Got an Extra Hour? Write a Villanelle!

With the end of Daylight Savings Time,  J.P. and I decided to spend a little time on one of our favorite activities–writing poetry. And with an extra hour on our hands, it was time to tackle the famed villanelle!

Made famous by Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop, and Sylvia Plath, the villanelle is enjoying new popularity among contemporary poets. For examples and to see the rhyme-scheme, click here. I love them all, but I will never tire of Plath and her Mad Girl’s Love Song.

From a poet’s perspective, the villanelle can be rather “villanous” to compose, given its head-scratching structure. It’s not the best form for narrative poetry; it’s best for lyrical and more philosophic topics. Some poets use the villanelle to express ideas or thoughts that trouble them. My advice is to choose a topic that fascinates or moves you. You’re more likely to finish it!

J.P. and I composed our villanelles separately (promise!) but not surprisingly, we addressed in our way, the notion of time. For fun, we’ll share them below.

Don’t Seize the Day
Ashley Memory

Everyone says you should seize the day,
Bustle and hustle until the sun drops down.
But who has to listen to what they say?

A life worth having is not lived that way!
Muse at the sun, weave a clover crown.
Don’t listen to those who seize their days.

Revel in the roses, snuggle in the hay
Smile, just smile, while the others frown.
Never, never listen to what others say.

Do what you like; only yourself obey–
Sip at the fountain, be the talk of the town.
Don’t let anyone else seize your day!

At night let the stars guide your sleigh
and the moon wrap you in his gauzy gown.
He never listens to what others say!

Hours or dollars? What will you pay?
Time worth spent is far better found.
Everyone says you should seize the day
but who has to listen to what they say?

Save My Luck for Another Day
Johnpaul Harris

There seems to be no other way;
feel your love under the crescent moon
Save my luck for another day.

Play is work and work is play–
On the bed we two will spoon;
There seems no other way.

Kissing on your feet of clay
we celebrate new lemon bloom
Save my luck for another day.

We always know just what to say
and words to chase away the gloom
There seems to be no other way.

We seem to sift the time away
in endless space or tiny room
Save my luck for another day.

And the way we live from June to May;
a century would end too soon.
There seems to be no other way
Save my luck for another day.


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