rondeau Prime is a short variation of the Rondeau originating in 13th century France. It allows more rhyme than the Rondeau, but incorporates its defining feature of the integration of the rentrement. (opening phrase of the first line which is repeated as a refrain.)
The Rondeau Prime is:
○ in French syllabic, in English tends to be iambic meter, line length is optional as long as the lines are relatively equal, with the exception of the shorter rentrement.
○ 12 lines, made up of a septet (7 lines) followed by a cinquain (5 lines).
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme abbccbR abbaR, R being the rentrement.

Wind on the Terrace by Judi Van Gorder7-12-05

A leaf in the wind taps the pane,
reminding me that you have gone.
Although my busy days move on,
it is small moments that I miss,
a gesture, glance, a touch, a kiss.
You went away before the dawn,
a leaf in the wind.

I watch the clouds bring in the rain,
the tears that fall and splash upon
the terrace of a time withdrawn,
the sound repeating your refrain,
a leaf in the wind.


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Rondeau Prime
Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement
Description: Two-part French form that is isosyllabic except for the shorter refrains. The refrain is the first part of the first line.
Origin: French
Schematic: (Ra)bbaabR abbaR

R = refrain and first part of first line.
Line/Poem Length: 12

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Specifications restated, The Rondeau Prime is:
A 12 line poem of French origin, (variation of the Rondeau)
Syllabic in French, often iambic in English
Isosyllabic lines, except for the shorter refrain lines
Rhyme Scheme: (Ra)bbaabR abbaR,
where R is the first part of the first line and becomes the refrain.

My example

If Pigs Could Fly (Form: Rondeau Prime)

If pigs could fly men would have had
another bacon source of course
and fought their wars on pig and horse,
and knights courting their maidens fair
would routinely arrive by air
(and no-fly zones would be in force),
if pigs could fly.

Demand for goats would rise a tad
as farmers would of course endorse
a new refuse disposal source.
My backyard mud-hole would be rad
if pigs could fly.

© Lawrencealot – January 18, 2015

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Rondeau Prime

Onzain or Onzijn

• The Onzain (French) or Onzijn (Dutch onze means eleven} is an invented form, the Dutch version of which is attributed to a Drs. P. The form apparently originated in France and this is all I could find about the French version of the form. The verse form is pretty simple, it is all about the number eleven.

The Onzain or Onzijn is:
○ a poem in eleven lines.
○ syllabic, each line is eleven syllables.
○ rhymed, the Dutch rhyme scheme is a-b-c-b-c-d-c-d-a-e-e, (I can only guess that the French rhyme scheme may be different since this scheme was specified as the Dutch version.)

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11 Lines, Isosyllabic: 11 syllables per line.  Rhymed: abcbcbcdcdee

My example



Gigafactory (Form: Onzain or Onzijn)

When a visionary moves into your town
it is reason to rejoice, and states compete
for the future good his industries will bring.
The new Gigafactory promise rings so sweet
(to make batteries here, versus in Beijing)
that the land required was offered Tesla’s boss.
As with quid quo pro, for almost anything
a few railed against what they supposed was cost.
But while cost is lost, investment’s not. A crown
has a value which exceeds by far its price.
I for one applaud my taxes use. It’s nice!

© Lawrencealot – Jan 1, 2015

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Note:  There is no mandated meter for this form.

Onzain or Onzijn


Descort, Occitan – (Old French= discordant), is a genre of poetry that is written with differing verse forms utilized from strophe to strophe. Each strophe is structured in a minimum of 2 elements, the verse forms chosen can be recognized verse or nonce forms. Elements such as line number, meter, rhyme, and language are all factors.

Discordant Thoughts by Judi Van Gorder

“Time in a bottle”
is a phrase racing
through my brain
for days.

If we could truly capture time
and stuff it into hollow glass
then mount it in a frame of brass,
I think it might just be a crime.

What would now become?
Would the moment pass?
Why is this just dumb?

all years, months and days
winter, spring, summer and fall
“time in a bottle”

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My example

Enchanting Permitted

Enchanting Permitted (Descort)

I can see, hear, and touch you in my heart.
I can sense clearly darling, you’re a tart.

