Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Villanelle: Not Alone; Dog Doo-Doo

Not Alone

Walk with me, Peter, we are not alone.
The time has come for all good men to shine.
There’s nothing more for which we can atone.

Demosthenes would chew upon a stone
To make his speech a little more divine.
Walk with me, Peter, we are not alone.

Our life requires us like a miser’s loan.
Who makes more of it than a crooked line?
There’s nothing more for which we can atone.

Although I wish my earthly span were done,
The salmon finds the river through the brine.
Walk with me, Peter, we are not alone.

The phoenix burned his past, now he is gone,
The sphinx misunderstood for all this time.
There’s nothing more for which we can atone.

Who were the monsters living in your home?
Childhood is peopled with their kind.
Walk with me, Peter, we are not alone.
There’s nothing more for which we can atone.

I received no suggestions for a new form so I thought I’d tackle a villanelle today. It proved easier than I feared, but I doubt I can write one every day for a month. Then I doubt a lot of things about myself right now. But I would say that form is good for a depressed poet. It gives one a structure with which to begin. And one line builds toward another, and soon you have a poem.

It is not surprising that many here send me their good wishes and suggestions for my illness. That is the compassionate side of human nature which we all treasure. But in truth I would rather hear comments about my verse, as that is something outside of me. That we can discuss without the “me.” A poem has to stand on its own. And in writing I forget myself for a time.

Kathleen went back to work today, despite the fact that I think her back too bad to do such work; she has a bulging or ruptured disk at L5—S1, with changing sciatica. She was, however, determined to return on her scheduled date. I hope she does not come home in agony. She can be very stubborn about things like this, and I hate to see her in pain.

I almost threw up this morning. I had to prepare Kenyon’s food, a mix of wet and dry food, plus add giblets and juice from last night’s chicken as instructed by Kathleen, though I was forbidden to give him the neck. The sight of congealed, yellow, floating chicken fat in a cold soup, which I poured into his dish (he ate all his food), was sickening. Afterwards on our morning walk he had trouble evacuating completely and ended up soiling his long golden fur with green. I had to hose him off when we came home. His anus was particularly sensitive to the procedure. I hope I haven’t grossed you out, but it is important for me to write about things beside myself.

So dear reader, I bid you adieu—or a-doo-doo as it were.

At 3 Kilorats and holding,



  1. Maybe you could try writing in a different form each day for a month? For the next 10 days, say:

    terza rima
    iambic tetrameter quatrains
    Sapphic stanzas
    rhyming couplets
    blank verse
    quatrains in same rhyme scheme as Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

    And you can take it from there... This would be fun to read, that's for sure.

    Your villanelle today has possibilities from the first 3 stanzas. After that, its images don't all seem to belong to the same poem. But not bad for a draft.

  2. Why not get a combination?

    there was an old doc with a case
    of the sad-sacky blue-blacky space
    dripping over his time,
    and his very fine rhymes,
    so now it's starting to show on his face

    maybe not


  3. Rob, thanks for the suggestion. I think I'll stick with villanelles for a little while. And although I rarely defend a poem, I thought the last three stanzas expanded on "not alone" in new ways--the phoenix burning his past as an example of trying to escape his singularity, for instance.

    Beau Blue, thanks for the limerick. As for my face, you can go through my photos from a very early age and see if I'm depressed or not. Very strange how it changes.

  4. I find this form so difficult- haven't tackled it sucessfully yet. Brownie points and gold stars for you- (from another willfully shameless bipolar).


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