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Sunday Scribblings #60: Wonderful Meeting of Hearts and Books

Of Hearts and Books

Today is Valentine’s Day as well as International Book Giving Day. And the Cybils Awards have been announced!!! Check out the website for a complete listing of the awards. So it certainly is a day that is a wonderful intersection of hearts and books!!!

Sunday Scribblings #60: Wonderful Intersection of Hearts and Books

Poetic Sundays


Today, we travel to France for Poetic Sunday as we explore the lai.

So what is the Lai poetic form?

lai is a fairly simple poetic form, lyrical and narrative in nature, which was popular in 12th century France.

At its simplest, it is a nine-line stanza made up of three pairs of five syllable couplets followed by a two-syllable line, and a rhyme scheme of aab/aab/aab. The poem itself can have any number of stanzas with each stanza having its own rhyme scheme. Tradition states that the two-line syllable must not be indented.

It also has other variations which I mention below as well.

The Lai’s Characteristics

So the lai’s elements are that it is:

  • stanzaic: made up of any number of nine-line stanzas
  • syllabic: uses a repeated syllabic count of 5/5/2 for each triplet
  • rhymed: has a rhyme scheme of aab/aab/aab ; and each stanza has its own rhyme scheme. So for poems with more than one stanza, it looks like this: S1 – aab/aab/aab; S2 – ccd/ccd/ccd; S3 – eef/eef/eef; and so on. Since it does not specify any other restrictions, I am guessing some overlaps and repetitions in rhymes might be fine.
  • Note that per tradition, the short line must not be indented, but be left dressed to the poem.

This is how the first or single stanza lai will look:

  • L1 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L2 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L3 – two syllable line – xxb
  • L4 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L5 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L6 – two syllable line – xxb
  • L7 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L8 – five syllable line – xxxxa
  • L9 – two syllable line – xxb

Following stanzas will have different rhyme schemes as mentioned earlier.

Variations to the form
  • Virelai: This has the same syllabic scheme as the lai. But it requires that there be more than one nine-line stanza due to its linked rhyme scheme; with the short line of each stanza setting the rhyme scheme for the following one.  The last stanza links back to the first by setting the rhyme of its short ones to the 5 syllable line of the first stanza. So for a three-stanza virelai, rhyme scheme would be aab/aab/aab; bbc/bbc/bbc; cca/cca/cca.
  • Virelai ancien: Very similar to the virelai with difference being in its syllabic scheme of 8/8/4 for each triplet and the stanzas typically having 12 lines for a total of 4 triplets. The rhyme scheme is like the virelai’s with the short line setting the rhyme for the couplet in the following stanza; and the final stanza linking back to the first stanza by rhyming its short line to the long lines of the first one.
  • A couple other variations exist that I believe require their own post (maybe the two above will too).

My Example

One by one, black, white
Fingers, light, in flight
Sounds Play
Some touches, a fright
A few taps, delight
Sound Waves,
Says Hello, Goodbye
Fingers lift, they rise

-For Vidya @ LadyInReadWrites –> My son’s first draft (using near rhymes)

I <3 Hearts and Books
When hearts and books meet
It’s indeed a treat
For me.
Inspires me to greet
Everyone I meet
With glee.
Hearts and Books, I tweet
Are sweeter than sweet –
Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites


On My Blog

I am still working on a late shift for each day’s post but managing a post each day. Here are last week’s post

And the Home Front

My daughter turned 15 at the start of the week, and it was a quiet celebration at home though we did video conference both grandmoms and my brother’s family as she blew the candles on her birthday cake. What followed was a regular week.

And My Cybils Update

As mentioned earlier in the post, the Cybils winners have been announced today! While you can check out the whole list on the website here, I wanted to list the non-fiction winners and a others I read and enjoyed (the rest are on my TBR)


On My Blog and Home Front

More reviews of course, and the kids have a week long break this week so I hope we can do so some advance spring-cleaning along with much-needed decluttering.

