05 October 2011


I wanted to write a Villanelle.  This was crazy.  I'm embarrassed to post it because it's not really a 'performance piece.'

The Villanelle has a tricky pattern of rhyme and repetition.  It has 19 lines and really, you could predict that nothing good comes in 19 lines.  People who know their poetry 'schematise' a Villanelle thus:

A1bA2  -  abA1  -  abA2  -  abA1  -  abA2  -  abA1A2
where 'a' and 'b' are the two different rhyme endings used, and where A1 and A2 are the two different refrains.

I read that most modern Villanelles are in pentameter, and I tried for iambic because some of the phrases I wanted to use fell into iambs.  I took the liberty of varying the refrains a little bit each time, which I think is called 'breaking the rules'.  I'm not sure whether it's a winner or not.

Girl Collecting Shells

Collecting shells is every girl's delight
To her dismay, her parents will forbid it.
Her parents say they know that crabs can bite.

Mum and Dad said, "Leave the shells, alright?"
But this young girl, she went ahead and did it.
Collecting shells is this sweet girl's delight.

She found a beauty, large and smooth and white
Buried in the sand which almost hid it.
Her parents warned they know that crabs can bite.

She picked it up and held her treasure tight.
What parent would so callously forbid it?
Collecting shells is this sweet girl's delight.

Predictably, this girl received a fright
When learning that an angry crab lived in it!
It's customary for crabs to give a bite.

She screamed "It bit me!" moaning in her plight!
She dropped the frightened crab and madly skidded!
Collecting shells once was this girl's delight,
But now of course, she knows that crabs can bite.


Justamum said...

It's a winner! Love it!

Hippomanic Jen said...

I like. I like much.

tinsenpup said...

Yeah, that works really well. It seems quite formal and constrained in structure, but informal in content. That juxtaposition and the rhythmic refrain make it really satisfying to read. Not that I understand how you did it, of course. That formula gives me a headache.

Tracy P. said...

You are amazing! This needs to be in a book somewhere that she will treasure and read with giggles to kids of her own. :-)

B said...

This is just too clever. Too clever! I love it!

Crazy Sister said...

It is formal-sounding! Very classy. I'd like to try it.