Although you’re armed, and pretty by the way,
I know you’ve charmed a kitty that protects.
He’ll let no beast or human call you prey
He’ll let you play with those that he respects.

I have been charmed, I am disarmed, I’m not alarmed.
I can not tell If there’s a spell you’ve cast so well
but should that be it’s fine with me for then I’ll see
the chosen view as meant by you which I’ll hold true.

© Lawrencealot – November 30, 2014


Balada (France) is a less popular version and differs from the Dansa or Balatta in that it is more a genre than a stanzaic form. The only consistent requirements being that the verse be lyrical and carry a “persistent” refrain. (The refrain can be more than one line.) From there the frame varies at the discretion of the poet. However the NPEOPP suggests that the first line of the refrain is repeated after the 1st line and sometimes 2nd line of each stanza.

The Balada is:
• stanzaic, often written in 3 stanzas (at least 5 lines each) of consistent number of lines (3 quintains, 3 sixains, 3 octaves etc.)Occasionally you may find more than 3 stanzas in the poem.
• Sometimes written with a mote which then serves as a refrain.
• the lines have no set meter. However during the period from which these verse forms emerged, quantitative or syllabic meters were most often present in the verse of these regions. The dominant Occitan meter was hexasyllabic (6 syllable) lines and the dominant Italian meter was the heptasyllabic (7 syllable) lines with the primary accent on the 6th syllable.
• rhymed, when written with a mote and 3 quintains, rhyme scheme AbAbaA bAbaA bAbaA A being the refrain.
• written with a “persistent” refrain, often at L2, sometimes L4 and the last line of each stanza. 

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My Example

Dumb Them Down (Balada)

Don’t let them learn too much,
just dumb them down in school.
Don’t let them learn too much,
they’re easier to fool.
Don’t let them learn too much.

Get them before pre-school.
Don’t let them learn too much.
Indoctrination’s cool; 
they’ll need us for a crutch.
Don’t let them learn too much.

Do not allow home-school,
Don’t let them learn too much.
Elites must not lose rule,
Send them to war and such,
Don’t let them learn too much.

© Lawrencealot – November 12, 2014

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This template is iambic, but meter is NOT mandated.



Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Isosyllabic, Simple
Description: A nine-lined rhymed poem. It is isosyllabic, and being French, goes well with Alexandrines.
Origin: French
Schematic: aabbccabc
Rhythm/Stanza Length: 9
Line/Poem Length:          9

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My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.


The Trine is a verse form which apparently originated in France and is described at Poetry Base. Trine is Anglo-French meaning “three each” and in astronomy it is three planets 120 degrees adjacent to each other forming an equilateral triangle.

The Trine is:
• a poem in 9 lines made up of 3 rhymed couplets followed by a tercet.
• isosyllabic, (same syllable count), using the French Heroic line, the Alexandrine, would be appropriate but I don’t think it is a prerequisite. (I use 9 syllable lines in the example below.)
• rhymed, rhyme scheme a a b b c c a b c.

Trifling Trinity by Judi Van Gorder

High pitch chatter comes out of the dark,
a racing rat skitters through the park.
On his tail a dragon breathing fire 
chasing the rodent into a briar.
While up in a palm a monkey cheered
and clapped his hands thinking nothing weird.
This gay game they play I must remark,
for some is nothing to aspire,
though for this three it’s fun commandeered.

One trine in Chinese Astrology is the Rat, the Dragon and the Monkey. The Trine is also the name of a popular Video Game, although I have no idea what the theme of the game is.

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My example

Rhetorical Answers (Trine)

“If all the world is but a stage,”
I asked a wise and wizened sage,
“where will the audiences sit?”
and one more question ‘fore I quit,
as I assume you’re not adverse,
Do backwards poets write inverse?”
“Rhetorical requests engage,
and spurs one to access one’s wit,
I’ve heard some good, some bad, some worse.”

