The MINNESANG (Middle High German - minne = love) is a courtly love poem. But it was usually depicting unrequited love. The verse was cultivated by the nobility, and often built around the theme of a brave knight's attempt to court a lady who doesn't return his favor.
The Minnesang was meant to be sung but the melodies were not well documented and mostly only lyrics are left.
The defining features of the Minnesang are:
- stanzaic, written in uniform stanzas although the number of lines in the stanza per poem is variable, sixains were popular.
- metric, often iambic tetrameter with the last line of each stanza a longer Germanic line (Long lines written in a minimum of 7 metric feet, Accentual meter and often composed as 2 short lines in 1 usually separated by caesura) , iambic heptameter or octameter.
- rhymed, variable rhyme schemes were used, ababcc was common another was abbcaa .
You keen my senses, remove my defenses
Ravish perception like a tree in the fall
My mind is blind to half-love recompenses
I drink foolish hope from its chalice half-full
While subtly you strip the smile from my lip
I remain, a devoted beggar on your fingertip
Beneath your caress, casually you undress
The dearest and deepest measures of my heart
But I am a fool and oh, you are so cool
I gulp the pleasure purposed blindness imparts
While you seem to linger just out of my reach
From the tip of your finger I beg and beseech
You move through me, an invisible tempest
While my wanton tears wash your body; your feet
I do not feel the chill of disinterest
Until you have stripped me; your mission complete
I cannot hide; my emaciated form
Stands exposed; naked limbs reach to embrace sorrow’s storm
© Janet Martin