The villanelle is a poem of 19 lines made up of five 3-line stanzas and a 4-line stanza (quatrain) at the end. It has two repeated refrain lines and just two rhymes. The tercets rhyme a-b-a and the concluding quatrain rhymes a-b-a-a, with the sixth, twelfth and eighteenth lines repeating the first line, and the ninth, fifteenth and nineteenth lines repeating the third line. A tercet is a group of three lines of verse that rhyme with each other or with another group of three and it is partly the break between this 3-line stanza form and the final 4-line stanza that energizes the villanelle. The challenge for a poet is to establish two refrain lines that have equal power. These lines are kept apart from the beginning where they form the first and third lines of stanza one and though they relate to each other throughout the work, they do not appear as the couplet they really are until the end when they should come together in an unexpectedly satisfying way.
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