This Week’s Celebrations

  • Cancer is one of those things that brings dread to hearts and minds. Which is why raising awareness as well as working to support causes and people is so important. International Childhood Cancer Day is one of those ways to do so.
  • National Almond Day is celebrated on the 16th of February. While I always knew that California produces tons of almonds, I recently discovered that it accounts for 80% of the world’s production!!
  • While everyday should be a Random Act of Kindness Day, February 17th is the date earmarked for the same. So we can consciously make an effort to do a RAK that day. And the whole week is celebrated as Random Act of Kindness Week. Tags: #ExploreTheGood  #MakeKindnessTheNorm #RandomActsofKindnessDay
  • World Anthropology Day on the third Thursday of February
  • For your sweet tooth (and certainly for mine), we have National Chocolate Mint Day on Feb 19th, and National Muffin Day on the 20th of February.
  • The 20th of February is World Day of Social Justice. The theme for this year is: A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy
  • And to wrap it up, it is International Mother Language Day on the 21st of February. From the official page, this day “recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion.” What is your mother tongue? Mine is Tamil, spoken in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, this was it for my Sunday Scribblings. I would love to hear your comments on my post(s), poetic Sunday section, and anything else. And which of these days do you plan to celebrate (or any other)? Also, I do look forward to reading your poems (if you have attempted one or the other forms so far?!) 

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon

41 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #60: Wonderful Meeting of Hearts and Books

  1. I spent the day celebrating Valentine’s Day but I am eager to celebrate poetic Sunday, although it will end up by being poetic Monday by the time that I get around to it. Since the weather forecast calls for a snow storm, poetic Monday might be the best choice for the day. I am hoping use my visual journal to draw a picture and write my poem in the form that you introduced in this blog post. I am super excited about writing the poem!!! Maybe I will share it in my blog!

    1. First let me wish your daughter a very happy 15th birthday! As for poems, I never knew there were so many different forms of them. Every now and then I come up with a poem from either a picture or something that has happened. I’ve written a few, I’ll get some ideas and try to write one soon!

  2. The poetic form you explored this week is lovely. It has the emphasis of a haiku, I think, with that sudden two syllable line. Both poems you shared are quite well done.

    I wonder if you plan to compile a comprehensive book on poetic forms at some point. Wouldn’t that be fun?!

    You did wonderful work on the Cybils this year. I periodically have thoughts of moving to nonfiction. I have been on nonfiction panels a couple of years.

    1. Are you a mind reader Deb?:) I have been thinking of doing exactly that – a poetry book and very weirdly coincidentally just started a cover page last night to inspire me to get going on that..
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments always.. Being on the nonfiction panel was good for me as it led me to read books I normally would not.

  3. I had a book of poetic forms in grad school, but I can’t recall this one. We used to have to open the book and point to a page blindly, then write a poem in that form. I would have been happy to get this one!

  4. Happy 15th Birthday to your daughter and I am wishing her every good thing on this earth.
    We have a post-birthday celebration for my son’s last Valentine’s day together with my few friends and family members. I am happy that I made my son happy with that quick and simple celebration.

  5. Poetry is definitely an art. I enjoy the word play from a manipulating language point of view, the math involved in meter and rhyme. The puns and word play.

  6. That cake is adorable, Also I didn’t know it was book giving day otherwise I would have included a book with my kids valentines day gift!

  7. Long ago, when I was deep in the Middle Ages French literature and history, I read the lais by Marie de France and still have them on my shelf 🙂 Happy belated birthday to your daughter, they grow up so fast, don’t they ? My youngest will be 18 in 3 months. If you have tips for decluttering and spring-cleaning, I’m interested ! Enjoy your week-end 🙂

    1. Thank you for the bday wishes.. And I am sure those lais are wonderful reads..
      As far as tips for decluttering, I just sort all the things in three heaps – throw/donate/keep.. and then haul the donate to the nearest place that accepts donations at the earliest

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