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Terzanelle: Deceit

by Nell 

Posted: 25 October 2004
Word Count: 150
Summary: A first attempt to write a terzanelle. This has come out more formal than I'd have liked, but hopefully I'll manage a modern one next time.

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The web you spin is falling from my eyes
your words are sliding through my head -
dont try to fool me with your lies.

I listened to the poems that you read
I played a game and thought Id won the prize
your words are sliding through my head.

Yesterday I thought that I was wise
tomorrows path is one I fear to tread
I played a game and thought Id won the prize.

A subtle mask, a nebulous disguise
illusions linger when desire is fed
yesterday I thought that I was wise.

The ties you bind, so cleverly devise
to keep me waiting in an empty bed -
illusions linger when desire is fed

but now I hear the hopeful and the dead
the web you spin is falling from my eyes
to keep me waiting in an empty bed
dont try to fool me with your lies.

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Comments by other Members

roger at 08:37 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
I haven't got a clue what terzenelle is, Nell (maybe you'll tell me). But if this is terzenelle, then I like terzenelle. A lot. The repeat lines worked really well for me....she's a bit pissed off, isn't she...the anger & emotion comes over really well. Yes, I like it. A lot - hey, I just repeated. Have I terzenelled? Seriously - lovely writing.

Nell at 08:52 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Roger,

Strange that you assumed the narrator was female?! Not at all - history and the odds are in your favour. Yes, I guess she's a bit pissed off, and the repetition seems to emphasise that well. It seems also to give a slight sense of wavering on the brink of madness and isolation, which I like, although I do wish that this sounded more modern. I'm working on one in which the lines end in the middle of a thought - notoriously difficult but a great challenge. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.


roger at 08:57 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
It HAD to be female, Nell, it just HAD to be. Men don't think like that. Don't really know what you mean by wishing it sounded a bit more modern. I know nothing about poetry other than what works for me; and this did, really well.

Okkervil at 10:16 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
Gosh, this is excellent! It reminded me a little of 'Play' by Samuel Beckett- it has an almost ecelectic feel of each line tumbling over the next. I whispered it to myself, which seemed to work quite well (it should be read out loud, shouldn't it?), and I loved the almost creepy repetition. Does being a 'terzenelle' have something to do with the (dead-clever) rhyming pattern? Which I liked immensely- adding to the tumbling-over-and-over effect. I think I shall read it again. And again after that.



joanie at 10:26 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
Excellent, Nell, as I knew it would be!

It's strange how this form has produced very similar sorts of ideas. I'm sure it's because one's thoughts at times like these do go round and round in one's head and the same things are said again and again.

I have to admit, I thought a woman too, when I read.

I love it.



I just read back through the comments and saw that you are working on a terzanelle where the lines end in the middle of a thought. Yes, I saw that when I was 'researching' and I thought about it! I think you may have inspired me to try.

Elsie at 17:48 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
Nell, lovely. It's a very tricky form, and I think you've done it justice. It ) a terzanelle) does always, I think, end up sounding less than modern, but that's the nature of the form, rather than the words, I expect.

Nell at 19:09 on 25 October 2004  Report this post
Roger, James, Joanie and Elsie.

Roger, you're right, men don't think like that. It's nature, not nurture (I'll get shot for that) but men and women are different from the cradle I think. (Mentally as well as physically I mean.)

James, yes, the 'terzanelle' relies on a specific rhyme-scheme with the third line of each stanza repeated as the last line of the next, until the last stanza when there are three repeats. I like your description of it as a 'tumbling over effect', and I think probably all poetry should be read aloud. I'm glad you liked it, and thanks for commenting.

Joanie, it's odd about the similarity of ideas, our poems overlap very slightly with ...I played a game and thought Id won the prize... but your narrator is more assertive than mine! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Elsie, thanks for your thoughts. You may be right about the form creating the mood, but your terzanelle felt very contemporary to me. I'll have to try this form again I think.


sarahclapham at 17:01 on 10 March 2005  Report this post
Yet more praise! i thoroughly enjoyed this poem Nell. I found the form so fitting for the subject matter. The tumbling over effect that James describes felt also to me like the web of the text knitting itself together then unravelling or sliding apart before rejoiing itself again. I agree with you also - a poem should always be read aloud I think!

Michael Kearns at 17:14 on 10 March 2005  Report this post
What a wonderful 'form' this is. Having never studied (well, not that I can remember, although I probably did in my youth) the 'formal' aspects of poetry, I'm finding all these variations absolutely fascinating.

So many things to try !!

paul53 [for I am he] at 17:15 on 13 March 2005  Report this post
What an enjoyable piece. Don't know why, but it reminded me of James Fenton.
Noted your comment about it coming out more formal than you had liked. Structures have that effect quite often, altering our wording, like having to speak unexpectedly to someone really important.

Myrtle at 13:59 on 01 July 2005  Report this post

This just cropped up in the Random Read - hooray, I loved it. The repetition does give it that undeniable sniff of being on the brink of madness (temporary madness, I trust, once she's got it out of her system...!) and yet again you've taught me another way of writing a poem so thanks for that, and thanks for this - super piece.


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