Rhyme Royal

Also known as the Chaucerian Stanza

This stanza form was use by Geoffrey Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde, and continued as an important form in later centuries, but has not been much used recently. It uses stanas of seven lines of iambic pentameters rhyming ababbbcc. This example is my own, and must qualify as my grimmest poem. Sorry!

NFR (Not for Resuscitation)

                   Nobody liked him, the fat man who died.
                   Riddled through with what his notes called 'CA',
                   his death was never to be dignified.
                   A jolt of defib wouldn't stop decay;
                   the cardiac took its course where he lay.
                   They could hardly inform the next-of-kin:
                   at ninety years old, where would they begin?

                   Nor could they discuss his NFR state
                   with this maiden aunt in another ward,
                   so they sent for the porter and his crate,
                   but to cram thirty stones brought no reward.
                   They wheeled him down, using his bed as buckboard.
                   He was too big for the fridge in the lab
                   and was laid out on a post-mortem slab.

                   'Let's hope that they make the coffin big enough,'
                   they said. 'Pity them that will carry it'.
                   And they talked of how he'd had it rough
                   as they sorted through his desolate kit:
                   a broken watch; a shirt that didn't fit;
                   four pounds fourteen in cash; a buckled ring;
                   and don't forget the bag of old washing.

                   Not much to show for fifty troubled years.
                   But then he was an alcoholic, they say,
                   chasing dark wraiths and wild imagined fears.
                   The dirty things they had to clear away:
                   all those empty bottles - it took all day.
                   Is there a God who wants to hold him near?
                   There never was in fifty years down here.


A Note on Formal and Free Verse
Literary Terms
Metre
Triolet

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