Tag Archives: villanelle

Only Our Effort: villanelle

I don’t believe that gods watch us at all,
or bother with our lives in any way;
only our effort makes or breaks our fall.

Perhaps it gives us hope, such folderol,
or cheats fear-mongers of their gruesome play.
I don’t believe that gods watch us at all.

The truth is that no matter who we call,
if answers come, it’s not because we pray.
Only our effort makes or breaks our fall.

We find no mule is kicking in that stall,
just empty promise of reward, someday.
I don’t believe the gods watch us at all.

Some say that god’s an ocean, us, salt dolls;
that finding the divine, we melt away.
Only our effort makes or breaks our fall.

From dust we come, and back to dust we crawl;
there is no proof of any other way.
I don’t believe that gods watch us at all;
only our effort makes or breaks our fall.

07 JUN 2017

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Ah, New Orleans: a villanelle

The air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.
Old ghosts play hide and seek in sheets that show more recent use;
the wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

Old men of different colors sit on their front steps and broil,
and stare across at one another, hearts filled with abuse;
the air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.

Some drunken fools careen along the street, in beads and foil
and pay five dollars to discover “where they got their shoes”.
The wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

For two weeks in the spring, pre-Lent, the tense peace turns turmoil,
and you don’t want to see OPP for the weekend, that’s old news;
the air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil.

If you look closely, underneath the surface, a slow boil
festers even in the minds of drunken revelers at Krewes.
The wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

So come to spend your money here; we’ll throw our beads at you
and like as not you’ll end up poorer but show no scar or bruise.
The air is thick with history, with years of sweat and toil;
the wiser tourists avoid alleys and shun Bourbon’s roil.

29 JUN 2004

By request, here is a villanelle that theoretically also provides some impressions of New Orleans. Although I have to admit, feeling rather Tom Waitsy at the moment, the picture I’ve chosen to put in the Viewmaster for this one is a bit on the sadistic side. But then again, Nawlins does have that contingent. Ya know, vampires and all. With bondo fangs and everything. Giving tours. Pointing out witches … and strippers.

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Our Children’s Lives: a villanelle

Adventure here finds peril where great mystery still thrives;
it won’t respond to reason or attempts to understand
the me-o-centric universe that is our children’s lives.

A place where having grown ourselves, we’ve proved we can survive,
although what proof we have is often just in theory; and
adventure here finds peril where great mystery still thrives.

A mad morass of clique and class, peer pressure and sex drive,
that we have with experience found the strength to withstand:
the me-o-centric universe that is our children’s lives.

They simply want more everything, and each day are deprived;
and nothing is deemed good enough or goes the way it’s planned.
Adventure here finds peril where great mystery still thrives.

The constant webs they weave, and the perspectives they contrive
are foreign now, though once we were their age, and knew firsthand
the me-o-centric universe that is our children’s lives.

Successful navigation of this world is one in five;
and those who last intact are held in awe and great demand.
Adventure here finds peril where great mystery still thrives:
the me-o-centric universe that is our children’s lives.

15 APR 2004

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Among the Trees: a villanelle

I have sought among the trees for peace,
and found in their shade a quiet knowledge;
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

The echoes of time are within their sky-bound reach;
and to find my own small sound in their endless song
I have sought among the trees for peace.

The many years I spent, wasted, in universities,
and the words I threw, mindless, at the world, seem trite.
There is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

And all the wild students I thought I could teach,
have grown apart from me in spite, and so
I have sought among the trees for peace.

Between two worlds I often stand, unsure which way to leap,
and listen to the oak and pine, their quiet words of wisdom:
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

While other fools proselytize and in their sadness, preach,
I have found solace in the branches of another school.
I have sought among the trees for peace;
there is a humbling silence in their ancient speech.

24 NOV 2002

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