High road sky road – poem for dVerse

Following the sky-road,
rook goes his own way
the heaven-circling high road –

grave-groping, muffle-toed,
sloe-black flight feathers splayed,
following the sky-road –

lark-light brings early glow,
rook wakes himself to take
the heaven-circling high road.

I hear his dark-vowelled tones
come from the ash all day,
marking the sky-road,

owl-light comes, purpling slow,
rook still has time to play
on heaven-circling high roads;

evening mists roll, moon blown,
rook hides his head away,
dreams of the sky-road,
the heaven-circling high road.

A villanelle for Laura’s beautiful prompt over at dVerse. We are inspired by Dylan Thomas and his love of words.

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Sea craving – villanelle III for dVerse

Some of us live knowing we may drown,
yet something in us cannot keep away:
we’re still in thrall to the sea’s wild sound.

We walk a tightrope. Risk is all around,
we know fear, but we cannot feel afraid –
some of us live knowing we may drown

at the world’s edge, where the dark waves pound.
As the last light fades into soft grey,
we’re still in thrall to the sea’s wild sound.

Days when the sand is sugar brown,
and the lace-edged wavelets sweetly play,
some of us live, knowing we may drown

and when the storm is raging all around
and waves crash in and roll and roar away,
we’re still in thrall to the sea’s wild sound.

You’ll know us. We are restless in the town.
We itch to leave, take the sea-road away –
some of us live knowing we may drown,
yet still in thrall to the sea’s wild sound.

Oh, but I love a villanelle. This is my third for dVerse, where it’s our “form for all” this month.

The wildness of the heart – villanelle for dVerse II

Let’s seek some comfort, you and I:
here the bright flames dance in the grate;
there the white stars are cold and high,

small thing pause at the fox’s cry,
they shiver, and they hesitate;
let’s seek some comfort, you and I.

The barn owl now swoops silent by
the lane end, and the sagging gate,
there the white stars are cold and high,

but here is wine, dark as a sigh,
and a warm place to contemplate –
let’s seek some comfort, you and I.

We are sheltered from the wild
by the walls that we create –
there the white stars are cold and high,

and the moon calls from the night sky,
and out there, adventures wait,
so let’s seek comfort, you and I,
where the white stars are cold and high.

One of the advantages of hosting for dVerse is that you know what prompt you’re doing, and have a chance to get a head start on everyone else. Here’s a villanelle for this month’s form exploration.

My Art – villanelle for dVerse. I

At 21 I thought I’d learned that art –
of losing. God, I was a fool.
What had I lost? A sliver of my heart.

I had the knack of holding just apart,
raising an eyebrow, looking pretty cool:
at 21, I thought I’d learned that art –

sometimes I thought that things would never start –
that life, and men, and love, were simply cruel.
What had I lost? A sliver of my heart.

“The art of losing” seemed to be a part
of my life – I lost keys and lovers, too –
at 21, I thought I’d learned that art –

but things that slipped and slid and fell apart
were nothingmuch. A moment’s pang, or two:
what had I lost? A sliver of my heart?

I learned that gaining sits at losing’s heart –
we grow through losing things, it’s true –
at 21 I thought I’d learned that art:
what had I lost? A sliver of my heart.

I’m hosting the “Form for all ” prompt at dVerse this month. We are working on our villanelles – such a beautiful form. This is my tribute to Elizabeth Bishop’s famous “One Art”.

My technique for writing a villanelle is fairly simple. I find a killer couplet, and then jot down a list of rhyming words for that. Then I write the first verse, and jot down a list of rhyming words for my middle line. Then I let the rhymes lead me – it’s almost a meditative process. You have to be careful about your key words though. Don’t choose something like “scissors” as one of your key rhyming words.

Please join us, and share your villanelling this month.

Once upon a – poem for dVerse

Once upon a diamond night
Music tumbled from these halls,
Stars hung like candles, clear and bright

Hands reach out and feet take flight,
Lovers join within these walls,
Once upon a diamond night

Her face is dazzling to his sight,
And as he gazes, he recalls
Stars hung like candles, clear and bright.

Mirrors reflect the dancing lights,
The to and fro that never palls,
Once upon a diamond night

She turns to flee as midnight strikes –
On the step her slipper falls,
Stars hang like candles, clear and bright

Now he searches day and night
For one who’ll answer when he calls,
Come dancing through the diamond night,
and stars like candles, clear and bright.

 

With a prompt like that, I couldn’t resist a little fairytale romance, and a villanelle seemed to fit. All our poems must start with “Once upon a…” – Lillian is prompting at dVerse tonight.

