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hagia-sophia

Septrois is my latest poetry form, borrowing the spirit of medieval French verse as it developed in the Aquitaine. Septrois is a neologue that blends sept (seven) with trois (three), referring to the original 7-line poem and three new lines added to each. Conjoined, the two numbers create a word play, sept rois, that translates as “seven kings”.

I’ll say more about the rhyme scheme and rules after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the 28-line septrois. First, though, here are the originating seven lines, the final stanza from “The Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894).

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

~~~

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
I have brought bricks and mortar,
blood and toil, artisans of high degree
whose love of heights replaces cruder vanity.

As the swift seasons roll!
Each hour blooms a year for me
through passages of time held light
my joyful course is stayed, feels right.

Leave thy low-vaulted past!
I’ve helpful souls who sweep away the night,
leave traces for the coming son and daughter
who, by your grace, bring freshening laughter.

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
encourage us to boldly reconnoiter
less with dramaturge and more with comedy,
hearts well tuned in earthy frequency;

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
with room enough for all to merry be
abandoning the urgency to rush we might
discover heaven orbits us, a satellite,

Till thou at length art free,
from pain and restless night,
accommodating easily new quarter
for seven kings, as one, your porter;

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
embracing the unknown as playful sport or
means to ever curious and hopeful be
of constant love, sweet whirling with delight.

~~~

How to construct Septrois, Seven Kings:
Begin with an original 7-line borrowed stanza or poem, which we’ll call “the genesis”. From each line or “day of creation”, write three new lines, “kings”, that enhance or converse with the genesis. From this ratio of 1:3 or 7:21, a 28-line poetic dialogue is created.

The rhyme schemes of the three added lines is as follows:
1. abb
2. bcc
3. caa
4. abb
5. bcc
6. caa
7. abc

The rhyme scheme of the genesis doesn’t matter. Only the 3-line kings follow the sequence. Their lines must also support the theme and link the stanzas logically, so you’ve created a unified or expanded poem with the joining of sept and trois.

I hope you’ll try a few yourself and have tons of fun!

© Elaine Stirling, 2013
Image of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, from destination360

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