poetic forms / Poetry / writing

A Villain-Less Villanelle

villanelle is a nineteen-line poem consisting of five sections known as tercets followed by a final quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. I think this style it may have gone the way of the quill and ruffled collar, but I found one that I wrote many years ago for an English class. I think I made a “C” on it. Why would I possibly want to share this with the world? I’m sure if you are reading it that you might be posing this question. I don’t know except maybe to ask if anyone else writes these. If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments section. So here is example of mine:

Oh why save the Holt Hotel at last

That stands stoically on the corner of the street

A reverent, cemented reminder of the past.

Early founders now vanished, time passes so fast

Who tarried in these rooms to plan and meet

Oh why save the Holt Hotel at last?

Sally Rand and her bubbles, spellbinding with her cast

Danced rhythms wild upon her feet

A reverent, cemented reminder of the past.

The city where Bonnie and Clyde ran wild and vast

Never apprehended by sleezy sheriff Pete

Oh why save the Holt Hotel at last?

No statues here left to cast

Pioneers so solid that weathered the heat

A reverent, cemented reminder of the past.

And the secrets so torrid and decadent to tell

Will keep you glued concretely to your chair

Oh why save the Holt Hotel at last?

A reverent, cemented reminder of the past.

Now some examples of good ones:

Dylan Thomas

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, 

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night,

Elizabeth Bishop

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

Sylvia Plath

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;

At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head).



16 thoughts on “A Villain-Less Villanelle

  1. I thought that was really good! I am never able to stick to such a structured pattern and still keep a fun theme but for you it seems effortless. Also, glad you explained the villanelle or I would have thought it was a really tiny villain.

  2. Oh dear – I have to admit that I too never knew what a villanelle required, though I knew it was some obscure form of poetry. I love the Dylan Thomas piece, of course and while your effort cannot compare to his [who’s can?] it has it’s moments and does own a huge informatory piece of local history if nothing else. I so want to know who Sally Rand was with her bubbles and her feet dancing wild rhythms. 🙂 I enjoyed reading it and thank you for the lesson!

    • Thank you. …Dylan Thomas is wonderfully amazing and has always been one of my favorite poets. Sally Rand was a burlesque dancer and “actress”. She was known for her routines with bubbles and ostrich feathers. Apparently she spent some time lounging in our illustrious hotel. They did save this building and turned it into apartments.

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