Distance – A Villanelle

The distance between may never be crossed
As the span that parts the living and dead
It cannot be held, and cannot be lost

With the crawl of a slowly numbing frost
I lie in the snow and dream you instead
The distance between may never be crossed

And the great love that left my heart embossed
Is now just a fever that grinds my head
It cannot be held, and cannot be lost

While I might sail the Lethe with some small cost
Memory is hope, amnesia dread
The distance between may never be crossed

This ache ebbs and flows in tidal accost
Like beautiful music suddenly fled
It cannot be held, and cannot be lost

In time I fear your absence will exhaust
To exit the world on my final bed
The distance between may never be crossed
It cannot be held, and cannot be lost

The villanelle is a 10 syllable metre, with a strict rhyming pattern and reuse of lines 1 and 3 throughout. It’s a bit like a dominatrix in that it’s very easy for all the strictness to rapidly drain the pleasure!

36 thoughts on “Distance – A Villanelle

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  1. Nice – learned something new again from you. You are the teacher – that’s either really good or I’m in danger. πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh, I like writing in this form for its musicality–second only to the pantoum in my book. Of course, the rhyme and meter make my head sore to craft, but I SO like reading the results of the hard work of others. Well done, Bear-Man.

      1. OK, it’s done, and I like it loads. Tricky little buggers, vilanelles. I will go get an iced cappuccino instead, and hopefully that fifth stanza will hit me between the eyes while I am in line.

  3. I never even heard of the villanelle before—I learned something new today! And what a beautiful poem, Panda. Heartbreakingly sad and depressing, but beautiful nonetheless.

    1. Thank you Arty. They can be hard to make contemporary, which is probably why they’re rare – But Susan Daniels did one too – and I think it’s better. (there’s a link in these comments I believe),

  4. Well done Panda-man! A tricky form for sure (it’s on my to-do list). It’s no sestina, mind you but… πŸ˜‰
    This has a kind-of liturgical feel to it–a call-and-response thing, so I see what you mean about making it contemporary. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t work beautifully though. I didn’t find it sad or depressing. I loved how the “distance” becomes a thing cherished–my take anyway.

      1. Well, we crabs do love our gloats. And your Villanelle blows my sestina out of the water–I think yours sestina would as well…
        How ’bout I trade you a sestina and we call it
        infinitely congruent?

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