40. Canzone

The canzone is a real head-scratcher. It’s one of those few poetic forms that require a touch of improvisation, which can be nice for those of you who aren’t into strict structural rules, but can be quite a puzzle for those of you who prefer to have a set recipe.

There was very little written about the rhyme scheme or meter of a canzone. It literally means ‘song’ (yes, it’s another Italian poetic form), so I can only assume that as long as it sounds good, you’re on the right track. Of course, some authors say that a canzone is hendecasyllabic (or has 11 syllables per line)[1].

Here’s the fun part about the canzone: There is no rhyme scheme; there is no fixed number of stanzas or lines. The number of stanzas range from 5 to 7, while the number of lines can go from as little as 7 to as high as 20. You can go for seven stanzas of one line each for all Dante cares. You can make up your own rhyme scheme, as well, but for keeping things simple you may opt to write in rhyming couplets (pairs of lines; as in AABB BBAA CCDD, or other)[2].

Below, I chose to write in 5 quatrains with the rhyme scheme as follows: ABBC ADDC CEEC FGGF EBBE.

Have we now come to this, my love?
That you should run, and I to look—
Lest I lose that which you took
And that which you have bequeathed me?

Great fondness or a lack thereof
Can I only have of you right now;
Of one as cruel and wicked as thou—
Yet one with hardly no such folly.

Wherefore now do I shun your bawdry!
Be gone, be gone! I do not need your sight;
Not your glamour or your sleight!
Not your brilliance or your beauty . . .

How droll that I cannot concede
That I am in need of your grace—
But cannot, myself, debase,
In need of you, accede.

Where be it you hide, my Light—
So my shadow, so a rook;
So am I upon your hook—
I cannot fathom life so trite.

Magpie Tales
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
One Single Impression: Muse


22 thoughts on “40. Canzone

  1. Perfectly wrought! :)

    It’s a good thing there are many types of poetry. I would be completely AWFUL at sticking to a pattern! lol I mostly cut my words from magazines and let them fall where they may.) ;)

    Again…..I am really blown away by this…….very, very classic!

  2. I never knew about Canzone!

    And you write so well. It reminds of that ballad- Lochinvar. It’s so beautiful the way the story’s come out through the lines.


  3. very nice! i’m gonna have to try it. though i must admit, the name of this form just brings up a big pile of dough and cheese and sauce in my mind :) thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for the intro to the form. I also like the way you used it and the rhyme scheme involved. Strict use of form is still a challenge for me, but exercise I can use. Also feeling the need for Italian dough now…..

  5. I have had many calzones…..but have never seen (to my knowledge) this form and have definitely never attempted to write one. You have done it brilliantly, and the last stanza is awesome. Great work.

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