Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Other Requirement, Isosyllabic
Another French isosyllabic form of either five or six stanzas plus an envoy. A Chanso must be very regular in structure. The same number of syllables in each line, the stanzas all the same, the envoy being like the last half of a stanza, the rhyme scheme the same, but beyond that, you get to make it up. The double ballade and double ballade supreme would both be considered to fit this form. So would any number of other variations.
Copyright © 2001-2013 by Charles L. Weatherford. All rights reserved.
Canso, Chanso, Chanson French, Occitan and Provincial love songs, made popular in 12th century Europe by the troubadours which constantly strove for originality and perfection of form. The lines between the 3 terms is blurred. The Chanson is believed to be the inspiration for the ItalianCanzone. The verse often exalted a lady love. Courtly Compliment is a sub genre of the Chanson.
The Canso, Chanso or Chanson are:
  • stanzaic, usually 5 or 6 nonce stanzas of identical pattern.
  • expected to be original in form. The metric length of the line, the number of lines in a stanza, the rhyme scheme was expected to be different from anything that had gone before.
  • often ended by an envoy or tornada structured in the same pattern as the last half of the previous stanzas. (The Occitan tornada is a dedication to a patron or friend added at the end of verse while the French envoy is a summation of the theme added to the end of the verse. )
My thanks to Mr. Weatherford, and to Ms.  Van Gorder for their fine resources.

Example Poem
Cold-cuts      (Chanso)
I planned to lunch at home today
and get away from office noise.
A hot pastrami sounds so good,
I know I would enjoy it much
and then a nap would sound okay.
I stacked thin slices pretty high
I don’t know why but thinner works;
I slathered mustard on the meat
then set the heat at one-oh-one.
It smelled so good on fresh warm rye.
I was about with great delight
to take a bite when cell-phone chimes
demanded my reluctant ear
a financier it seems was keen
to cure my future’s fiscal plight.
He was informed and spoke at length
of safety, strength ,and asset growth,
with fortune favoring the bold;
my sandwich cold he said good-bye
for like I said he spoke at length.
I heated up my meal once more
then at the door there came a knock
(a lady looking for my wife),
who for the life of me I know
I didn’t know, I stalled therefore.
Two more phone calls and one more knock,
by then the clock showed time to get
me back to join the working fold
and eat my cold repast at last-
warm lunch at home  is such a crock!
© Lawrencealot – January 22, 2014
Visual Template
This is simply a template relating to the poem above.
A poet can use any line length or meter he wants, so their can be no “correct template.”
In this case I used iambic tetrameter, interlaced rhyme, and a unique rhyme scheme.
Note.  The specifications at the top call for repetition which I have not employed.

Double Ballade Supreme

Double Ballade Supreme
Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Isosyllabic
This reminds me of the name of a pie at Bakers Square, but is actually a poem of 60 or 65 lines. It is like a ballade supreme with three extra verses that may not have the envoy. In short, it will have six verses of ababbccdcD  where the rhymes are consistent throughout and a possible envoy of ccdcD with D being a repeated refrain.
Like the ballade, double ballade, and ballade supreme, it is strictly syllabic verse of any one length. I’m sure the French preference would be alexandrines.
Copyright © 2001-2013 by Charles L. Weatherford. All rights reserved.
My Thanks to Charles for his wonderful resource at PoetryBase.
Rhyme pattern: ababbccdcD (where D indicates a refrain line)

