Friday, June 29, 2007

Beach Tritina

Rain, Sea, Sand

Mist rises up the beach at the edge of rain.
Surf fingers draw long scrolls of foam from the sea.
Three friends come from the city to walk across the sand.

It’s no mystery why they want to bury their toes in the sand,
Why they will drive for hours in the rain,
Why they are drawn to the sea.

Eyes fixed on the curling edge of a bottle green sea,
These three walk toward the surf over the shell-strewn sand,
Believing the sky will lighten, believing the end of rain.

They stand on the sand in the rain, staring longingly at the sea.

-Andromeda Jazmon
June 2007


I wrote this tritina poem after our day at the beach last week. I learned about the poetic form "tritina" from Nancie Atwell's book Lessons that Change Writers. She explains, "The name "tritina" comes from the latin word for "three". It is a repetative form of poetry that consists of three stanzas plus an envoy." Each line of the poem ends with one of three chosen theme words; in this case they are rain, sea, and sand. They go in a rotating order through the three stanzas - 1 2 3, 3 1 2, 2 3 1 - with the last line including all three words.

Marie Ponsot developed the tritina as a varient of the sestina, a more complicated form involving 39 lines with repeating end words. Here's a form for a lesson by Helen Frost on sestinas and tritinas.

The poetry round-up is at Shaken and Stirred today. Click over there and read more poetry.


Saints and Spinners said...

I enjoyed reading this poem.

I've tried to write a few sestinas. They were all pretty dreadful. The tritina appeals to me a lot more: fewer lines with no room for padding.

Elaine Magliaro said...


You can learn something new every day--even at my age! I had never heard of a tritina before. Lovely poem. Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Suzanne said...

I always learn from your posts. Thank you.

Bri Meets Books said...

This is an awesome form for a poem. I can't believe I've never heard of it before. Lovely poem! Thanks for sharing!

My favorite form of poem is the sestina. They're so hard, but wonderful.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thanks for all these encouraging comments. I had never heard of the tritina before either. The sestina looks way too complicated for me! This is my first attempt at a tritina. It was challenging and I had to move things around a lot, seaching for words that fit. Satisfying work!

Sarah Amick said...

Do you just love poetry? You have gotten very good at the Haiku. Is it your favorite? I love the tritina. What a wonderful way to put weight into three little words. It reminds me of when the minister at church starts each point with the same letter. They carry more weight.