No, nothing to do with that* TV programme!

A villanelle is a poem with a very specific rhyming structure. (The most well known villanelle in English is probably Dylan Thomas’s. . . Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.)

I have taken up the challenge to write 12 poems in 12 months at, and our challenge for the first week in May is to write a villanelle.

I’m enjoying composing my villanelle because. . .

a) My poems have to rhyme although this is not fashionable right now. But if it didn’t rhyme I wouldn’t know if I would be justified in calling it a poem. (No doubt, I’m missing the point. . .)

b) I enjoy puzzles. Fitting the required rhymes around the mandatory refrains is very like solving a puzzle with words.

In fact, I enjoyed this month’s challenge so much that I wrote a second villanelle. Since I am only allowed to post one for the “12 poems. . .” challenge, here is the other one.


Where once the black smog choked the air,
now distant vistas show,
and skies are clearing everywhere.

Did Mother Nature, in despair,
contrive to lay us low
because the black smog choked the air?

So rapidly, the heavens repair.
Rivers like crystal flow
and skies are clearing everywhere.

But rubbish, strewing meadows where
the junkyards are all closed,
chokes fields, as smog once choked the air.

What will you do when time and care
restore the status quo
and skies are clear most everywhere?

When we are freed, and all prepare
again to take the road,
will black smog once more choke the air
and skies re-darken everywhere?

Do you plan to make changes when we’re all let loose on the world again?

* (For those who don’t have the TV series Killing Eve airing in your part of the world, there is a character in it with the code-name Villanelle.)

18 thoughts on “Villanelle

    1. We live in the middle of fields, but across one field is the main road into town. The road has been almost empty until now, but yesterday was almost like a normal workday, even though we’ve just been told we’re self-isolating for another three weeks.


  1. I always enjoyed the challenge of the villanelle. When I was in eighth grade we had to write a poem every week using one set scheme or another. I remember being especially proud of my English sonnet. I don’t suppose kids do that today, but it was excellent instruction about form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to get ours to learn a poem each week to recite after Sunday dinner. They tended to choose the same poems (I don’t know if they collaborated… “I’ll do this one this week, you can say it next week”) I also know “William the First was the First of our Kings”, and several Winnie the Pooh verses off by heart now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I used to challenge myself in grade school to see if I could have memorized a classroom poem by the time it was my turn. Risky in retrospect, but I was always called on last. No idea why.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your Villanelle. I learned of it on a course some years back but in the strict form that Dylan Thomas used.
    Reading ‘Hiatus’ I re-checked the structure and found that a more flexible format is possible, and that encourages me to try my hand at more. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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