Get Your Premium Membership

Italian Sonnet

An Italian sonnet is a type of poem that has two sections. It is a rhymed sequence that follows the pattern of a b b a a b b a. Clearly, the second section of the poem begins with the third 'a'. The change in section of the poem reflects a change in the subject matter. Usually, this means a shift in the tone of the poem as well.

The Italian sonnet is around 14 lines on average; 7 lines in the first section and 7 in the second. Many times the end of the Italian sonnet is a broken sentence or one that includes an en dash (--). Sometimes the rhyming pattern could be changed to a b b a a c c a, which removes the need for two sections of the poem. Either way works, though most people prefer the a b b a a b b a style to the a b b a a c c a style because the latter is classic and more well-known. 

A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba followed by six lines with a rhyme pattern of cdecde or cdcdcd. 


Turn back the heart you've turned away
Give back your kissing breath
Leave not my love as you have left
The broken hearts of yesterday
But wait, be still, don't lose this way
Affection now, for what you guess
May be something more, could be less
Accept my love, live for today.

Your roses wilted, as love spurned
Yet trust in me, my love and truth
Dwell in my heart, from which you've turned
My strength as great as yours aloof.
It is in fear you turn away
And miss the chance of love today!

James DeFord
July, 1997

[n] a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme pattern cdecde or cdcdcd

Related Information

More Italian Sonnet Links