Example Poem

The Earth was Deemed Flat  ( Double Ballade Supreme)
For twenty-something years he worked at Palomar
as staff astronomer, and published works of note: *
The Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies went far
and gained repute through-out the field.  His peers denote
some galaxies by numbers from that book and vote
thereby for his significance.  “They are a clue”,
said Arp, “these galaxies give us a means to hue
our theories of formation by what we see”.
For some entrenched, his notions were a bitter brew
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
The astrophysicists have classified a star
as artifacts of gravity alone and dote
on math based models which grow more and more bizarre.
Though Alp did not attack the fact that math hath smote
down common sense, his questions surely rocked the boat.
Institutional dogma had professed things true.
when they accepted so much math as things we “knew”.
His observations shakes today’s cosmology
His arguments required no formulas that grew
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
When Edwin Hubble’s claimed that galaxies all are
receding faster when afar, his was the quote,
the key allowing the Big Bang to be the Star.
A Doppler “Red Shift” let that theory stay afloat
for now expansion could be measured so they wrote,
and thus defined the Universe’s birth- in their view.
Though later Hubble wrote of doubts, I will tell you
It came too late; the “Law” was a fait accompli.
And only now are new tools convincing a few
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
At Palomar his ‘scope-time was completely barred
so those involved in relevance might well promote
projects that fit. Arp soon bid them an au revoir.
As others now pick up the cause and they devote
themselves to validation, common sense and denote
“experimental observation”, there’ll accrue
an ever larger group that knows Big Bang is through.
That stars are nuclear was ever but theory
and models never worked; the EU theory grew
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
The standard model, grows noetic and bizarre
as better tools disprove assumptions made. They bloat
their models with new constants and reset the bar
as though inventiveness conveys the right to gloat.
The established names hold true science by the throat
but human history keeps me from being blue,
they sought to block ideas of Galileo too
and Arp’s experience repeats that history.
They’re ticketed to ride on notions now untrue
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
Since plasma actions can be seen in a Bell-jar
and gravity’s known force is weak and so remote
some looked to other forces to create a star.
At ten to the thirty-ninth, (and that is no misquote),
times stronger than the force of G, where G denotes
the gravity’s know force, it’s easy to construe
an magnetic role* shown a model to review.
The Birkland currents fill the gap satisfactorily.
Free-thinkers deem those forces lie in their purview
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
The geocentric folks took plenty time to stew
and time will pass before Big Bangers all come to.
Since faith’s replaced deduction, truth’s now a decree
but that will change; there’ll be an academic coup,
for Alton Harp displayed what science ought to be.
© Lawrencealot – January 29, 2014
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  • DixdeuxFrench for ten-two, is illustrated by Anthony Fusco in Caulkins’ Handbook on Haiku and Other Form Poems, 1970 . . . It appears to have developed as an alternative to the Haiku.The Dixdeux is:
    • written in any number of tercets. When written in more than one tercet, L3 becomes a refrain.
    • syllabic, with 10/10/2 syllables per line.
    • is unrhymed.
    • titled, unlike the haiku.
    • ————– Hot Topic by Judi Van Gorderan unopened coke sits in closed up truck
      outside the summer temperature rises
      ————– KABOOM!
      sticky brown liquid spatters upholstery
      meticulous owner finds mess inside
      ————– KABOOM!
Thanks to Judi Van Gorder of PMO for reseacrhing this.
My Attempt
Thanksgiving Day Football      (Dixdeux)
The aroma of turkey, panoply
of pies, threaten little distraction to
The game.
Living room furniture placed horseshoe style
in front wide-screen keeping kids away from
The game.
© Lawrencealot – November 27, 2013


The lai is a form of French origin, even more ancient than the virelai ancien (which evolved from it). It is not to be confused with the Breton lay,  a quite different form of which Chaucer‘s Franklin’s Tale is an example; or the lay, a term sometimes used for a short historical ballad, such Sir Walter Scott‘s Lay of the Last Minstrel; or with the word lay used simply to mean a song. 
Having ensured your total lack of confusion, let me tell you what the lai actually is. It’s like a slimmed-down virelai ancien, with the stanzas not linked by rhyme. Here’s one:
Lai of the Cow
The praises I sing
Of that wondrous thing
The cow.
Let the rafters ring!
My Muse shall take wing,
I vow.Foods our cattle bring
Are fit for a king,
And how!
As white as can be,
The smooth quality
Of silk,
The epitome
Of maternity,
Its milk.You have to agree
You never will see
Its ilk.
For an honoured guest
Save the very best:
The cream.
While those not so blest
Make do with the rest,
And dream.
So nice to digest,
That when it’s suppressed,
Folk scream!You can churn milk, so
It becomes yellow
What could beat that? Oh,
Don’t scoff in that low
I will not forgo
Such pleasure; I’m no
Or you cheddar it.
Thus you make a bit
Of cheese,
A prerequisite
For one exquisite
Good wheeze:
Let’s get the grill lit
And make Welsh rarebit.
Yes please!
Our bovine-sourced feast,
Has it still not ceased?
Good grief!
No, last but not least,
Its flesh when deceased:
The beef.
The worth of this beast
Could not be increased,
In brief.
The syllable count in each triplet of lines is 5, 5, 2, and each triplet rhymes aab. The number of such triplets must be the same in each stanza, and at least two. To assert my virility, I chose to use three. According to the definition I have used, all the triplets within a stanza must use the same rhymes – so in this example the rhyming scheme for each stanza is aabaabaab
However, I have in front of me a poem by Paul Verlaine – it’s called Chanson d’Automne – which has lines the right length for a lai, but stanzas that rhyme aabccb. So is it a lai? I don’t know, but it’s a far better poem than mine, which is the important thing. 
As with many of these old forms, the effort involved in writing one is usually out of all proportion to the worth of the finished poem. But don’t let me talk you out of it!
Thanks to Bob Newman, for the above.  His site is a wonderful and reliable resource.

