Structure, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Stanzaic
An eight-line stanzaic form with rhyme of abbaabba or abbacddc. No requirements on meter or length. The Italian octave is a subgenre of this.
abbaabba or abbacddc
My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his fine Poetrybase resource.
Brace Octave ——————————————
The Brace Octave has its roots in music. The brace is the wavey symbol that joins 2 staffs of music, indicating that both scores are played simultaneously. The verse form referred to as the Brace Octave is a lyrical blend of meter and rhyme, the rhyme scheme almost taking the shape of the brace. It could even be said that the octave itself acts as a brace joining two envelope quatrains.
The Brace Octave is:
- stanzaic, written in any number of octaves (8 lines) made up of 2 envelope quatrains. When writing more than one octave, even numbered stanzas grouped in twos seems to fit best with the venue of the form.
- metric, iambic tetrameter. Some sources indicate no meter necessary but given the musical nature of the verse, it seems to me measured lines are appropriate if not a prerequisite. The best known poem utilizing the Brace Octave is Two Songs from a Play by W.B. Yeats which is written in iambic tetrameter so I guess Mr. Yeats agrees with me.
- rhymed, with an envelope rhyme scheme abbacddc (see it does sort of look like a brace lying down.)
Here is William Butler Yeats’ poem which was published in his book The Towerin 1928. There is a footnote from Yeats “These songs were sung by musicians in my play Resurrection.”
I saw a staring virgin stand
Where holy Dionysus died,
And tear the heart out of his side.
And lay the heart upon her hand
And bear that beating heart away;
Of Magnus Annus at the spring,
And then did all the Muses sing
As though God’s death were but a play.
Another Troy must rise and set,
Another lineage feed the crow,
Another Argo’s painted prow
Drive to a flashier bauble yet.
The Roman Empire stood appalled:
It dropped the reins of peace and war
When that fierce virgin and her Star
Out of the fabulous darkness called.
In pity for man’s darkening thought
He walked that room and issued thence
In Galilean turbulence;
The Babylonian starlight brought
A fabulous, formless darkness in;
Odour of blood when Christ was slain
Made all platonic tolerance vain
And vain all Doric discipline.
Everything that man esteems
Endures a moment or a day.
Love’s pleasure drives his love away,
The painter’s brush consumes his dreams;
The herald’s cry, the soldier’s tread
Exhaust his glory and his might:
Whatever flames upon the night
Man’s own resinous heart has fed.
My thanks to Judy Van Gorder from PMO for the above. I
tend to agree with her conceptually about the meter and line length, but many do not. Below is a poem that strays from isosyllabic lines and abandons consistent meter.
~Love Is Not Just A State Of Mind~
Love is a very beautiful feeling
Can make you sappy or happy
And at times can give you healing
Sometimes makes us so unhappy
You reach the stars or hit the ceiling
Emotions makes us sad or happy
Love is not just a state of mind
For in your heart love you can find
Dorian Petersen Potter
My example poem
Short Shrift (Brace Octave)
I tell ya friend
it’s quite okay
to write this way
or else append
sounds to extend
the word array
with more to say
from start to end.
© Lawrencealot – April 20, 2014
Although I do believe that more pleasant poetry results from utilizing meter and a consistent line length of iambic tetrameter or longer, I have to allow any octave using envelope rhyme to be tagged with this name.