Coffee triolet. Café-au-lait?

Right. As Reed has utterly humiliated herself, and me, with the above stupid pun, I am taking over this post.

Reed, go and make the coffee.

What drove the first of us to try
This bitter, dark, and devilish drink?
To steal an hour as day slips by -
What drove the first of us to try?
And did he watch the midnight sky
For many nights, and sourly think:
‘What drove the first of us to try
This bitter, dark, and devilish drink?’

Any thoughts? See if you can spot the one line that took the longest to write and gave us the most heartburn.

Seen it? Yes, indeed. The third line. The rest of the triolet more or less turned up in one lump, after some initial dithering about whether rhyming ‘drink’ and ‘think’ wasn’t too cheesy for words. And then the third line just refused to materialise. Reed was reduced to writing all the rhymes for ‘sky’ she could think of down one side of the page and then drawing daisies, cats and expertly shaded cubes down the other. When the third line finally did show up, muttering about cuckoo clocks (made in Germany, I think you’ll find), we were underwhelmed. See what comes of trying French forms in bloody English? You wait and wait and the line never comes.

P.S. It has just been pointed out to me that the triolet is a very obscure little verse form and not everyone will get quite what a) I was trying to do and b) what the Editor is ranting on about. So here is an explanation for a). I can’t help you with b). – Reed 12th August 1:30 am. Indeed.

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9 Responses to Coffee triolet. Café-au-lait?

  1. Reed says:

    I think you’ve lost them, Editor.

    ['When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.' Shakespeare, As You Like It, III ii.]

  2. Teuchter says:

    Nice pun in the title, I thought.

    Clicking on the explanation link taught me something I didn’t know, though in truth I know very little about poetry of any kind.
    What an interesting form – lovely balance and almost-symmetry. Might be tempted to play around with it myself, though it’s doubtful I’ll come up with anything as good as Reed’s elegance.

  3. Teuchter says:

    Not sure if you’ll enjoy reading this – but I enjoyed the exercise of writing it.

    If one could write a triolet
    As elegant as Reed’s
    One would surely be en fete
    If one could write a triolet
    To shift one’s very own mind set
    Would be the very best of deeds
    If one could write a triolet
    As elegant as Reed’s

    (Don’t see it being tucked into candy or flowers – the cheeseboard’s a far more appropriate venue :grin: )

  4. Lilian says:

    What a pleasing form! I like pattern and, as Teuchter puts it, ‘almost-symmetry’. Nice poetry from both Reed and Teuchter. I don’t really know much about poetry, and hadn’t come across this form before, so I’ve learned something new today!

  5. Reed says:

    Teuchter – I am absolutely pink to the ears with delight. Apart from the immense dose of flattery (thank you!), you wrote a poem! Aha! We shall conquer them all, one couplet at a time!

    I must now go and run around in small circles and jump up and down a bit with pleased excitement.

  6. Teuchter says:


    ‘Twas a poor thing, but mine own……..

  7. Do you know, actually reading a triolet is a hundred times better as a way of understanding what a triolet is than reading about a triolet… Personally, I don’t do coffee, and share Reed’s puzzlement about the origins of the drink. It’s not quite as perplexing as the origins of smoking tobacco or injecting strange substance, but still a puzzle.

  8. Hypatia says:

    I’ve never written a triolet. I keep thinking I should give it a try.

    I liked both Reed and Teuchter’s. Bravo.

  9. Yay! I love learning new things, and today, thanks to you, Reed, I learned something. I bet I’ll retain it better than I did college calculus, as well.

    I liked both the poems. Must go to Teuchter’s place to visit.


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