Cueca Chilena

There seems to be not much around about this form, which I discovered many moons ago and made a quick note of.  I will transcribe from my notes as I’ve found not one jot about it online.  Cueca is also the national dance of Chile, although sometimes it is accompanied by song.  My knowledge of Spanish doesn’t stretch to commenting on whether the National folk songs follow this form.  The only poets I know from Chile are Neruda – who if he wrote a Cueca I don’t know it –  and Nicanor Parra whose work is all about colloquial and informal arrangements so I can guarantee it isn’t a style for him.  Still the ‘yes’ in the fifth line kind of makes it feel colloquial to me.  When I’ve used this form I’ve written it quite relaxed.  I enjoy the short lines, the unconventional rhythm.

So, the poem my notes allude to is created thus: 8 lines long, with multiple stanzas (verses).  the fifth line is a repeat of the fourth line with the addition of the word ‘yes’ at the beginning.   It’s influenced by the Spanish Seguidilla poem which will come at some stage in the project.  The rhyme goes A-B-C-B-B-D-E-D where each letter represents a certain rhyming sound at the end of a line, and the repeated letter shows where the next rhyme comes.

Remember you can continue for as many stanzas as you please.


I spent New Year’s Eve with singing boys
Three nights before we parted
Shouting rebel songs to Belfast’s streets
And you were so light hearted
yes, and you were so light hearted –
Whilst I felt terribly abandoned
In someone’s kitchen making tea
As the New-Years sky slowly brightened.

Pasted from with thanks.

Specifications restated (as deduced.)
The Cueca Chilena is:
Origin: Chile, known primarily as a dance.
Stanzaic, consisting of any number of 8 line stanzas.
Syllabic: 9/7/9/7/8/9/9/9
Rhymed: Rhyme pattern: abcBBded
Refrained: The 4th line, which should be end stopped is repeated in line 5.
Formulaic: The word, “yes” is inserted as the first word in line 5.

My Example
(Form: Cueca Chilena)
The Girl in the Cape

The Girl in the Cape

As symbol of love – how bright our moon,
yet that’s from reflected light.
More like the sun, you are radiant —
from within springs your delight.
Yes, from within springs your delight.
No cosmetics need you ever wear.
Your natural light would amplify
the beauty of flowers in your hair.

© Lawrencealot – January 21, 2015

Visual Template
Cueca Chilena
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