NaPoWriMo2020 Day 12 – Triolet

The prompt for NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo2020 Day 12 is to write a triolet. A triolet is eight lines long, but the first line gets repeated three times. There are only two rhymes used in the scheme. lays down the rules for playing with the triolet format.

Rules of the Triolet Form

The requirements of this fixed form are straightforward: the first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line is repeated in the final line; and only the first two end-words are used to complete the tight rhyme scheme. Thus, the poet writes only five original lines, giving the triolet a deceptively simple appearance: ABaAabAB, where capital letters indicate repeated lines.

April 12th also happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday. Referred to by all generations as “Granny Cuckson”, I personally called her Ma Cuckson, which seemed to tickle her. (I wonder if she remembered that 1930s desperado, Ma Barker? Edna had a certain unconventionality about her.) Born in 1914, she was of that generation of women who came to know their competance through Great Depression and dodging bombs during the Blitz. I think of that generation of women as putting on bravery with their lipstick. After the war, societal and political forces pretty much forced them back en masse into the domestic sphere. It chaffed. It cost many of them a great deal. This was also the generation that got prescribed a lot of valium.

My triolet’s line is a direct quote taken from Ma Cuckson from my first visit to Armagh when I was introduced to my husband’s family. Many complain about their mother-in-law, but I was blessed to experience a mutual fondness. Also, I was grateful that she cared enough to share that pearl of feminine wisdom with a relative stranger. It is a fine example of female solidarity, as well as advice to a future daughter-in-law.

Advice from a Mother-in-Law
 IM Edna Sarah Cuckson
Don’t go down with the bubbles in the sink.
Wisest words from a matriarch ever heard.
Keep your job. Then you can buy your own mink.
Don’t go down with the bubbles in the sink!
Domestic drudgery puts you in clink.
Keep the job. Housewife’s boredom can be cured.
Don’t go down with the bubbles in the sink.
Wisest words from a matriarch ever heard.
Copyright © Bee Smith, 2020. All rights reserved.

Edna Sarah with “The Miracle Twins”, Milford, Co. Armagh, c. 1951

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