Anyway, here are the rules. Read them and weep. Thirty-nine lines divided into six six-line stanzas, ending with a triplet. Usually written in iambic pentameter.
You write your first six-line stanza. Note the words that are at the end of each line. Number them 1,2,3,4,5,6. These words continue as your end line words in the next five six-line stanzas, with their order varied as follows: 6,1,5,2,4,3 : 3,6,4,1,2,5 : 5,3,2,6,1,4 : 4,5,1,3,6,2 : 2,4,6,5,3,1. In the concluding triplet, you use the words again, the first line (usually) containing 2 & 5, the second 4 & 3, and the third, 1 & 6. (The order in the last three lines can vary.)
The form was invented by a certain Arnaut Daniel, in the late 12th century. Cheers, mate.
Here's my very first (and probably last) attempt.
Lesson three: the bow hold
A simple thing of wood and hair, the bow
is still a tricky thing to learn to hold.
With each new pupil, I know I must show
the different parts – the stick, the hair, the frog –
and they must get the knack of how to grip
this torture instrument; that’s what I teach.
It should be easy, but it’s not. To teach
a six year old the way to hold a bow
is harder than you think, because their grip
is feeble. Tiny fingers cannot hold
on tightly to the end we call the frog.
It’s no good telling – no – I’ve got to show.
I start at the beginning. First I show
them where to place the thumb – not hard to teach –
you put it by the notch that’s on the frog.
(The frog’s the black block screwed onto the bow
at this end; that’s the bit you have to hold.)
Be careful that it’s not too tight a grip.
Your middle finger opposite; now grip!
No, not like that. Here, let me, I will show
you how to do it, how to learn this hold.
I don’t know why this is so hard to teach,
the placement of the fingers round the bow,
but kids just want to know, why’s that a frog?
I never have an answer. Why a frog?
Who cares, who knows. Now come on. Get a grip.
It’s easy this. It’s just a fiddle bow
with thumb and fingers clasped around. I show
them easily enough. But how to teach?
It’s really hard to demonstrate this hold.
Now listen; all you have to do is hold
the toad, the green and slimy thing, the frog.
Don’t let it jump! (Ah, that’s how I should teach.)
I don’t think it’ll bite you if you grip
it gently, there, that’s better, you can show
your Mum that you’ve learnt how to hold the bow.
Some arrows for your bow? Now, hold on there.
You’ll show the frog some tricks? Look out! Don’t drop!
Grip hard – I’ll teach you archery next week…