Villanelle – Blimey that was hard.

so the Flash poetry thread I am currently enjoying gives us a challenge each week.  Hence the Sonnet a while ago.   This week the challenge was to write a Villanelle.  

I had never heard of one.  Sorry Stephen I know it’ll be in your book The Ode less Travelled but I haven’t got to it yet.  The form is very very specific.



This is the instruction we were given.

Five stanzas of three lines
One stanza of four lines.

The first stanza sets up the refrain – with a non rhyming line between.

This refrain is repeated – as the last line of stanza two 

And as the last line of stanza three so they skip to the bottom of the following stanzas in turn and then in the final stanza of four lines, they make up the last two lines.  The middle lines of each verse rhyme with each other. 

If you have read that you see my problem – in fairness to lovely Cariad who runs the thread she gave us an example. 

I love poetry.  I love my computer.  I almost ended up throwing the thing out of the window. I just couldn’t get it, it made no sense to me at all.  And yet, it had to be possible and the work that people were posting was lovely but I just couldn’t do it. 

Suddenly, it clicked into place.  It’s like everything else, once I had it I couldn’t see why I had been so dumb.  

Anyway.  This is the result.  I was quite proud of it to be honest. 


The geese are leaving in the evening light
I want to hold them and not have it so
Beat on beat on into the endless night

My life goes with them as they take to flight
Skeins and ribbons in the fading glow
The geese are leaving in the evening light

The stars are glimmering like diamonds bright
The moon will soon put on its magic show
Beat on beat on into the endless night

I watch them now until they’re out of sight
My eyes are streaming as I see them go
The geese are leaving in the evening light

I won’t be here to greet the new spring flight
I feel my heart now as it starts to slow
Beat on beat on into the endless night

I watched them soaring in the shadowed height
I feel the life force cease its vibrant flow
The geese are leaving in the evening light
Beat on beat on into the endless night



Filed under Poetry, Shorts and Stuff, thought for the day (or the week or maybe even the year)

12 responses to “Villanelle – Blimey that was hard.

  1. Wow. I admire your persistence. Lovely.

    And I wondered, some lines have a prognostic quality you might not intent …
    Maybe re-frame line 4, 13, 14 and 17


  2. Yes – I suppose the easiest way to convey the message is to say that when the geese are gone so will be my life and therefore I won’t see the Spring flight when they return. Gloomy or what 🙂


  3. Fran Macilvey

    It is lovely, Diane, and bears repeated reading. Thank you! xx 🙂


  4. Lovely lines, Diane. I agree, it can be hard to get the rhythm and the rhyme in formal verse, but sometimes it comes all by itself.


  5. Reblogged this on Diane's Stories Site – This is not the Children's site. and commented:

    Just outside collecting sweet chestnuts when the migrating geese flew over. Breathtaking as always. Fly well and bon voyage feathered friends it reminded me of this poem I wrote a while ago.


  6. Nik

    Excellent Diane – I would still be puzzling over it! Really nice to learn about something new as well so thanks for the explanation 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s