Related Forms: KyrielleDouble Refrain KyrielleLaiLai Nouveau, Viralai Ancien, Viralai, Virelet

Example Poem
Lai Mistletoe About
Hang the mistletoe
tie it with a bow
then wait.
You’re aware, I know
You just use it though
for bait.
It’s most apropro
how it works, with no
© Lawrencealot – November  21, 2013
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The rondeau is a syllabic French construct of three verses: a quintet, quatrain, and sestet. The lines are in two lengths, the main length and the refrain. The refrain is the first few words of the first line.

1. The form is created from three stanzas. A quintet, a quatrain and a sestet.
2. The first half of the first line in the quintet forms a refrain line. This refrain is used for lines 9 and 15.
3. The quintet has a rhyme scheme of b-b-c-c-b.
4. The quatrain has a rhyme scheme of b-b-c-A, where A is the refrain drawn from the first half of the first line of the poem.
5. The sestet is rhymed b-b-c-c-b-A, where A is again the refrain line.
6. Being a French form the meter is accentual syllabic. 
The refrain line is usually 4 syllables or two verse feet.

Many Thanks to Ben Johnson, a most useful resource. I have used his clear  version of specifications above.

While I have used iambic pentameter below, perhaps the most well know rondeau, “In Flanders Field” by John McCrea, is written in iambic tetrameter.

My Example

I Need a Boy 

I need a boy, to hold and play with me.

Can I be yours?  I have no family.
I’ll come to you and love you ev’ry day .
I’ll mind you well and do just what you say.
Just hold and hug  and take good care of me.

I’ll learn so quickly.  Teach me where to pee.
I’ll let you teach me tricks, – just wait you’ll see.
I’ll mend your heart, and take your grief away.
I need a boy.

They came together hearing silent plea.
The years went by, and all folks would agree
Their  special love was  heaven sent  that day.
T he boy was glad he heard  that puppy say
Without the need for words, a simple plea –
I need a boy.

© Lawrencealot April 1, 2012

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rondel is a verse form originating in French lyrical poetry, later used in the verse of other languages as well, such as English and Romanian. It is a variation of the rondeau consisting of two quatrains followed by a quintet (13 lines total) or a sestet (14 lines total). The rondel was invented in the 14th century, and is arguably better suited to the French language than to English. It is not to be confused with the roundel, a similar verse form with repeating refrain.
The first two lines of the first stanza are refrains, repeating as the last two lines of the second stanza and the third stanza. (Alternately, only the first line is repeated at the end of the final stanza). For instance, if A and B are the refrains, a rondel will have a rhyme scheme of ABba abAB abbaA(B)
The meter is open, but typically has eight syllables.
A French form consisting of 13 lines: two quatrains and a quintet,**
rhyming as follows: ABba abAB abbaA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats.
**Author’s note or two quatrains and a SESTET if the two refrain option is chosen.
Visual Template  –  Tetrameter Option


The Rondine is a little seen shortened version of the Rondeau dating back to at least the 16th century. 
The elements of the Rondine are:
1. a poem in 12 lines made up of a quatrain, a tercet and ending in a quintet.
2. syllabic 8 syllables per line accept L7 and L12 which are 4 syllables each.
3. In English metered, most often iambic tetrameter except the refrain which is iambic dimeter.
4. composed with a refrain repeated from the opening phrase of the poem, rentrement.
5. rhymed, using only 2 rhymes except for the refrain being unrhymed, rhyme scheme abba,abR, abbaR
(R being the refrain)

Poetry Magnum Opus

My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the fine resource above.

NOTE: The rhyme may be sight rhyme, slant rhyme, or assonance.
ALSO NOTE: This form is found frequently WITH MORE than EIGHT syllables, as in the example given on the page quoted below.

