Write your own villanelle

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Capel Manor Horticultural College

[I don’t do it the way below   with the rhymes chosen first but try it]

 

http://classicalpoets.org/how-to-write-a-villanelle-with-examples/

 

I find it easier to build two rhyming metered lines. For this example, I have chosen to use friendship as a theme, and I am going to use iambic pentameter… not because it’s required for the form, but because I like the cadence it produces.

With this in mind, after some deliberation, my two refrain lines will be:

(A1) Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.
(A2) For no one understands me like you do.

This meter decision and the creation of these two lines is the most difficult part of the villanelle crafting process. Once you have written these echoing lines that fit together, you can create the framework of poetic feet that will comprise the poem itself. Following the villanelle’s pattern, I get:

Note: in this pattern, (-) will represent a soft syllable, and (=) will represent a hard one with (|) as a separator between feet.

(A1) Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A2) For no one understands me like you do.

(a)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A1) Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.

(a)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A2) For no one understands me like you do.

(a)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A1) Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.

(a)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A2) For no one understands me like you do.

(a)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(b)  –  = | –  = | –  = | –  = | –  =
(A1) Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.
(A2) For no one understands me like you do.

 

As you can see, we need 5 (a) lines, and 6 (b) lines to complete the poem, and these must flow within the theme. Since I already know the rhyme sound for (a), I chose the following list:  you, too, blue, new, view

I then chose six keywords that rhymed with each other that felt like good accents to this list:  comprehend, friend, pretend, send, mend, end

By plugging these into the pattern, and then creating iambic feet that rounded out the meter, I was able to build a nice poem that fit the theme.

 

Hold My Hand In Yours

Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.
If life becomes too hard to comprehend,
for no one understands me like you do.

Along life’s lonely road, I’ll walk with you.
When times are hard, please know you have a friend.
Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.

I’m here for you. You give me your strength too;
my courage is no longer just pretend,
for no one understands me like you do.

My friend, I’ll cheer you up when you are blue,
A smile, my heart to yours will always send.
Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through.

If I am down, you make me feel brand new
You know the way, my broken heart to mend,
for no one understands me like you do.

Though oft times life presents a horrid view,
Together we can face the bitter end.
Hold my hand in yours; we’ll make it through,
for no one understands me like you do.

© 2016, Dusty Grein

 

It may not be Dylan Thomas, but I kind of like the result. It could stand a bit of editing and some polishing, but it is a solid foundation.

As you can see, the crafting of a classic metered poem, even in a form as rigid as the villanelle, is something that can be challenging, yet fun. Writing metered rhymes in these types of forms will help you grow as a poet, and I encourage you to challenge yourself, and see what happens.

Other Villanelles published by the Society of Classical Poets

Apes or Angels
Gospel According to Hoffman-Laroche
Villanelles for Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China
Coming Out, a Holocaust Vilanelle
Camino D’Oro

 

Dusty Grein is an author, poet and graphics designer from Federal Way, Washington. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, where his 15 year old daughter is hard at work securing her college degree while still in high school, and raising him right. When he is not busy writing, he donates a great deal of his time and graphics talent. In honor of his grandson Eddy, lost to SIDS at 13 weeks old, he creates free memorial images for bereaved families, with a special focus on infant and pregnancy loss. His blog, From Grandpa’s Heart… is followed by fans around the world.

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About Kate4grace

I love writing and conversation,wild flowers,music and air
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2 Responses to Write your own villanelle

  1. Ben says:

    This is really helpful, thanks for this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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