Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Villanelle: Reckoning


And then the judgment came upon all flesh.
We looked down at our feet. We couldn’t meet
The eyes of he who turned the world to ash.

The billionaires were scattering their cash
In frenzied example to the meek
And then the judgment came upon all flesh.

I heard great wheels grind, coming to thresh
And separate the tares out from the wheat;
And then the judgment came upon all flesh.

I thought some might be saved but hope was dashed
When mercy slunk away from every street:
The eyes of he that turned the world to ash.

The world resembled one festering abscess;
There was no cure except the hellish heat
Shot from the eyes that turned the world to ash.

Citizens mouthing "God" with every breath
Were silenced, forced to watch their sins accrete.
And then the judgment came upon all flesh:
The eyes of he that turned the world to ash.

Today’s villanelle was more difficult than usual because the end rhyme I picked for the first stanza, -esh, is hard to manage. Thus I allowed myself the liberties of slant rhyme, and while the syntax could be better, I am in no position to judge myself today. If fact, what artist can truly judge his work? I have always been amazed by which of my poems have been “hits,” in terms of the attention garnered through recital and publication, and which have not. Often what I think are my best poems don’t get much attention. That’s likely because what I think are my best poems are denser than most.

Yesterday Kathleen dragged me all over town in a surfeit of errands, but was kind enough to deposit me at a coffeehouse with a wireless hook-up for most of the time. At our home in the redwoods, the best we can get is dial up at 31 kbs. Maybe that will change if Ma Bell gets her act together. I don’t know about Hughes Net.

I had a difficult day yesterday, but my mood improved late at night, which is par for the course in depression. I don’t like my morning anxiety, but there’s nothing for it. I can hardly believe I’m still struggling in my eighth month of depression. What I pray for is a full remission.

At 1 Kilorat,



  1. no wonder you're depressed...

    31kbs...that's wrist slitting speeds.
    I was only sulking this morn as my connection was a poxy 7.4 mbps...

    thankyou again Mr C, this time for letting me be grateful for the things I have...

    as for the poem...it's ok, personally i dislike the subject matter, or at least certain aspects of it.

    One small thing though, the repeated 'the eyes of' line... should not 'he' be 'He'?

    anyway...who am i to judge...


  2. CE

    I don't know how you manage to write a villanelle every day. You deserve a full remission for that effort alone.

  3. Ah, but Rob, it's based on faith, not works. Can't be earned. I left Christ out of the poem, of course. Went to your site to comment on your sonnet but it was not working. I'll try again.

    As for the subject matter, inconsequential, it is just a dramatic set-up--the last judgment is so pervasive in Western culture--and doom still hovers over us in global warming and nuclear stockpiles and such--a more contemporary form of the last judgment.

  4. Yes, I took it to be global warming. Right now I could do with some, it's Baltic here. Hard to think about the state of the world at present without feeling enraged and powerless.

    Good luck with your recovery, even getting out is good news in your situation. I've had situational depression, physical illness and drug side effects, and that was bad enough.

    Redwoods sound wonderful.


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