Polite – villanelle – poem for dVerse

I cannot see the kindness in your life,
yet I can’t say I’ve ever known you rude:
you wield politeness like a little knife.

I’ve sat through dinners without any strife,
the wine’s flowed freely, and you’ve served good food,
but I can’t see the kindness in your life.

I’ve watched you undermine your darling wife,
and mention things no husband ever should:
you wield politeness like a little knife.

You shake your head, and wince at modern life,
and hanker after times that weren’t so crude,
but I can’t see the kindness in your life

You say you hate the brashness that’s so rife,
yet somehow you afflict us with your mood:
you wield politeness like a little knife

Your jokes are sharper than a surgeon’s knife,
you’re confident, and yet I think that you’ve
not known of any kindness in your life;
you wield politeness like a little knife.

 

 

More repetition for Jilly at dVerse. A Villanelle this time. 

The body as a state of union – NaPoWriMo 11

I have to admit, I got nothing from this prompt. However, I was determined to do it, so I turned to the trusty old Villanelle, thinking that some intense structure would help. It did. Now that I’ve done this, I’m wondering if I’ll suddenly get some inspiration for a stunning poem about my body as a nation state. If I do, I’ll let you know. Having said that, I guess inspiration is inspiration, wherever it comes from – even if it ends up being anti-inspiration.

I am an entity within my skin.
How often do I see myself that way?
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

I’m blood, and flesh, and bones, and soul, built in
To something more than just the living clay:
I am an entity within my skin.

And yet, it feels like me, this scribbling pen,
Noting down all those words I wish to say –
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

I guess it all depends on my instinct-
What’s me, what is kept close or pushed away –
I am an entity within my skin

Yet something physical is the linchpin,
My parts consider, conference, convey
Where my self ends, and where the world begins.

I’m not a team that’s setting out to win,
I’m like a  cast, that improvised a play,
Am I an entity within my skin?
Where do I end? Where does the world begin?

November Yeats #13

‘Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.’ 
‘The Hosting of the Sidhe’ by W.B. Yeats.

Leave aside your mortal dreams
And step into their world of night,
Nothing is quite as it seems

On the terrace, peacocks scream
And show themselves for your delight,
Leave aside your mortal dreams,

In the hall, they primp and preen,
Display their beauties to your sight,
Nothing is quite as it seems.

Dance with shadow kings and queens,
Draped in dark robes of midnight,
Leave aside your mortal dreams.

Gorge yourself on chocolate creams,
Whipped from kisses and moonlight –
Nothing is quite as it seems –

But beware their tangled schemes,
And their smiles – a touch too bright? –
Leave aside your mortal dreams:
Nothing is quite as it seems.

A Villanelle today, inspired by Jane, and her good friend W B Yeats. The Sidhe are tricky folk, full of glamour and illusion. Best not to trust them. 

NaPoWriMo 27 – exploring taste

The tastes of summer float upon the breeze,
Look, and you’ll find them, here among
The tang of berries, ripped up basil leaves:

Lick salty skin from playing in the sea’s
Wild rolling waves the whole day long –
The tastes of summer float upon the breeze –

Picnics laid out beneath green shading trees,
Faint woodsmoke tang, that floats and weaves among
The tang of berries, ripped up basil leaves –

Vanilla kisses soothing grass-scratched knees,
Wild thyme, the flavour of a sky lark’s song,
The tastes of summer float upon the breeze –

Pods popping, bright green shiny peas
Bounce on your palm, and roll upon your tongue,
The tang of berries, ripped up basil leaves.

Relish it all, before the summer leaves,
Flavours fade quickly, and the nights grow long,
The tastes of summer float upon the breeze,
The tang of berries, ripped up basil leaves.

NaPoWriMo invites an exploration of taste. I struggled with inspiration. The Red Queen advises Alice:  if in doubt drop a curtsey. If she were a poet she would advise: if in doubt, try a villanelle. 

NaPoWriMo 17 – Nocturne

We have lost the very last of the light
Seeped from the edge of the sky at last
But, see, the stars are so very bright

We’re not quite ready to say goodnight
And the wine has grown darker in my glass –
We have lost the very last of the light.

The moths are foolish, they feel no fright,
As the candle lures them in at last,
When, see, the stars are so very bright.

There are rustlings happening out of sight,
Perhaps a fox, swift stalking past,
We have lost the very last of the light

Now the moon is rising, a sliver of white,
A lantern hung on a midnight mast,
And see, the stars are so very bright.

We sat and talked, and laughed all night –
Hard to believe how quickly it passed –
We have lost the very last of the light,
But, see, the stars are so very bright.