Friday, November 1, 2019

Poetry Friday: A Villanelle to Winter's Chill

Tanita threw out this challenge:  A villanelle on a wintry topic, including a pair of words (or homonyms thereof) from the following: bleak, draft, gutter, chill, chime, glitter, gust, harsh, rime, nip, thaw.

Brrrrrr!  A chilling task...and yet...faced with this, I ended up with....

...a love poem. How'd that happen?

How close

How close are we to ice and avalanches?
Far! Far! These are but gusty jabs and powder stings;
for kiss of starling’s tail knocks snow from branches.

Landing there, in tree still quick with green, he stanches
this dusting of winter’s rime, and clears himself a seat.
How close are we to ice and avalanches

if tree, armed in white, shrugs? forgoes stern glances?
offers us, again, shelter for embraces sweet
while kiss of starling’s tail knocks snow from branches?

We laugh, walk on, our linked arms a pair of flanches
circling our summer hearts, which shudder and beat.
How close we are! To ice and avalanches,

we seal our eyes; instead, swear love. If then winter blanches
pale our days, rosy still our shielded heat.
How close we are to ice and avalanches!
Yet kisses knock snow from branches.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

My Poetry Sisters' glittering poems can be found here:


Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha Yeats' The Opposite of Indifference.


  1. 👀👀👀
    I don't know either how you took such potentially edged words and sweetened them, but this is lovely and amusing. They're like, "what stabby icicles hanging from the roof?" Love is blind.

  2. I love that "how close we are", perhaps in all relationships if not guarded well, and the "we seal our eyes" a blessing or a curse? It is interesting that you wrote the love poem from the words, yet love holds many layers, doesn't it? Wonderful to ponder!

  3. ♥️ I love what you do with the scene -- the mischievous starlings, the stalwart tree, the summer hearts keeping warm in wintry tumult. It's all of life, isn't it? Love (and innocence?) keeping us from noticing how close we are to avalanches.

  4. My goodness...such tenderness and danger so close in this poem. Well done

  5. I adore your love poem here. As someone who has been married for 45 years, it represents much of it. There are many " gusty jabs and powder stings" but so long as we 'swear love' we are indeed "Far! Far! from ice and avalanches."

  6. Awww...I love the lovers amidst a winter wonderland.

  7. Oh, this is just wonderful! Both the love poem part and the snow shrugging off trees. There's always something so funny and shocking when I'm walking and a breeze or bird sends a mini-avalanche onto my head :>) Brilliant to use "kiss" as the verb for the starling's tail brushing the branch.
    Really enhances the love poem feel.


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