© Lawrencealot – August 26, 2014

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Lai Nouveau

Lai Nouveau
Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Stanzaic
Description: Related to the Lai, the Lai Nouveau has a similar pattern, but uses the first two “a” rhymes as refrains in subsequent verses, much like the villanelle. The lai nouveau always ends with the first two lines reversed. It can be any number of stanzas.
Origin: French
Schematic: Sample four stanza scematic:


xb or xc
xb or xc

xb or xd
xb or xd

xb or xe
xb or xe
Rhythm/Stanza Length: 8

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Lai Nouveau, a short narrative verse form, is a shortened version of the Lai.

The Lai Nouveau is:
• an octave, 8 lines made up of 2 tercets followed by a rhymed couplet.
• syllabic, syllables per line, 5-5-2-5-5-2-5-5.
• rhymed aabaabaa

Journey by Mike Monteuil 26 March 2006

Spring days are ahead;
young ones to be fed.
I am to be led,
despite what is said.
Let lapse
hate, the journey’s wed
to our minds instead.

Lai Nouveau by Mike Montreuil 8 April 2006

Do not wander far,
it’s all too bizarre,
my friend.
A late morning star
lights our motorcar;
to a life afar
paintings by Renoir.

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My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Related Forms: Kyrielle, Double Refrain Kyrielle, Lai, Lai Nouveau, Viralai Ancien, Viralai, Virelet

My example poem

Twilight Insight

Twilight Insight (Lai Nouveau)

Doesn’t it seem right?
Thoughts explode at night
by diminished sight
of the daily blight
by those we’d indict-
greedy men with spite.

Pinnacles of light
standing tall and bright
epics man may write
in actions despite
their quest
seeking greater height.
Doesn’t it seem right?

Alone at twilight
many minds delight
in dreams
ere sleep is in sight
ether will invite
thought streams
common and polite.
Thoughts explode at night.

Men when not uptight
find it quite alright
to share
Idea’s that excite
everyone and fight
Thoughts explode at night.
Doesn’t it seem right?

© Lawrencealot – August 11, 2014

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Lai Nouveau

Bref Double

Bref Double
Structure, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Isosyllabic
A fourteen-line French form. Like many French forms, the rules are a bit complex. It is composed of 3 quatrains and a couplet, all isosyllabic. It has three rhymes: a, b, and c. It has five lines that are not part of the rhyme scheme. The c rhyme ends each quatrain. The a and b rhymes are found twice each somewhere within the three quatrains and once in the couplet.
Have fun; it’s French.
Some sample rhyme schemes would be:
abxc abxc xxxc ab,
xaxc xbxc xbac ba,
xabc xaxc xbxc ab,
(abxcabxcxxxcab, xaxcxbxcxbacba, xabcxaxcxbxcab) )(14 lines)
Rhythm/Stanza Length:
Line/Poem Length:
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My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his fine Poetrybase resource.

My example poem

A Merchant Mariner     (Bref Double)

A soliloquy mumbled while aboard a ship
addressed issues encountered by conscripted men:
the comforts found in surroundings I’d known, no thoughts
of danger real or imagined- not everyday.

With thoughts of carnality, adventure, hardship,
rewards of sharing bounty, succeeding and then
returning home after I’ve traveled, unraveled
the wonderful mystr’ies that might hold me in sway.

The captain, querulous, demands most constant yield
from every man. The old first  mate so hates the king
he wrings more than mere duty from men on his watch.
The nation we’re helping will repay us some day.

I came home a hero. It was quite a long trip.
But now that those days are passed, I’d do it again.

