A Tritina is a mini version of a Sestina but there are three stanzas of three lines and a
final line. So, there are ten lines total. The three stanza’s use the same three ending
words in a pattern. The final line uses those same three words. It’s not as complicated
as it sounds especially considering that there is no rhyming scheme.

Here is the pattern: Stanza one ending words: A, B, C
Stanza two ending words: C, A, B
Stanza three ending words: B,C, A
Last line uses words A,B, C

Here’s my example:

“Learning to sing in the dark”

The night is empty without you and I’m
feeling a bit lost, wondering what you’re doing
under this cold moon of time. There’s a fine

line between a sad ending and a war, a fine
line between grief and death. Right now, I’m
somewhere in between. Suffering is doing

the work in me that love couldn’t–by not doing
for you, I’ve found a beauty in silence. I’m fine
with sitting in this space left by us. It’s cold but I’m

learning to sing in the dark and I’m doing just fine.


17 thoughts on “Tritina

  1. This simple explanation and modern example really help me understand the format in a way no other text has. Thank you for helping me explain the horizons of my poetry.

  2. Hi J.Lynn,

    This is a strongly emotive poem. The sense of loss grows as the repetitions roll forward. Your character’s counter to that loss at the end shows their strength.

    I would like to share this poem with my peers during our poetry workshop at UBC tomorrow. Would you permit me to share your poem in our session?


  3. J.lynn,

    Your Tritina is beautiful, and it touches on the personal side to which poetry can help express. Would you have any issue if I were to use your poem as an example for the writing workshop I will be facilitating tomorrow?

    I am a teaching artist from Teen Writers and Artists Project ( We hold weekly writing workshops known as “Wordplay”, and, as mentioned, I will be hosting one tomorrow. For my workshop I was to show writers specific structures for poetry, that being Sestina and Tritina poems. While I have a handout of “Tritina for Susannah” by David Yezzi already, I like yours since it shows a different, personal style that differs from Yezzi’s, and I would like my group to be exposed to both, differing Tritina poems.


    – A

    1. Astrid-I’m so happy to hear that teens are interested in learning poetry! That’s encouraging. What a great website too! Of course you may use my Tritina as an example in your workshop. I hope that it encourages your students to look deeply into themselves and use poetry to express what they are unable to speak aloud.

Speak to me of thoughts unspoken.

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