Someone on dA recently expressed surprise at the fact that I’d written a villanelle. (I wrote it several years ago when I still had delusions of improvement and publication…) Villanelles are in some ways a more recent structure form. They were supposedly inspired by medieval troubadours and ballads, but the ossification of the structure didn’t actually occur until the 19th century. Practically an infant form compared to the sonnet! The most famous example is Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.
I am certainly no Thomas, but it’s one of the few more formally structured poems I’ve managed and been relatively pleased with the outcome. Given that it suits this time of year, I figured I’d share it on here.
The cold brown earth melts and heaves,
dries from the effort, cracks with thirst.
And I wait for the first green leaves.
The wind howls every night, it grieves
the lost winter; this waiting time is worst.
The damp brown earth swells and heaves.
The last snow melts off the sloping eaves.
On bare branches forsythia bloom first.
And seeing them, I wait for the leaves.
Squirrels scurry and dig like comic thieves,
trying to retrieve food winter dispersed.
Under their paws the brown earth turns and heaves
On rough skinned trees a small spider weaves.
Spiral buds are swollen, about to burst.
And I wait for the birth of the leaves.
I am the audience who perceives
the play unfolds, eternally rehearsed.
The soft brown earth swells and heaves.
And I wait for the pale green leaves.