Whittled Words – Villanelle Poem

 

 

Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:

 

VILLANELLE POEM

 

The villanelle, like the other French forms, does have many of the same properties: plenty of rhyme and repetition. This French form was adapted from Italian folk songs (villanella) about rural life. One of favorite poems, and a great contemporary Villanelle is “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” by Dylan Thomas.

The villanelle consists of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. The first and third lines of the first stanza become refrains that repeat throughout the poem. It looks like this:

 

A(1)
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)

a
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)

a
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)
A(2)

 

 

Examples of Villanelle Poems:

 

REGRET

by Paris Elizabeth Sea

How easily I’ve won her toddler’s trust
Infectious smiles between us strangers, three
Where we can do good, we must

Her mother’s frazzled nerves are clearly bust
She asks a favour sensing I’ll agree
How easily I’ve won her toddler’s trust

Can I watch her, for a moment, just?
(There’s something in the car, forgotten, see)
Where we can do good, we must

I am a woman with a heart of gold, not rust
The child is safe as long as she’s with me
How easily I’ve won her toddler’s trust

I am a kite, and she a winsome gust
My spirits lift, the moments adding free
Where we can do good, we must

And now an hour’s gone and bit the dust
Still, the mother’s not returned to me
How easily I’ve won her toddler’s trust
Where we can do good, we must?

 

EMBEDDED HEAT

By Jane Penland Hoover

My heart longs once more to endure desire,
trembling sensuous sensation, sweet
mounting rhythms roar, burning wild, like fire.

Delicious sense, the sticky maple, we conspire,
eat loaded stack at IHOP, in our seat.
My heart longs once more to endure. Desire

drives us around the base, Stone Mountain’s spire,
where he asked and I nodded yes. Then sleet
mounting, white rhythms beat and roar, wild like fire.

Cold mess of frozen limbs and tongues grows dire
with loss. We stumble on — amazing feat.
My heart longs once more to endure desire.

With steel promises we shield our empire,
from ills marauding to undo complete.
Mounting rhythms roar, burning wild like fire.

Now, latent embers, we excite to inspire
each others mischief. Wistful smiles replete,
my heart longs once more to endure desire,
mount the rhythms roar; burn bright, like wild fire.

 

THE SEA CALLS

By Brad Osborne

Raise the anchor and set the sail

Your life is out on the green-blue sea

Be the Captain in thy seafarer’s tale

 

Avast, all hands to port and man the rail

Cast off the ropes, we’re bound for Tripoli

Raise the anchor and set the sail

 

This voyage not for the weak or the frail

Be strong and steady as I know you be

Be the Captain in thy seafarer’s tale

 

Tie the cannon against the gunwale

Keep the powder dry and at the ready

Raise the anchor and set the sail

 

Man the helm and mind the winds that prevail

Sextant and stars keep your right course steady

Be the Captain in thy seafarer’s tale

 

Return as swift as you can and regale

With the wonderous sights you did see

Raise the anchor and set the sail

Be the Captain in thy seafarer’s tale

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own Villanelle poem. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Comments
3 Responses to “Whittled Words – Villanelle Poem”
  1. Jim Borden says:

    I like this style of poem, and you did it justice with your wonderful words. For some reason, I felt my inside voice talking like a pirate as I read your poem! And the first poem almost seemed like it could be the start of a horror story – I was worried about what may happen to the child.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Arrgh, thank you, matey! There is probably a little pirate in all of us. And, I agree the first one leaves you wondering the person’s intentions, but it is written beautifully. Thanks for all the support Jim, and we will be seeing you soon!

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