The American TERZANELLE is a villanelle written in terza rima. Like the latter, it is nineteen lines in length: five interlocking triplets plus a concluding quatrain in which the first and third lines of triplet one reappear as refrains. The center line of each triplet is a repeton reappearing as the last line of the succeeding triplet with the exception of the center line of the penultimate stanza which reappears in the quatrain. This is the rhyme and refrain scheme for the triplets: A1BA2 bCB cDC dED eFE. The poem may end in one of two ways: fA1FA2 or fFA1A2. Every line is the same metrical length.
By Lewis Turco
We do not have the time to waste,
And yet we waste it all the time.
Time wasted leaves a bitter taste
Like orangeade turned tart as lime
Or sweet remembrance gone to seed,
But still we waste it all the time.
We take one sip more than we need
And soon our glasses are half full,
Like sweet remembrance gone to seed.
Time’s seepage is implacable:
Swallow or it evaporates
And soon our glass is but half full,
The freshest morning dissipates,
Becomes the driest afternoon.
Swallow or life evaporates —
The sun will soon become the moon —
We do not have this time to waste!
Here in the driest afternoon
Time wasted leaves a bitter taste.
Copyright © 2011 by Lewis Turco, all rights reserved.