Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Poetry: Kyrielle

Trisha has the form "kyrille" as her Monday Poetry Stretch this week. She explains it:

"A kyrielle is a French from that was originally used by Troubadours. In the original French kyrielle, lines had eight syllables. Written in English, the lines are usually iambic tetrameters. The distinctive feature of a kyrielle is the refrain in which the final line of every stanza is the same. The name of the form comes from the word kyrie, a form of prayer in which the phrase "Lord have mercy" (kyrie eleison) is repeated.

A kyrielle can be any length as long as it is written 4 line stanzas of iambic tetrameters. A kyrielle also has a rhyme scheme. Two popular forms are aabB/ccbB/ddbB etc. or abaB/cbcB/dbdB etc., where B is the repeated refrain."

Last Friday Elaine at Wild Rose Reader interviewed Janet Wong. It's a great interview. The two of them invited (challenged?) us to write a poem including the three words "ring, drum, blanket". I had been pondering it and decided to try to work the two challenges together. Here's my attempt:

April 15 023

First the Flower, Then the Leaf

I found it hard when it was dark
and frozen rain drummed barren bark
to know again we'd find relief
in first the flower and then the leaf.

Long cold and empty was the world
when all that breathed kept tightly curled;
our sun's round ring played dim and brief
but then came flower recalling leaf.

Drear days are past, the shadow flees
bright mornings come to light the trees
that spread their boughs to ease our grief
in first the flower and then the leaf.

The hidden sap has been reborn
to rise and blanket hearts forlorn;
a balm that gently builds belief
till comes the flower and then the leaf.

On hopeful afternoons we roam,
we plant our gardens in dark loam;
denying once again time's thief
might fade the flower and bruise the leaf.

But if in summer's wrenching heat
our fear returns of cold defeat
soon comes the autumn's harvest sheaf
from passing flower, unfolding leaf.
.....................................- Andromeda Jazmon

*Edited to add: You can hear me read this poem aloud at VoiceThread.

It's not to late to join in and try one yourself. Hop over to The Miss Rumphius Effect and Wild Rose Reader to see what others wrote (including the fabulous Kelly R. Fineman of Writing and Ruminating and Janet Wong's response.)

Here's more excitement! 7 Imp hasn't got enough of the Poetry Seven - we are interviewed about our writing process in the Crown of Sonnets unveiled last week. Go check it out! Jules and Eisha are unbelievable.

The Friday Poetry round up is at The Well Read Child.


Tricia said...

I had a very hard time with this form, but you nailed it! Your poem is absolutely gorgeous.

tanita✿davis said...

Boo-YAH! That's the sound of a poem hitting the mark. You're really rocking this form thing, Andi. Amazing.

Daisy said...


That is just beautiful!! :)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous. This poem has the feel of one that's written itself.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I don't know how you do it--write such fine poetry in so many different forms. I'm not disciplined enough.

FYI: Janet Wong left a comment at my post about your and Tricia's ring/drum/blanket poems.

Anonymous said...

just beautiful

jama said...

Gorgeous! I'm in awe, once again.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Thanks you guys. I woke up in a start at 4 am thinking "flower" is a two syllable word. I was slurring it together as one stressed beat. Maybe no one else reads it like that and I totally messed up the meter. Panic! What do the rest of you think?

GirlGriot said...

This is great! I love the way you used your repeated line, love the whole poem. I'm definitely going to have to think about the kyrielle. I'm liking the tanka form I played with yesterday, but I want to try this one too.

Sara said...

"a balm that gently builds belief
till comes the flower and then the leaf" Oh, mercy.

What I love, too, is how your subject ties so closely to the form itself---both about repetition and building and uncurling, over and over.

Anonymous said...

OK -- you could have stopped with the title alone. But you didn't! this is sooooo fine, Andi. Sheesh. Humbled...

Karen Edmisten said...

Wow -- it's beautiful and you made it look effortless.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful kyrielle. You discovered a great line to repeat. I noticed that this form seems to make or break on that repeating line.

Anonymous said...

Dynamite! The three words fit so naturally, and the whole poem is so visual. Very different from your haiku, of course. A really wonderful expansion of that same attention to detail you bring to your shorter poems. Wow.

Mary Lee said...

Wow. I want to memorize this poem so it can live permanently in my brain with Frost's NATURE'S FIRST GREEN IS GOLD and Houseman's LOVELIEST OF TREES THE CHERRY NOW.


Marjorie said...

What a beautiful poem - I love the echo of each stanza's last line. We've had a good discussion of this ring/drum/blanket challenge round the dinner table but certainly haven't come up with anything printable!

concretegodmother said...

omg, cloudscome! this poem strummed my heartstrings. wow, and wow. you nailed it! thanks for being faithful to this poem. i'm inspired to go try my own kyrielle; wish me luck.

concretegodmother said...

when i read miss rumphius effect's description of the form, i thought it would be regrettably sing-songy. it's totally NOT!

Andromeda Jazmon said...


Mary Lee that is exactly what I was thinking about when the repeating line sprang into my head. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah Pattie...I just went to our Lilac Festival in Lombard, IL a few weeks ago; held at Lilacia Park..filled with different kinds of lilac trees & bushes.. They were my mom's favorite too..and one of mine now too. I took pics and they look at lot like these Laptop batteries.