Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Villanelle



December Villanelle




December the snowy white hope firepit
black-iced December, the cold-burning brand
December when ghosts all come back to sit

in stores, streets and houses lit bright or unlit
all along the sharp sleetslipping strand
December the ashen white hope firepit.

December the voice too cold to commit
yelling its annual endless demand.
December when ghosts all come back to sit

beside us around us. They flurry and hit;       
what they wield has no need for a flesh and blood hand.
December’s ghostnested white hope firepit.

Holes leak in dreams drilled by memory’s hard bit
as pine drips red drops in a bucket of sand.
December when ghosts all come back to sit.

Pull off the holly and break up each bit.   
Build a new fire that flares on command
in December’s dead dreary white hope firepit
and burn all the chairs where the ghosts come to sit.



December 2010
revised 2011



This is a repost of a villanelle I wrote last December, slightly tweaked. 


Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub











46 comments:

  1. believe it or not but i remembered the piece with the ghosts coming to sit..the villanelle-ic repetition gives this a haunting voice and for many people esp. christmas time is a huge reminder and place-of-ghosts state of mind esp. when family things went wrong or when they lost someone... love your villanelle hedge and def. need to write one as well soon

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  2. heck yeah...i like the empowerment in that last line...perhaps a bit of an exorcism...december needs it i tell you...nice flare for the chilly side of this season...glad i am not the only one seeing dead people...smiles.

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  3. Loved the burning of the ghost-sitting chairs, hedgewitch. As always, sharp and crisp imagery. I'm chilled to my bones after reading this.

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  4. I love the burning of the chairs where the ghosts come to sit! :)

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  5. Yep, December's truly the villain in this --elle-o-quently woven pair of blue suede snowshoes dancing on the ice. You may not like 'em, but I loved it that this month is when the ghosts come back to sit and memory is somehow complicit in boring holes in dreams ... it would be hopeless if the speaker didn't have the smarts to burn the chairs before the dead settle their ghastly asses down. Hard work, but I think you've woven a breastplate against those Christmas blues. Bra-vo. - Brendan

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  6. This has a mysterious feel to it... perfect for a villanelle.

    Here's mine:

    http://lkkolp.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/on-childbirth/

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  7. Thanks, all.

    @Claudia: You would slay in this form. You need to try it.

    @B: What no hip hip? hooray? Obviously not as this wasn't full armor. Thanks for the smile at your very nimble wordskills in action.

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  8. Reminds me of that Macbeth trio...well, at least a hint of. Maybe that's where my head is. NO! It is in very good place.

    Excuse me, but where do we sit? or you want us to be-witch standing? --grin!

    PEACE, Hedgewitch!

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  9. Benny is back! ;)

    this is great hedge... you cant beat the claustrohobic casing of a Villa real...
    there is something hypnotic and trapping about the form that reminds me of the infinite monkey cage... your stunning connstruct however proves that poetics transcend the confines of said cage.

    excellent

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  10. @Arron: Maybe that was what was on TV in your poem--death by BH reruns. thanks man--villanelle is indeed a cage, with one of those spinning rodent wheels, and pure dirge, to me--right for certain topics, not others.

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  11. I am the Ghost of Christmas Present...
    have you been a good little girl?

    (Because the Ghost of Christmas Past was dishing the dirt!)

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  12. ok, so I am awestruck. man are you talented! this is amazing. I love how you give December a ghostly resonance as a winter villain :) you are so clever with your words!!! Love it!

    Kellie
    @BackyardPonders
    http://magicinthebackyard.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/in-the-silence-of-make-believe/

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  13. Glad I stopped by. I had no idea you were featuring a villanelle, too, which makes this what my friend Kathleen calls a Coinciday.

    I don't know if you ever record but this is one I'd like to hear read aloud, given the haunting atmosphere it holds unto itself. I like the slight tweaking you give the refrains, too.

    Thank you for commenting so kindly on my poem.

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  14. there are ghosts, good and not so much....some should burn, I suppose...excellent control of the form........it seems you never just write, you offer us...more

    Peace

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  15. HI Hedge, I love villanelles and I really enjoyed this. Mine tend towards the sing-song, and this has an appropriate darkness, with the refrain appearing in ghostlike manner.

    If you don't mind, I'm attaching a link to one of mine which is almost the opposite--a villanelle to summer rather than winter. Dont' want to burden you, but since you are interested in the form. It's one I used to do a lot but haven't lately. (I'm going to see if this is automatic link.)

    http://manicddaily.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/swimming-in-summer-villanelle-for-august/

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  16. @Karin--thanks for the link. Left a comment but forgot to say I really liked the title, too.

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  17. PS - thanks so much for checking out other poem--you are such a wonderful, generous-hearted poet. Appreciate it. K.

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  18. So perfect I had to look out the window to make sure it hadn't brought winter to LA - nope, it's in the 60s so I spent the morning at the beach looking at flowers and making more bird friends :). The ghosts particularly struck me. I'm in the midst of the Asian community of San Gabriel. I have so missed reading your poetry but it's hard to read and drive!

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  19. That last line is a winner!
    We have all sorts of ghost coming to visit in December and burning their chairs either gets them out the door or up dancing on the floor putting a smile upon our faces. I love this.
    Happy Holidays Hedge
    Mark Butkus

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  20. A great write, my friend. And good for you varying the repeated lines in the villanelle. It breaks the obsessive nature of the form. I never can bring myself to do that, somehow unable to cross the line...

