V for Villanelle #NaPoWriMo2021


The Villanelle (came from villancico; Italian villano, or peasant) emerged as Italian and Spanish dance-songs during the Renaissance period. In france, it started as a ballad like free form. It did not follow any specific schemes, rhymes, or refrains. Rather, the title implied that, like the Italian and Spanish dance-songs, the poems spoke of simple, often pastoral or rustic themes. Overtime, it transformed into a form with a strict pattern and was used by English poets to write lyrical poems.

The Villanelle a highly structured poem with 19 lines, composed of six stanzas with five tercets(3 line stanzas) followed by a quatrain(4 line stanza). The poem uses two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The first and third lines of the first stanza are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. The form can be expressed as :-

A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2
Capitals stand for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes.

To get a better grip over the rules, read “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas 

Here’s my attempt at a Villanelle :-

Foolish I would be not to say but speak
of this new land with a waning king
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

The summer has left all rough and bleak
Desolate farms linger for the spring
Foolish I would be not to say but speak.

The birds all howl and squeak
Watching torrid green lost to a wring
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

I hunt not for righteousness, but only seek
With faith of a new day, and all it could bring
Foolish I would be not to say but speak.

The Emperor, he stands at the mightiest peak
While all else beneath him keeps breaking
And the pastures turning gray and weak.

What water couldn’t find in a lonely creek
We long for it with hope tied to a string
Foolish I would be not to say but speak
And the pastures turning gray and weak.



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