Know the Pattern

The villanelle uses two rhymes (designated by a and b), five tercets and one ending quatrain (or five three-line stanzas and one four-line stanza), and two repeating lines (designated by ¿I1 and A —the first and third lines of the first tercet, which repeat alternately as the third line of each following tercet and, finally, as the ending two lines). Thus, the form: A*b A2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 A2. If you are having difficulty visualizing the pattern, check this villanelle that I composed earlier according to methods outlined here:

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