Rondel Prime Sonnet

French Sonnet or Rondel Prime is simply a Rondel with an second refrain added to the end of the poem. This verse form unlike most sonnets is usually syllabic. The sonnet was introduced to France in the 16th century by Clemont Marot (?-1544).

The defining features of the Rondel Prime or French Sonnet are:
• an octave made up of 2 quatrains followed by a sestet.
• isosyllabic, the classic French sonnet is written in Alexandrine lines but this sonnet form can also be found in 8 syllable lines or the lines can be an number of syllables as long as the measure is consistent throughout the poem. In English it is found written in iambic pentameter or Alexandrine lines.
• rhymed ABba abAB abbaAB, A and B being refrains.
• composed with 2 refrains. L1 is repeated in L7 and L13, L2 is repeated in L8 and L14.
• composed with a pivot or turn somewhere after L8.

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Example Poem:

Reflecting             (Rondel Prime Sonnet)

When desolation grabs your heart and forces tears
Let nature speak, reminding you not all is known.
When you, so young were taken to the funeral biers
my faith was shattered; all beliefs and hopes were thrown

away.  I felt no comfort thinking heaven’s spheres
could somehow recompense for earthly love we’d grown.
When desolation grabs your heart and forces tears
Let nature speak reminding you not all is known.

I went to our lagoon, our waterfall appears
today to look like you, and hope renewed is sown
into my soul.  We lived and loved! This thought coheres.
That truly shines. Remember we are just on loan.
When desolation grabs your heart and forces tears
Let nature speak reminding you not all is known.

© Lawrencealot – November 14, 2012

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French Sonnet

Historically, the French sonnet appears sometime after the Italian sonnet
and was likely the inspiration for the English sonnet form.
It uses fourteen lines of Alexandrine meter (iambic hexameter),
six iambs, twelve syllables per line)

Like the Italian and the English it has an octave comprising two quatrains,
but unlike the Italian and like the English it has a sestet of a couplet and a quatrain.
It is possible that the English sonnet was derived from the French not the Italian.

The difference being that the English grouped the Quatrains together
and turned (Volta) with a couplet the last two lines,
but the French turned with the sestet and used the quatrain to close.

The form has exactly the same quatrain as the Petrarch – a.b.b.a…a.b.b.a.
The sestet begins with a couplet – c.c., but like the Italian sestet, we have a choice of quatrains to play with. – d. e. e. d.
or more French, – d. c. c. d.
or more English – d. e. d. e

abba abba ccdeed
abba abba ccdccd
abba abba ccdede

Example Poem:

Tell Me of Your Anger in Whispers (French Sonnet)

Should you be moved at times to speak in anger, dear,
I only ask that first you test your words alone.
Because if anger stems from blunders of my own
I’m sure you’ll want to be assured your meaning’s clear.

Remember words once thrown will travel like a spear
and meanings take on color weighed much by tone.
So package words with giggles not with growl or groan
and then the thoughts that form those words might disappear.
Delay those words, re-think, and then reformulate.
and later will be your time to pontificate.

I stumble much to often; you are usually right.
Is it really essential now that blame be found,
or can our words proceed toward a common ground?
My dear, use whispers closely to me late at night.

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