Friday, July 30, 2021

Poetry Friday: The Dichotomy of Villanelles

I wasn't sure about pairing villanelles with the theme of dichotomy. After all, the form is all about repetition, with the first and third lines echoing throughout the nineteen line poem. Didn't that make for an argument of accumulation rather than one of division?  

Of course, there are only two end rhymes---a and b---so maybe that could hold some opposites. Or not. I honestly was stumped, and had done zero prep for our ZOOM write-in. But when I opened my document to noodle around during our session, I found a gift---the "dud" line that Linda Mitchell had given me in last month's "clunker exchange:"  

"A year, or maybe a century ago"

Hey! That was, if not exactly a dichotomy, at least a contradiction. And as for the idea of time itself, that's also rife with paradoxical fact, my first laughable line to pair with the so-called "clunker" was a bona fide stinker:  

Does time fly, or does it flow?  

Didn't matter. I was headed somewhere. I had words on the page. And eventually, I wrote my way into a villanelle, and perhaps some delicious dichotomy. 

A year, or maybe a century ago
we were bitter young; we were freshly old
our hearts a creek in overflow

what we might do, where we might go
too weak to bear, if not be bold
a year, or maybe a century ago

the questions stung, but blow by blow
answers came, not one pre-told
our hearts a creek in overflow

broken neat, we mended calico
embraced by time’s sweet stranglehold
a year, or maybe a century ago

we brightly sunk to yawning low
crested yet in rivulets of shadow-fold
our hearts a creek in overflow

making of the rocky earth an archipelago 
unbounded yet, a swelling unconsoled 
a year, or maybe a century ago  
our hearts a creek in overflow.

-----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)  


My poetry sisters are here:

Mary Lee (welcome to the poetry sisters!)







Poetry Friday is hosted today by Becky at Sloth Reads