Of four, or: Of before

A Triolet

She served as doctor in the War
Parents, young brother in Ukraine
Close-knit, her family of four
She served as doctor in the War
No one survived from her Before
Her soul was crippled by the pain
She served as doctor in the War
Parents, young brother in Ukraine

d’Verse poetics: Grandmothers

This triolet is about my father’s mother, whom I only met as a preteen, after the USSR started falling apart in the late eighties. She was permanently traumatized by the Nazi’s total liquidation of her shtetl, including her parents and little brother, which she discovered upon returning home at the end of World War II.

I wrote it for today’s d’Verse prompt, which is to pen a grandmother-themed poem.


A Triolet is a poetic form consisting of only 8 lines. Within a Triolet, the 1st, 4th, and 7th lines repeat, and the 2nd and 8th lines do as well. The rhyme scheme is simple: ABaAabAB, capital letters representing the repeated lines.

Make writing a Triolet more challenging! Make each line 8 syllables in length (4 metrical feet), written in iambic tetrameter (the more common way), or try it in pentameter (English version) where each line only has 10 syllables (5 metrical feet).

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

73 thoughts on “Of four, or: Of before”

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ข Molly ๐Ÿ˜ข ~ yes ~ from my perspective, she was really more of a shell of a person than a relatable human being by the time I met her when I was ten-years-old or so.

      1. And I am reading a book “Not in God’s Name” by Jonathan Sacks which gives me insight of how the Jews became the scapegoat of difference nations’ internal conflict. A very educational book.

  1. The triolet might be my favorite form. When used to convey something of emotional weight, it somehow seems to bring that out better than any other form i know. Stellar stuff, my friend.

  2. ๐Ÿ’”Her soul was crippled by the pain๐Ÿ’”
    The soul, pure, powerful and peaceful
    Reading my heart is struck and bleeds for the pain โ€“
    She served as doctor
    Parents, young brother in Ukraine โ€“
    History and fate it is loud, the sound; pierces my ear.

    Your Grandmom
    Your Grandmom
    Left behind
    With the memories of her shetl
    Too much pain and sorrow.

    Just amazing how her story broke through in this form.

Leave a Reply to ben Alexander Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s