I ran across Robert Peake‘s “The Silence Teacher” tonight, and was struck by how he made the terza rima work so well (as well as, of course, the rather heartbreaking subject matter). I’ve always felt terza rima sort of propels the reader forward by keeping the rhyme scheme going so you’re always in the middle of it (villanelles, too, though they feel more appropriate for subjects which spiral around a central idea, or move forward in iterations).
And while writing this post, I remembered quite a funny poem written in terza rima which I read some time ago, and, happily, Ploughshares will let you search their archives by keyword, so I could find it to share:
Let’s say God got in over his head,
Which really shouldn’t be much of a surprise
Since he couldn’t even be sure a thing was good,
Until he’d gone ahead with its creation.
You’ll remember He called us very good,
Which suggests His judgment is a bit in question
– Terza Rima for a Sudden Change in Seasons by Jacqueline Osherow