57. Paradelle

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. I’m finally back home.

I’d like to keep the coming-back-home speech short: Gained a bit, lost a lot more. Reading back on what I did with Poeformology at this, the lowest point in my life, makes me question why I was ever so unhappy with what it was. I guess clinical depression makes you appreciate things you couldn’t when you didn’t have it yet.

Anyway, I thought I’d go ahead and start off with a little poetic form called the Paradelle.

If you haven’t heard of it, the better. However, instead of starting off with the explanation, for this post, I’ll be starting with a poem:

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Ninety-Eight Minutes on the Elevator

I have always carried the burden of living.
I have always carried the burden of living.
Lifting it one-armed, pressed against a wall.
Lifting it one-armed, pressed against a wall.
A wall against the living one-armed it pressed.
I have always carried lifting of burden.

My bones crumble into offices at the weight.
My bones crumble into offices at the weight.
Dying nine to five to fight against dying.
Dying nine to five to fight against dying.
Against the weight, at dying offices
my five to nine bones crumble into dying to fight.

This is a war which I will never win.
This is a war which I will never win.
One where I am designed to lose and repeat.
One where I am designed to lose and repeat.
I repeat a war which I am designed to lose
where one is and will never win this.

This war carried into offices at nine to five
pressed against my bones designed to crumble
will always wall the dying I lose.
Repeat a fight, one where I am lifting one-armed
weight which it is and of living have
against the burden, a dying I never win to.

***

You’re either thinking “Man, that was beautiful poetry” or “Bro, WTF did I just read?” But if you thought the latter, I wouldn’t blame you.

The Paradelle is a poetic form invented by Billy Collins (one of my poetry idols). Although, when he first published the paradelle, he said in the footnote that it was a demanding French poetic form. Which, of course, it was not. However, many people apparently thought it was and could not tell that it was Billy Collins’s way of parodying the villanelle. Since then, many people have tried their hand at it. (I certainly tried my best. Yeeesh.)

Anyway, if you want to try it out, the rules are as follows:

A Paradelle consists of 4 sestets (or six-liners). The first and second lines must be identical, as well as the third and fourth lines. (Think of them as refrains within close proximity, I guess?) While the fifth and sixth lines must use the words from the previous lines (and only those words). That goes for the second and third stanzas. Meanwhile, the final stanza (the fourth one) must contain all the words from the previous stanzas and only those words. You can check out the entry on Wikipedia to read more about the form.

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