Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Dominance of Grey





The Dominance of Grey
 A villanelle





The grey veil she wore ate up all the years.
It licked at her grimaces, nibbled her smile.
It didn't pull off, only washed off with tears.

At night she’d spit into its fine woven fears,
proudly wear it next day to hide naked denial,
unavailing shrugs eating flesh off the years.

The veil grew a voice and it talked in her mirrors.
It held her more closely than husband or child.
It didn’t pull off and she needed more tears.

What once would dissolve it now reversed the sheer
wisps to dark masking stiffened with bile;
the grey veil she wore grew fat on the years

as she aged, a blown eggshell, flat eyes, lips and ears,
her features erased like an asphalted mile.
It didn’t pull off and she had no more tears.

No  salt left to wash her old face back with tears.
No mind left to fight for her long-eaten smile.
The grey veil she wore  ate up all the years
It didn’t pull off, only drank all the tears.


~December 2011




Re-posted for   FormForAll   at dVerse Poets Pub

The multi-talented and erudite Samuel Peralta is hosting this week and writes on this classic form as seen through the lens of physics and Dylan Thomas.



I originally was inspired to write this after reading one of Karin's excellent villanelles, so thanks to Karin Gustafson at ManicDDaily .
 








Image:  Young Woman with a Veil, by Pierre August Renoir, 1877

Public domain via wikipaintings.org 
Apologies to the Master for a focal black and white manipulation of his work for this poem.
 







32 comments:

  1. excellent hedge....really made us feel for her in this...some really great lines as well..The veil grew a voice and it talked in her mirrors.
    It held her more closely than husband or child...there is some spooky magic in that...and her features erased like an asphalted mile....another great one....love your little changes as well to the repeated lines...well played....

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  2. I'm always astonished, Hedge, how you seem to have the mastery over every form.
    Loved the blown eggshell line.
    I've known her, many hers~seen them, and fear it could be me in her mirror.
    Brilliant again

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  3. Wow, this is powerful stuff. Love the sadness in this, the inevitability.

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  4. Great image - veil like mask and more. Love the idea of the fine woven fears and the spitting a bit like polishing - your changes of the lines work very subtly and well - dark masking stiffened with vile - oh - so imaginable - awful. Many "realizable" i.e. understandable--vivid images. k.

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  5. beautiful–hauntingly so for me. I fear my future here in your words. a very powerful and tight verse.

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  6. A fabulous villanelle. Love the repetition pf references to tears, that changed with the passing of the years to close the poem with resounding success. Great work, kiddo. Loved it.

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  7. The color grey ~ color of sadness, aging, death.
    A most beautiful write!

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  8. The metaphor is nice. The grey veil. It really adds depth to the poem. She hides many things behing that grey veil.

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  9. Love your variances - keeping the rhyme but turning the poem with each stanza into something deeper, darker, and sadder. Grey doesn't come in 50 shades merely a cloud that darkens in time. Excellent!

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  10. maybe you should be teaching these forms. you could explain how the masters of these forms match the content and meanings of their words to the patterns within the forms, creating the tension and release, and the progression these patterns naturally contain, to create the poetic "event", and just mere patterns (obviously you understand that better than most)... just a thought

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    1. correction: ... to create the poetic event, and NOT just mere patterns... thats what i meant to say

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    2. I could never explain that! Or really, any of what I do--I just sort of do it. Thanks, wood. Appreciate that you get something this sensible, not to mention generous,from my obsession with form poetry.

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  11. Nice. I like how you altered the lines ever so slightly from stanza to stanza. It seems to personalize the lines a bit more, and make the flow easier rather than forced. Nicely penned.

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  12. You smacked the form out of the poetic park, and I loved the references to aging. We Boomers, living in our Autumn, will too soon be living our Winter, hopefully not of discontent; nice job here.

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  13. the grey veil eating all the years...the spitting into its fine woven fears....the drinking all the tears...touching and deep images that make us feel her..the dominance of grey...an excellent title as well..

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  14. It's almost trance like the way it reads mirroring the images just staring out beyond the veil. An intimate and haunting portrayal...just masterful.

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  15. Reminded me some of Hawthornes short story, The Veil. I liked the visuals and thought you did very well with this form. I was clueless. Maybe I should have read a few of everyone's first.

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  16. Clarification, I was clueless with my effort, not in reading yours. I liked yours:)

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  17. Love your new Avatar pic...Moon Flower!!!

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  18. Love the narrative you build from that picture.. and how you adapt the form, let it grow to envelop the ideas.

    'It didn't pull off' - how evocative

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  19. Potent images interwoven with emotional pull, you really own the form. I love it when your inner general strategizes and engages as we all benefit from your effort.

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  20. A well-crafted villanelle with subtle variations to make the refrain lines interesting. I felt pity for your sad grey lady, who grew less substantial with each stanza.

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  21. Strong piece Hedge, perfect imagery for this season. Great use of the Villanelle form.

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  22. This is excellent by any criteria. Clever, but wearing its cleverness as lightly as a veil. A powerful use of the form, great images and use of language.

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  23. A moving response to the challenge. Nicely done.

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  24. ....a great rendering of the form around the image of the aging woman...I have evidence of this happening to me right now..eek!!

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  25. Lovely and evocative use of the form to create a mood and moment that illustrates the character so well

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  26. "It didn't pull off, only washed off with tears."
    I enjoyed the evolution of this line and of the veil as this villanelle explores aging--for me it has begun.

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  27. An outstanding opening stanza. I was completely drawn in. The veil -a ghostly and perhaps unwelcome protagonist plays the role convincingly in this strong form. And your closure is so succinct and binding. wonderful.

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  28. Such a masterful portrait, the threads drawn together by the grey veil. And a remarkable twist on the form, with the line about her tears transforming with each iteration, underscoring the emotionality of the content.

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