Paradelle Notes

Originally introduced by Billy Collins as a demanding French form he later admitted he created as a joke. However, he wasn’t joking about the demanding rules of the Paradelle

It is a poem of four stanzas.

Each stanza consists of six lines

For stanzas 1-3 the first and second lines should be the same, the third and fourth lines should be the same with the fifth and sixth lines composed of all the words from the first and third lines, and only the words of the first and third lines.

The fourth stanza is composed of all the words of the fifth and sixth lines of the first three stanzas and only those words.

Example

Paradelle for Susan by Billy Collins

I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Thinnest love, remember the quick branch.
Always nervous, I perched on your highest bird the.

It is time for me to cross the mountain.
It is time for me to cross the mountain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
Another pain for me to darken the mountain.
And find the time, cross my shore, to with it is to.

The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
The familiar waters below my warm hand.
Into handwriting your weather flies you letter the from the.

I always cross the highest letter, the thinnest bird.
Below the waters of my warm familiar pain,
Another hand to remember your handwriting.
The weather perched for me on the shore.
Quick, your nervous branch flew from love.
Darken the mountain, time and find was my into it was with to to

7 thoughts on “Paradelle Notes

  1. I had a go at a new verse form, based on transcribed bird song. See if you can guess the bird – clue, it’s a very common regular garden bird.
    THE RARE BIRD COLLECTOR CONSIDERS HIS CONSCIENCE

    You the too low bird Easy, sit still…
    who are you petite twitterer…
    we who see you won’t all revisit these trees
    knowing leaves show you our big city
    shoes. See you flee our free, Free, food!
    Blue are you? Are we ready (Shit!
    the damned bird flew!).

    Does deep blue hue on green – see it
    down below the wing-tips’ wheat —
    resume the usual dead winter white?
    Or the other pattern with defined crest.
    Do all my marks deserve so little merit?
    Does all you are deserve man’s fit
    due of respect?

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    1. As I don’t know where you are in the world, I can only go by my garden visitors here in South West Uk – and it is the cheeky birdie the blue tit that springs to mind

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        1. Now that’s weird, my folks live in Liverpool, and I was at Port Sunlight in November at the Lady Lever. Not seen blackbirds for yonks round here, as in the tweetie with a yellow beak. Too many ravens and jackdaws, and of course, the ultimate hooligan bird, the magpie.

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