Tell me, please, where did the time go?
I don’t know
Was my life until now a sham?
Who I am
Could my past be the current cause?
Or who I was
Lost in my absent mind, I pause
Where am I without memory?
The very essence that makes me
I don’t know who I am, or who I was
The ovillejo is an old Spanish form popularized by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). This 10-line poem is comprised of 3 rhyming couplets (or 2-line stanzas) and a quatrain (or 4-line stanza).
The first line of each couplet is 8 syllables long and presents a question to which the second line responds in 3 to 4 syllables–either as an answer or an echo.
The quatrain is also referred to as a redondilla (which is usually a quatrain written in trochaic tetrameter) with an abba rhyme pattern. The final line of the quatrain also combines lines 2, 4, and 6 together.
Spanish Poetry Forms