Thursday, November 02, 2006

Villanelle: Wounded


I know this clotting wound will never heal
But I can keep it clean for you, O Lord
Until the resurrection makes me real.

You rose with all your wounds; it’s no big deal
To fall on ploughshares and discover a sword.
I know this clotting wound will never heal.

The tragic movie spins from reel to reel,
The audience either suffering or bored
Until the resurrection makes them real.

I tell my wife, “Don’t ask me how I feel.”
Pain is less when pain can be ignored.
I know this clotting wound will never heal.

Minds are meant to know and lips to seal
But if I were an apple I’d be cored--
Until the resurrection makes me real.

I look inside and watch my blood congeal.
I know my way; it’s neither from nor toward.
I know this clotting wound will never heal
Until the resurrection makes me real.

There is a danger in villanelles of sacrificing substance to suit the form, and the required repetition can turn an average line into a bad one. But I won’t comment on today’s effort. It’s the effort that matters.

Kathleen returned to work yesterday and returned in a good deal of pain, but there are more workers in her area so she didn’t have to work as hard as before. She wears a back brace now, which I think is more helpful in reminding a patient of proper mechanics than any direct benefit. I tried a number of back braces when I still had hope for improvement. Yesterday my doctor suggested a long-acting narcotic for my pain but I told him I’d think about it. I must see a qualified psychiatrist to consult about my medications before I add another for mere physical pain, which is, as I have said before, not comparable to emotional pain. Perhaps the flagellation practiced by monks eased their spiritual pain more than denying the flesh. Pain can be a welcome distraction from depression because it seems real.

I should practice my HTML today, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to figure out how to log into my website from here. The course scares me because I’m a novice and have so much to learn. Then I remember that’s how I felt in nearly every course I’ve ever taken; I feel anxiety until I master the subject, so I try too hard too early to understand it all.

I don’t feel very chatty today.

At 3 Kilorats,



  1. it amazes me how easily you reel these off - I enjoyed it up till the last stanza which seemed forced by the form, I liked S3 the best - the mixing of big themes with small detail, it's what I love about Ahkmatova's writing.

  2. No doubt you're right, but I put in a phrase by Eliot there, speaking about eternity, that I thought helped the substance: "neither from nor toward."

    I do reel these off easily, a facility I had since I was a young child, I don't know why. They are exercises, and once in a while they qualify as poetry. Thanks for dropping by!


Please share your opinion!

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!