Tag Archives: villanelle

I Should Never Have Started This Villanelle



Thinking of it now, truth to tell
I should have said goodnight, turned out the light
I should never have started this villanelle

now I am stuck in verse form hell
everything I write seems totally trite
thinking of it now, truth to tell

I can check out but I can’t leave this hotel
(the Eagles, you get the reference, right?)
I should never have started this villanelle

mission bell, tinker bell, death knell
I’ve started to write total shite
thinking of it now, truth to tell

I have to get off this carousel
it’s been a struggle, it’s been a fight
I should never have started this villanelle

I need another word that rhymes with ‘elle’
final quatrain, the pain, the urge to yell;
thinking of it now, truth to tell
I should never have started this villanelle


Ha…so this all started about a week ago with a challenge on dVerse to write a poem using a verse form that incorporated repetition. I posted 3 poems that were essentially chants but I felt that this was a cop out so I decided to write a villanelle. That was a mistake, that’s all I worked on all week. I felt like I was in a creative straight jacket, that I was wearing one of those ankle bracelets that would alarm if I tried to escape the villanelle. It didn’t help that I got half way through one attempt before I realised that I had the wrong structure, the wrong rhyming scheme.

That poem was built around two lines:

a villain in a villanelle
a doomed lover in a sonnet

It will never see the light of day.

Of form and free verse……..

Free Verse

free verse, let
it roam, far
from all rhyme
and reason

The irony is that this short poem actually has a form – 4 lines, 3 syllables per line. It’s called slim verse. It was invented by my friend, Slim Volume, and I. Of course Slim Volume is not his real name; he used to play in a punk band, The Working Stiffs, and that was his stage name, not that they appeared on many stages. You may remember their seminal album, ‘ Anger and Acne’, but you probably don’t. My all time favorite stage name belongs to the bass player in the Boomtown Rats, Pete Briquette. You’d have to be Irish to get it…..peat briquettes were used as a substitute for coal in open fires. Where was I…oh yes..slim verse..this was meant to be a form designed for the attention span of internet users, problem is I got tired of its limitations. We were churning out aphorisms not poems. We don’t talk about it much anymore, too painful.

…taking part in Open Link night over at dVerse, check them out, well worth the visit!