Friday, 25 April 2014

rejuVenated and liVely



is for Villanelle


This is another fixed form that is a favourite because of its musicality.  If ever a form emphasised the point that poetry should be declaimed/read out loud then villanelle is surely that fixed form.


Basically it consists of five tercets and one ending quatrain, so it is a 19 line poem.  It uses repetition and refrains for its structure and the rhyme scheme is a bi-rhyme that goes A1bA2 abA1 abA2 abA1 abA2 abA1A2, A1 and A2 being the repeated refrains.  Here’s my villanelle:



In the moment


The day is gone before I come awake
the phone alarm goes off at six o’clock;
dawn doesn’t happen at every day break.


The whirr of machines, the rubbish trucks’ brake
the early workers’ cycles bell the block;
the day is gone before I come awake.


The window curtains still remain opaque
the coffee gently bubbles steam and smoke;
dawn doesn’t happen at every day break.


Square meals are done; we each sit down and take
our usual fare in silence and small talk;
the day is gone before I come awake.


Doors open and shut, empty, the rooms ache
I turn the routine keys in routine locks;
dawn doesn’t happen at every day break.


From the past to this moment’s mistake
from six to ten to six in one fell stroke.
The day is gone before I come awake,
dawn doesn’t happen at every day break.





The form is a recent one and has made its way from the French into English only in the 19th century.  The original word comes from Italian for “country song” where it had no fixed form for a long time.  The strict bi-rhyme format was devised in the 19th century, but most modernists turned up their noses at it. It was revived and came into its own only in the 1930’s.  Many modern poets have written villanelles, such as Sylvia Plath and  Dylan Thomas. 







Posted for the A-Z Challenge.



12 comments:

  1. I have a friend who wrote a poem with this format and I'd never heard it before. Thanks for explaining what it is and why. And also, thank for dropping by my blog...

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    1. Entirely a pleasure, Lisa, thank you for stopping by..

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  2. The mudanr everyday tasks well expressed :)

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    1. Mudane * I'm turning into a typo queen lol

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    2. The queen's position is already taken by me :D however I can offer you princess or duchess, which do you prefer? :p

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    3. Ooh a duchess shall suffice for now methinks :D

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  3. I for the life of me caanot write a poem ... But should ask my husband if he knows abt Villanelle

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    1. Lucky woman to have a poet for a husband, wow! :)

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  4. I remember studying these in AP English back in high school and enjoying them. Sestinas too.

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    1. Sestinas are much harder to write. But equally lovely to read of course.

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  5. I can appreciate the form even if I'm unfamiliar with it. I've been to a few poetry readings, but not recently. Thanks for the info.

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Thank you for stopping by! If you are here from the A-Z, please leave me your link. A clicky link would be super, but just your url pasted in will do fine too. Just please, please, don't leave me to figure things out from a Google profile! :-)