This is another very neglected and a very challenging poetry form. It consists of two stanzas, a septet (7 lines), and a quintet (5 lines), making the poem a total of 12 lines. There is a refrain which mimics the first phrase of the first line. R.

The Rondine has a rhyme scheme of,

(R a). b. b. a. a. b. R….a. b. b. a. R.

The meter is open with the French style and not bound by a rhyming pattern and is a more light and buoyant even “flashy” form of poetry which uses short lines, whereas the English is more formal and uses Tetrameter or Pentameter.

Here is an example by Wesli Court.

The Poets Garret

My Example

Write a Rondine

Here’s my Rondine, my very first.
With practice I’ll get better yet.
There is not much I should forget.
The rhymes are decently dispersed.
Find five alike, then dive headfirst.
Now have I, your interest whet?
Here’s my Rondine.

Choose words so refrain’s not coerced.
It ties the poem don’t forget,
from start to end refrain’s abet
a singularity well versed.
Here’s my Rondine.  

© Lawrencealot – April 2012


The Rondelet (or roundelay) is a brief French form of poetry. It consists of one stanza, made up of seven lines. It contains a refrain, a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern.
The word is the diminutive of rondel, a similar, longer verse form. This is the basic structure:
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
The refrained lines should contain the same words, however substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines has been common.
AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I Take exception to Wikipeia’s inclusion of “Roundelay” as a synonym.
It is a completely different form to be documented in this blog.  Since I took exception, I made a change to the Wikipedia Entry.
The Rondelet is a French form consisting of a single septet with two rhymes and one refrain: AbAabbA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats. The refrain is written in tetra-syllabic or dimeter and the other lines are twice as long – octasyllabic or tetrameter.
Note the Shadowpoetry allows line-length variance.
The Rondelet  is a brief French form of poetry. It consists of one stanza, made up of seven lines. It contains a refrain, a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern.
The word is the diminutive of rondel, a similar, longer verse form. This is the basic structure:
Syllabic    4/8/4/8/8/8/4
Rhymed  AbAabbA
Where A is the refrain
The refrained lines should contain the same words, however substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines has been common.

Related forms: Dryden’s Roundelay, RondeletRoundelayTermelay

Example PoemWrite a RondeletA Rondelet.
Four lines tetrameter should be.
A Rondelet.
Dimeter for the other three.
Trochees or iambs; up to thee.
This simple template sets you free.
A Rondelet.

Visual Template


Like so many other French forms, the Retourne is all about repetition. It contains four quatrains and each line has eight syllables.
(16 lines, 8/8/8/8)
The trick is that the first stanza’s second line must also be the second stanza’s first line, the first stanza’s third line is the third stanza’s first, and the first stanza’s fourth line is the fourth stanza’s first.
Retournes do not have to rhyme. (rhyme optional)
Example Poem
I’d loved her only all my life.
She found another to her taste.
She left me– I now have no wife.
New city, no friends; joys erased.
She found another to her taste.
I begged, pleaded, asked her to stay
“I miss you, come back! what a waste,
keeping your lover is okay.”
She left me– I now have no wife.
Anquish bestirred me. I tried drink.
But quit to give my boys a life.
Work, feed the boys, cry, try to think.
New city, no friends; joys erased.
It took a long while, ‘ere I tried
to date– I was feeling disgraced
How could I ever lose my bride?
© Lawrencealot – April, 2012
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Summary: Two accepted forms:
Eight lines:    Rhyming  ababcdcd
or Ten Lines:  Rhyming ababbccdcd
METER:  Not required; Classic meter customary.
A French form popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, it is a single
stanza of 8 or 10 lines (10 being more common), with 8 or 10 syllables
in each line (each line being of the same length). A classic meter is
normally used, e.g. iambic pentameter.
The rhyme scheme is ababcdcd, or ababbccdcd.
Below is an 8 stanza iambic tetrameter example.
Example Poem
Nighttime Magic
Nighttime Magic
Dark dandy finely cloaked does walk
with daunting cold disdain for some
at night presuming he can shock
and render still those thieves so dumb
as to try force against this man.
His staff benevolent, it’s said,
in daytime will foil nighttime plan
against him; leaving fools quite dead.
© Lawrencealot – April 2, 2012
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