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  21. First of all the sound is great! I'm such an ear person. And very good form.

    Content is wonderful too. December the cold time, the time of remembering, the time of endings of burning away the old or at least not letting the past take a seat in our life as we move towards the new.

    Well done!

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  22. Thanks all, for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts.

    @Karin: nonsense--my pleasure to read a good poem.

    @Anna: Friends don't let friends read and drive, but it's very good to have you stop by and breathe out a little of that warm California air.

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  23. Great imagery --the form really does seem to fit the haunting, chilling quality of this piece--just a wonderful write!

    Audrey
    @AudreyHowitt

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  24. An excellent write. Build a new fire that flares on command
    in December’s dead dreary white hope firepit
    and burn all the chairs where the ghosts come to sit.....
    so cool. A wonderful write.

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  25. Fascinating the number of possible swirling interpretations one can make of your lines; who and what might be implicated in "deadly christmas". The villanelle is difficult to pull off well but you have done a good job of it here. I read "pine drips red drops" several times, seeing a new meaning each time. I wonder if these are the phrases that come to us from nowhere, unintentional; those we smile or smirk at later when we realize what we have said, not meant specifically, but which magically fit, even if perverse or contrary. I like all your contrasting images, which seem to be the backbone of the poem.

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  26. I particularly like the dunning that the form brings to this one.

    And the poem itself seems to flare up brightly in the closing line. The crackle and the heat of the feverently imolated seats of the scorned past, the lost, the gone, fills the whole clearing.

    Lovely. Magickal.

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  27. Thanks, Ann--yes, that one phrase I almost changed today in the rewrite, because this much later I wasn't sure what I was aiming for at the time, but I left it, as it just felt like I should. Always good to get your insights.

    @Joanna Thanks for reading--your poem tonight certainly supports your assertion of being into sounds.

    @Charles Glad you enjoyed--hope your ribs are better.

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  28. This struck deep: as pine drips red drops in a bucket of sand.
    December brings so many sad memories, though it is supposed to be filled with joy and hope. You capture the sad bells of the season in a nicely spun form that stays true to itsself.

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  29. I thought the ghosts would be peaceful watchers when the poem first mentioned them, and so their malevolent development particularly hit me.

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  30. A wonderful villanelle...you do so well with forms! I've no idea why, but the second stanza just grabbed me as I read, conjuring a Dicken's scene, a dark romanticism of a cold, snowy nights. The ghosts (for me) kept crossing between Dickens and Poe..indeed, December seems to conjure those ghosts that wish to sit and stir the memories ~

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  31. It's getting to the point where what C.S. Lewis bemoaned in Narnia, where it was always winter and never Christmas, could be supplanted with the nightmare always Christmas but never winter. I love your villanelle, with its white hope firepit. I feel the ashen coldness of meaninglessness, and worse: death. I was especially taken with the turn from "drilled memory's hard bit" to "Pull off the holly and break off each bit." Clever and drilling. Very fine poem.

    And oh, Brendan's clever villain remark! I never once saw that word in villanelle. :-)

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  32. The relentless recurring rhymes and images are so neatly given final treatment in the stirring last stanza. Great energy and imagination within the form's confines. Excellent writing. December does have its challenges...

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  33. A brilliantly seasonal poem, employing one of the most difficult poetic forms. Loved it!

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  34. a delicately powerful sense of exorcism in this. has a gorgeous feel and images spot-on for December. brava.

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  35. Thanks all. Much appreciated.

    @Chaz: Greatly enjoyed your poem also

    @angela: that Strand--the magazine Conan Doyle published all his Holmes tales in maybe? It does have a Victorian tone--they were great with misery. ;-)

    @Ruth: thanks so much for reading, friend. Your feedback is always highly valued. Hope your aches and pains abate soon.Yes, Brendan was cutting the capers nicely, there.

    @MZ--you and me both, man.

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  36. Made for reading loud... truly rolls of the tongue without feeling mechanical. Evocative sounds for December cold... I enjoyed what you have done in your villanelle.

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  37. oh I loved the last part especially, burning the chairs where the ghosts come to sit...wow!

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  38. sounds like December, alright. I love Villanelles and this one is no exception!

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  39. On the festive side, December is beautiful with lights on the streets and cheer. On the dark side, it's that it haunts one with memories of all that has happened in the year and also brings back some before. Powerful ending, every bit of action in there seems to have significance, to banish the lingering dreariness.

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  40. Love that you did a villanelle this week Hedge, one of my favorite forms, you penned this so well. You created such an icy expression it brought in the silver season perfectly. My best to you! ~ Rose

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  41. How good your words dance on your page and how brilliantly they give life to this season and the emotions with it ...

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  42. Some really kewl lines spun and weaved in this

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  43. I have nightmares about villanelles! Love the tone of this. Do you read any of your poems? I would really like to hear this one in your voice. It's really wonderful (better adjectives fail me just now). Also, thanks for the rope...that picture prompt creeped me out too.

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  44. Here's another one that, if I wrote it, would seem to be enough for a lifetime. I hope you are proud of this because it is superb.

    Re: the post that followed, Oh how poignant, how beautiful and full and empty. May your son find his way. xo

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg