Of all the rhyme schemes out there, the one I covet
is terza rima, verse’s triple-double,
the braided tercet. I suspect I love its
interlock, its trinities that couple
and link their units each to each to each.
Most English poets think it isn’t worth the trouble,
but don’t believe what these professors teach—
our language isn’t all that poor in rhyme
(though practice helps me practice what I preach).
The problem is that half (one-third?) the time
the reader thinks you’re imitating Dante,
and good luck standing next to that sublime
hellraiser. Scaling heaven upped the ante.
Even Italian poets have avoided this—
you never see it in Leopardi’s Canti
or in Montale. Terza rima is
malleable music molded to the man
who, consecrating it to Beatrice,
denied it thrice to any lesser hand.