Rime Royal Creative Writing Exercise

During one class session of Intro to Writing about Literature, students discussed the rime royal stanzaic form of Troilus & Criseyde. Students examined particular stanzas and investigated the various ways in which Chaucer exploits the form. Spontaneously, one student proposed that the class should collectively write a narrative poem in rime royal. The rest of the class seconded the motion, and students quickly settled on a theme (buying a sandwich at a New York City bodega). Students assigned themselves portions of their story, and each student wrote their portion for homework.
This exercise allowed students to play with Chaucer’s stanzaic structure. Some students even dexterously exploited the rhyme pattern’s ability to neatly arc, dramatically pause, and aphoristically conclude. (They showed, in effect, that they had internalized the class discussion about Chaucer’s use of the form.) Other students generated ingenuous rhymes (e.g. La Mega/Bodega; Hamlet/wallet). The poem took its title from one student’s surreal phrase, “My Future Milkshake.”
My Future Milkshake
Intro to Writing about Literature (Spring 2014)

As I walked outside my house
I noticed an intoxicating smell lurking me in
I felt more awake and ran with my blouse
To be this hungry should be a sin
I heard my stomach singing a hymn
While walking there I heard the speakers blast La Mega
I had finally arrived at the Bodega.
                                                —Sahib Singh
I make my way to the sandwich maker
hunger is guiding my every stride
My stomach growls as my energy wavers
until I make it out of here alive,
Perhaps I will, cause there is no line
I have the cook’s attention and make my plea
Could you make a sandwich for me
                                                —Alaska Santelices
Glancing upon the great pile of food
But then a smell that seems as if sent from hell
Besides this the rest of the food looks good
Pickles should not have a store that should sell
“Don’t add those green monsters to my sandwich” I tell
Let me say what I really want
This sandwich is what I will flaunt.
                                                —Vedha Toscano
my eye gazed upon the cold glass fixture
I knew what I needed to eat today
I craved beef in my mind, I saw the picture
the roasted sort, rye bread, as take away
I pass the glass yet my eye goes astray
Is this right? May I need a second thought
I should reconsider before my buy is bought
                                               —Robert Garin
For I thought that I knew
But, now I must recall I know better
and in fact I don’t want that sandwich but,
something that will sate me and this hunger getter
Yes I will tell him now and write a letter
Now to think what can make this hunger settle
If I can’t concentrate with steaming settle
                                                —Stephanie Cabrera
I am really hungry
this is all the time
But I want a sandwich
I want it to be mine
with some lettuce
maybe some cheese
please hold the mayo
it makes me queeze
on some wheat bread
maybe some rye
but now I’m starving
and that’s not a lie
                                                —Natalie Muñoz
He blinked and stared up at me
with gorgeous deep blue eyes
that resembled the endless sea
It sent my heart into a rise
and made me ache with unwanted goodbyes
I smiled dreamily and fled
with all the words I haven’t said
                                                —Karishma Deonarain
Karishma is staring at the cashier
While I’m looking at my future milkshake
She holds up the line, while I am in fear
of losing my chance at my favorite shake
I tell her to hurry and stop being fake
From my yell I get slapped in the process
I’ll never do it again, no shake, no success
                                                —Benedict Acunin
OH, wait a minute with that sandwich,
I apologize that I forgot my wallet.
My mind made me leave it right next to the power switch.
It was the dog’s problem that I was reading Hamlet.
The construction man has to fix the toilet.
Please, can you let me have my mood.
I’m really hungry for my food.
                                                —Jian Cong Liao
I suddenly remember my new diet,
Which tells me not to eat a bit of bread. 
But, sandwich ordered, my duty’s now to buy it;
My hunger reconciles with my head.
Plus, by the sweet cashier my heart is fed. 
I can forgive myself this one brief cheat
Since it allows my soul its favorite treat!
                                                —Hilary Marking
the delicious sandwich I so desire
I listen to the roast beef calling my name
yet the sandwich I cannot acquire
my puppy’s eyes tell me I’m so lame
the anger arises in me, you’re worth the same.
I cry out to the cashier, let us trade
I finally reward my heart with a parade.
                                          —Christine (Sung Eun) Sul
And with the delicious sandwich in hand
I took the change and turned to take my leave.
Walking away from that amazing stand,
the sandwich’s smell I had started to heave.
I took a bite, hoping the taste to please.
And when the juices started to trickle
I realized the sandwich still had pickles.
                                           —Kevin Heatherly