A link in the golden chain (a villanelle, a haiku, and an exasperated gasp for free-form thought)

LL of Seedlings in Stone has thrown a very challenging prompt this week! Write a villanelle. A what? A villanelle is an Italian form of poetry that uses a complex and very limiting form and rhyme scheme. The idea is to disprove the notion that writing to a tight form prevents the effectiveness and beauty of a poem, and I’m not at all sure I’ve managed to do that here! I’ll let you click the link above to read about the form. I’m not one who enjoys writing poetry in form (although I sometimes do enjoy reading it), so this did not come gracefully. LL, thanks for the chance to step out of my comfort zone once again!

Here is the villanelle:


all you created
fell deep into sin
patiently you waited

we couldn’t be sated
with greed we took in
all you created

in sterile hearts jaded
entropy begin
patiently you waited

we mistook and hated
the One light within
all you created

and so desecrated
what good things had been
patiently you waited

in due time reinstated
a saviour..let Him in
all you created
patiently you waited


And along the lines of form poetry (no pun intended), here is a haiku that I wrote years ago. This one was actually published in a small parenting magazine (which has since stopped publishing, so I assume I’m safe to share it again).

Cohesion (a mothering haiku)

Graham crackers and juice
when combined will form a paste
sticker than Elmer’s


And finally, the process of writing the villanelle was so arduous that I felt like capturing the experience with another, free-form poem. Writing under the strict constraints of the villanelle felt like trying to dance Swan Lake wearing slippers made of concrete!

Bound by form

Words turn
to granite blocks
square and smooth
to be pushed, shoved, rolled
arranged and re-arranged
sweat drips from my brow
as I line up square walls
back to the cool grey slab
pushing, pushing

photo: fooling around in the car with the camera. This somehow quelled a need I felt this morning for randomness!

4 thoughts on “A link in the golden chain (a villanelle, a haiku, and an exasperated gasp for free-form thought)

  • May 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Good job taking on the challenge. I enjoyed all three. “sweat drips from my brow” is how I usually feel about trying to write. I always enjoy reading your work.

  • May 7, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Your haiku made me laugh! I think your villanelle works. The idea is that the repetition begins to build an emotional tone.

    And the last one… well, I’ll feature it as an antidote to my antidote. : )

  • May 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    i am so glad God is patient – i am also glad that you were patient enough to work with the form :0) your last poem made me smile


Leave a Reply