Login Name      Password  (forgotten?)     Sign Up Free!
Share your poetry with our community.
Home Poetry Features Poetry Competitions News Contact Us About Us
Poetry Competitions UK
14 Jun 2011

How to Write a Rondeau

Rondeaux are French lyrical poems, originally developed as a form of medieval courtly music. As song, the form was four stanzas with fully repeating refrains. It was adopted by church musicians as an emotionally rich container, ideal for spiritual worship.

The rondeau developed into a form for expressing devotion to secular objects such as springtime, love and romance and also offered a vehicle for the celebration of melancholy: many rondeaux seem to be about pain and loss; yet turn, by the last stanza, almost jovial. It has been reported that only the English, who adopted the rondeau at the end of the 18th century, truly attempt serious verse with this form. The standard, literary rondeau is usually found as three stanzas - a quintet, quatrain and sestet - with each of the 15 lines containing eight syllables. The refrain consists of the first four syllables, (or sometimes the first word), of the first stanza; and ends the second and third stanzas. Only two rhymes are used throughout and the rhyming scheme is as follows: aabba aabR aabbaR.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae is a good example of the standard literary rondeau:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow  (A)
Between the crosses, row on row,  (A)
That mark our place, and in the sky,  (B)
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,  (B)
Scarce heard amid the guns below.  (A)
We are the dead; short days ago  (A)
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,  (A)
Loved and were loved, and now we lie  (B)
In Flanders fields.  (Refrain)
Take up our quarrel with the foe!  (A)
To you from failing hands we throw  (A)
The torch; be yours to hold it high!  (B)
If ye break faith with us who die  (B)
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow  (A)
In Flanders fields.  (Refrain)

Once you've written your poem, why not send it to us - Forward Poetry, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Peterborough PE2 9JX. Alternatively, you can upload your poem or email it to inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk.

Poetry Competitions

More details...

Forward Poetry Social

What's New

Poetry news...
Tel: 01733 890099    Email: inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk

Forward Poetry's ethos has always been to act as a bridge to publication rather than a barrier. This, along with our passion for poetry and creative writing, has seen a humble family business evolve into the biggest publisher of new poetry in the world. We understand that poetry is subjective, that everyone writes in a different style and that what one person can love, another can hate! Our collections showcase a variety of themes, writing styles and poets from all walks of life. They are carefully edited and compiled to celebrate and complement the craft that all of our contributors enjoy poetry.


Forward Poetry, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9BF

Home | News | About Us | Poetry Competitions | Winners | Workshops | Upload Entry | Events | Publication Timeline | Meet the Poets | Poet Publish | Contact Us

Bonacia Ltd is a Limited Liability company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 05368980. Our VAT registration number is 102781343. Our site uses cookies to store information. By viewing this site, you agree to our Cookie Policy and Terms & Conditions.

© Forward Poetry - Poetry Publishers UK