Invented Poetry Forms – The Biolet

Having received such an enthusiastic response to my last post on the triolet,
I figure it would be fitting to follow it up with one on its obscure and even shorter Portuguese cousin, the biolet. The biolet was invented by the Brazilian poet Filinto de Almeida and first appeared in print in his book Lyrica in 1887. It is a six line poem, and like the triolet, the first two lines are repeated as the last two lines, however in reverse. The rhyme scheme of the biolet thus can be expressed as ABbaBA (with the capital  letters representing the repeated lines). The length of the lines, in my opinion, can vary, and be either metered or unmetered. Most of Almeida’s original biolets in Portuguese (I have only found a handful written in English on the internet) were in iambic tetrameter (8 syllables), but I, myself, have also been playing with iambic pentameter (10 syllables), iambic hexameter (12 syllables), and unmetered lines of random lengths as well.

I feel the key to writing a biolet is coming up with the first two lines, and then reading them in reverse. If they still make sense in the reverse order, creating the two remaining two lines of the poem should be a snap. If they don’t, try altering them until they do, or start fresh with two brand new lines. Writing biolets can be very fun, and quite easy to do. The subject matter can be almost anything, and the tone can be either humorous or serious. I hope my following examples might inspire you to write some biolets of your own:

From the Files of the Love Detective

Solving the case of your broken heart?
It’s going to be harder than I thought.
It seems your heart really loved a lot.
and no clear clue why it broke apart.
It’s going to be harder than I thought
solving the case of your broken heart.

Final Warning 

On an old gravestone, carved in slate,
I read this menacing epitaph
warning of our Creator’s endless wrath
and all humanity ‘s eventual fate.
I read this menacing epitaph
on an old gravestone, carved in slate.

A Biolet for Those Who Cannot Sing

In his unrequited ardor for Fay Wray,
I always empathized with old King Kong.
Since he could not express his love in song,
he had to show his passion in another way.
I always empathized with old King Kong
In his unrequited ardor for Fay Wray.

Biolet for the End of Day

Each night, when darkness descends like a curtain,
I light a single candle and start to pray.
Yes, tomorrow will be another day,
but of only that I can be certain.
I light a single candle and start to pray
each night, when darkness descends like a curtain. 

A Frozen Memory

On a chilly afternoon in late November,
I stood at a kitchen window and watched it snow,
And although that was over fifty years ago,
For some unknown reason I can still remember
I stood at a kitchen window and watched it snow
On a chilly afternoon in late November.

26 thoughts on “Invented Poetry Forms – The Biolet

  1. Beautiful poems in the form, Paul! This looks like a lot of fun. I will be sure to cover this in my series soon. It looks like the lack of given meter allows for a lot of creativity.

    We stop to kiss the moon a long goodnight,
    As dawn is haste and we must say goodbye,
    The stars that twinkle in your loving eyes,
    Your warm embrace that holds my heart tight,
    As dawn is haste and we must say goodbye,
    We stop to kiss the moon a long goodnight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! You are so very kind to ask, Liz. Actually I did write a few more that I didn’t include in my post. Here is one that didn’t quite make the cut:

      Nocturnal Solitude

      There are no stars out in the sky tonight.
      The full moon appears so glum and lonely.
      Gazing up, all one can see is only
      that pale disc reflecting back the sun’s light.
      The full moon appears so glum and lonely.
      There are no stars out in the sky tonight.

      Liked by 1 person

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