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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Octain Refrain

The Octain Refrain is a form invented by Luke Prater.  Learn more about Luke by visiting his blog at  www.lukeprater.com.

It comprises eight lines as TWO TERCETS and a COUPLET, either as octosyllables (counting eight syllables per line), or as iambic tetrameter, whichever is preferable. Trochaic tetrameter also acceptable. The latter yields a more propulsive rhythm, as opposed to iambs, which tend to lilt.
As the name suggests, the first line is a refrain, repeated as the last (some variation of refrain acceptable). Rhyme-scheme as follows -

Acc a(c/c)a bA

A = refrain line. c/c refers to line five having midline (internal) rhyme, which is different from the a- and b-rhymes. The midline rhyme does not have to fall exactly in the middle of the line, in fact it can be more effective and subtle, depending on context, to have it fall earlier or later.

Alternative layout/stanza-structure: TWO SINGLE LINES and TWO TERCETS
Refrain lines on their own, with the middle six as two tercets -
A bba (c/c)ab A

The High Octain is simply a double Octain, but as one poem – the refrains are the same, a- and b- rhymes are the same, but actual words are different, and the c/c line with the internal rhyme can optionally be rhymed in the second instance. There is no restriction on the level of repetition, but in most cases the stipulated refrain A is enough; this may even feel too repetitive and need varying. As a general guideline, changing up to four syllables of the eight still retains enough to feel like the refrain. The end word must remain the same.
The structure of the High Octain is one single after another with a break in between; alternatively, it can be written as two blocks of eight lines:
A-b-b-a-c/c-a-b-A [or d/d instead of c/c]
It is also possible to write a piece consisting of a string of single Octains (the rhymes of which would not usually correspond).

Example Poems

Octane Refrain     (Octain)

My muscle  car needs high-octane. 
If jerk at pump should pump low test 
He'll have a broken nose at best. 

From low octane I must refrain. 
It's racing fuel to race you fool. 
but high-octane I must explain. 

That's par for cars that run the best. 
My muscle  car needs high-octane. 

© Lawrencealot - June 19, 2012

Showers Wash the Stars  (Octain)

Springtime showers bringing rainbows 

Brightest sharpest color forming 
Glassine crystals grasslands warming 
Steam now rising; morning rain goes. 

Cleaned pavilion shines cerulean
promised now where stars refrain goes
Superb nighttime twinkle swarming.

Springtime showers bringing rainbows. 

New Year's Eve     (High Octain)

When we were young we joined the crowd 
To walk the street in freezing cold, 
to greet the new; kick  out the old. 

To hear the fireworks booming loud, 
and watch their flight into the night, 
their light reflecting off a cloud. 

We'd be there when the bells were tolled. 
When we were young we joined the crowd. 

When we were young we joined the crowd 
on blocked off streets that were patrolled 
by cops on horses quite controlled. 

But now we're older we've avowed 
to stay and see it on TV, 
that's even if the streets are plowed. 

We have each other we can hold. 
When we were young we joined the crowd. 

   © Lawrencealot - December 30, 2012

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