What in the Hell is a Grá Reformata

Well, in order to write one, you have to know that a couplet is two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit.  You also need to know that a tercet is a set or group of three lines of verse rhyming together or connected by rhyme with an adjacent tercet, and that sounds confusing to me, but it just means that they rhyme with another triplet.  You also need to know what a villanelle is, and that is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain.  A quatrain is a stanza of four lines, especially one having alternate rhymes.  A stanza is a group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem and this is also called a verse.  There is one other requirement for writing poetry of this type and that is knowing iambic pentameter.  If you don’t know this stuff, then don’t try to write a Grá Reformata.

Speech has inherently powerful rhythms and human beings are directed by these rhythms that begin in our brains and they control our heart beat and breathing.  We might tap our feet to music, or jump up and dance when we feel the music taking us to a happy place.  Everything we do is measured by the beat, duration, and capacity of our minds and bodies.  Verse is often used as a synonym for poetry, but it isn’t exactly the same, as the latter is a literary genre while the former is a form of language.  Verse is a written poetic composition that takes into account the metric syllables, beats, and rhythm of sentences and sets them into lines (also called ‘verses’) and stanzas.  Iambic pentameter is a difficult concept to grasp, but basically it is a line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable.

When you write in verse, you use accents, pauses, metric feet and words with similar or contrasting sounds to create a flow that, ideally, will transmit a feeling or image to the reader.  It is very common for verse to rhyme, although it isn’t necessary.  Metric feet in poetry, refers to the sound patterns that each foot in a verse represents.  A metrical foot or prosody, is the basic unit known as the property of a single verse that composes a pattern of rhythm and sound in a poem.  Within the unit, we can find a limited number of syllables that corresponds to the pattern of the foot.  Thus, each line of poetry will follow a certain meter in its words.  Each type of metrical foot has a certain number of syllables that combine long or stressed syllables with short or unstressed syllables.  The combination of them creates a type of meter.

Anapest, Caesura, Dactyl, Elision, and Trochee are different types of poetry feet, but we are interested in Iamb (as in Iambic) which is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one.  Pentameter is a line of verse consisting of five metrical feet, or of two halves each of two feet and a long syllable.  A Foot is a unit of measure in a metrical line, the syllables included in a kind of musical bar or measure. Meter is the pattern of accents in poems.  Falling meter will move (or fall) from stressed syllables to unstressed syllables, where a rising meter will move (or ascend) from unstressed to stressed.  Now that you know all of this, it is time to explain the Grá Reformata poem.

The Grá Reformata is based upon the Villanelle form.  Following the basic setting of the Villanelle, the Grá Reformata will have an extra couplet between each tercet.  This couplet can be either rhymed within the structure of the rest of the poem, or in free verse, but always in iambic pentameter.  The poem should end up being 27 lines in length with the following rhyming format:
a-b-a
x-x
a-b-a
x-x
a-b-a
x-x
a-b-a
x-x
a-b-a
a-b-a-a
The x consists of the rhymed, or unrhymed iambic couplet.  I need to find 13 words to match the “a” rhyme and 6 words that will match the “b” rhyme and then make each “x” line 10 syllables in length.

And so it begins
The pandemic is here
Break out the violins

The virus contained a specific gene
New strains emerged creating more problems

Scientists of many disciplines
Are trying their best to make this disappear
But idiots are in charge and we are paying for their sins

Wearing masks has become the new normal
Social distancing also stops the spread

This mess can’t be cleaned with napkins
Maybe I should try drinking some beer
Someone always loses, but someone also wins

The lines are too long to get a vaccine
I tried several times but no luck for me

Football is almost over, no more pigskins
Not a fan of Brady, but I am a Buccaneer
I will probably watch the game with the twins

Kansas City Chiefs will go to Tampa
The fans will be limited in person

Watching Super Bowl LV at Janet and Joycelyn’s
Janet gets so excited she screams in my ear
I guess that is better then getting kicked in the shins

If Tampa succeeds there will be plenty of grins
Both of these girls love to cheer
After the game, I may go to Lynn’s
She is a big fan of those Led Zeppelins

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix Lucky Dip hosted by weejars aka Sarah where she has asked us to write a Grá Reformata poem.

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