Potency of Form—The Triolet ! 

by Kitty Jospé


I enjoy teaching the triolet, which only has two different rhymes and a set pattern of repetition.  Even though the words might repeat in the initial and ending couplet, the context changes from the beginning two lines ending with an exclamation point to the final two lines of a 6-line question.

How might you say lines 1, 4, 7?


How Great My Grief

by Thomas Hardy


How great my grief, my joys how few,
     Since first it was my fate to know thee!
—Have the slow years not brought to view
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Not memory shaped old times anew,
Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee
How great my grief, my joys how few,
        Since first it was my fate to know thee?


** One possible “translation””

You broke my heart!  What does it take for you to understand that?  You have no clue to my profound sense of loss (even though I’ve only repeated “grief” 3 times!).

I tried out this form with a “Triolet” listening  to Franz Schubert’s

composition”Death and the Maiden”.


A Triolet for Franz


You know, I also tiptoe quietly,

death whispers in too gentle a tone.

It should come as no surprise, frankly

although I, also, tiptoe quietly

while you play your last melody

for others or perhaps for you alone.

You know? I also tiptoe quietly.

Death whispers in too gentle a tone.




Kitty Jospé, loves facilitating poetry appreciation (“Poetry Oasis” at Rundel, Thursdays 12-1. O Pen! at Pittsford Library, Wed. 12-1:30), and collaborations with word, art and music.  After years of teaching French, she turned to English, and received her MFA in creative writing in 2009.  Her 5th book, Twilight Venus will be available May 5, 2018 from Foothills Publishing.


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