Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Tritina

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , 3 comments
 by Ashley Lister

 Whenever I teach poetry, there will often be a student arguing against rhyme or railing against the discipline of meter or battling the regimented notion of syllable counting. My usual response, that the practice of poetry is assisted by working to the structure of established forms, often seems like a poor comeback. Oftentimes, as a compromise, we’ll end up working on the tritina.

 The tritina is a ten line form of unrhymed poetry, broken into three tercets (three-lined stanzas) with a final, solitary, line.  The device that makes the tritina remarkable is its use of repeated words, once in each line, in the pattern of A B C, C A B, B C A. The final line of the tritina includes all three of the A B C words.

snog, marry or avoid?
The silken slip of lips on lips is never a simple snog
The lifelong linking of our lives means more than mere marry
And loneliness, dark loneliness, is the path we both avoid

Avoid potential pain. Avoid prospective hurt. Avoid.
Snog often (if you must snog). And snog in public places. Snog.
Marry like a meeting of meticulously matched mates. Marry.

In a melding of two timeless intertwined souls – marry.
The sole and solitary life of being a single soul: avoid
Kiss, caress, excite, ignite explore, adore but never snog.

I look at you and wonder did I ever think: snog, marry or avoid?

You’ll notice here that the ABC words snog(A), marry(B) and avoid(C) are repeated at the end of the lines in the aforementioned pattern: A B C, C A B, B C A. In the final line it doesn’t matter about the order of the three words as long as they’re all there.

There is no fixed meter, although the poem appears to work best when each line contains a similar number of syllables.

If you have your own take on this theme, or fancy sharing a tritina of your own devising, I look forward to seeing your poem posted in the comments box below.


Colin Davies said...

T'was in the vale of the tree
That I did see those mean to me
But they did not know I had thee

As I have pledged my world to thee
And we shall plant our own family tree
Because you came to the rescue of me

T'is the love you have often shown for me
That I give my loyalty and life to thee
And after the battle, carved our names in the tree

The tree of the lives of me and thee

Ashley R Lister said...

I like it. I like the narrative you've taken and I like the way you've implemented rhyme as well as the tritina structure.

Good one,


Colin Davies said...