© Lawrencealot – April 18, 2014

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The dansa is an Occitan verse form i.e. it’s from the troubadour territory of southern France. All the verses except the first are the same: they rhyme aabb with the last line a repeated refrain. The first verse has five lines, and consists of the refrain followed by four lines similar to all the other verses. No particular metre is essential, but Skelton says six-syllable lines are common in Occitan verse, so that’s what I used.
A Load of Rot
Mulching is the future!
Let those clippings lie there,
Proving how much you care.
For lawns needing nurture,
Mulching is the future.
Don’t clear up that cut grass!
Lie down; let the urge pass.
Be at one with nature –
Mulching is the future.
You need no-one’s pardon;
This is your own garden.
For your private pasture,
Mulching is the future.
Your leisure is well-earned.
Relax; don’t be concerned.
Look, see the big picture:
Mulching is the future.
What you leave will decay.
It will provide one day
Nutrients and moisture.
Mulching is the future.
Don’t get up; better far
To stay right where you are.
As with any creature,
Mulching is your future.

I saw a lawnmower on sale with the slogan “Mulching is the future”I found it a catchy slogan but a depressing thought. Still, there had to be a poem in it… It was just a question of finding a suitable verse form. I think the dansa was a fair choice.
I cheated slightly by altering one word in the final repetition of the refrain.  Poetic licence.
Thanks to Bob Newman for his wonderful Volecentral resource site.

My example poem-
Since Bob used a slogan, I did too.  Though meter optional, I chose iambic trimeter.
Intrigue     (Dansa)

Does she? Or doesn’t she?

If you but only knew.
Instead you have no clue.
So what is it to be?
Does she? Or doesn’t she?
A guy, you can just ask,
it’s such a simple task
It can’t sound like a plea,
Does she? Or doesn’t she?

Why should you really care
what color is her hair.
But when it comes to me,
Does she? Or doesn’t she?

© Lawrencealot – April 12, 2014

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Rimas Dissolutas

This was originally a French form
 The form is isosyllabic  (all lines have the same number of syllables)
Meter optional
Line length optional
There is no stanza length requirement
There is no rhyming permitted within a stanza.
Each stanza must be like each other stanza
(same number of syllables, meter if any ,line length)
Line n in each stanza must rhyme with the same line in each other stanza. (External Rhyme)
Other sources:**************************************************
The Rimas Dissolutas is a French troubadouric verse (12th-13th centuries) in which unrhymed stanzas rhyme line by line with all of the other stanzas. This was a departure from the strict rhyme schemes of the day. The rhyme is there but it is more subtle.
The Rimas Dissolutas is:
  • stanzaic, written in any # of uniform length stanzas, all quatrains or all tercets or all sixains etc.
  • in keeping with most old French forms the verse is syllabic. One site suggests it is isosyllabic meaning all lines have the same number syllables, number of syllables at the discretion of the poet.
  • unrhymed lines within the stanza.
  • rhymed lines between stanzas.
  • sometimes written with an envoi which would be half the number of lines of the stanzas using the rhyme of the later lines of the stanzas.If the poem was written in sixains the rhyme would look like this:
Stanza 1
x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
x x x x x e
Add’l Stanzas
x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
x x x x x e
x x x x x c
x x x x x d
Thanks to Ms.  Van Gorder for the find PMO resorce.
Rimas Dissolutas (Troubadouric song)
I was delighted to discover recently that this was recognised – in some quarters, anyway – as a standard form, and had a name. In rimas dissolutas, the stanzas are all similar, and all use the same rhymes. The first lines all rhyme with each other, the second lines all rhyme with each other, and so on. These are all external rhymes; there are no rhymes between lines in the same stanza. 
The blessed Malcovati calls this form the troubadouric song, giving it as the only member of a category of open forms he calls coblas unissonantis (a Provençal term which he assures us is in common use). It is normal, he tells us, for there to be an envoi, shorter than the other stanzas but rhyming with the latter part of them.
Thanks to Bob Newman for the Wonderful Resource Site.
Example Poe
Groceries    (Rimas  Dissolutas)


We touch and kiss and hold and hug,
and work to earn our daily bread.
Our foodstuff’s ready in the store –
our meat our milk our wines our cake.
A small bird looking for a bug
about to be a meal instead
we breed to fatten, kill, and more
are we more proper than the snake?
© Lawrencealot – February 7, 2014

Picture credit: google images, rights belong to photographer.

Her is a visual template that just happened to choose
Iambic tetrameter quatrains.