Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More on Villanelles

I've talked about Villanelles on this blog before, and included at least one example that I haven't written myself. 


I've just come across another, this time by Theodore Roethke.  I was reading this poem, courtesy of the daily Writer's Almanac email, and realised within a stanza or so that it was a Villanelle.   The title is The Waking, and you can read it here - where they have permission to reproduce it.   Here are the first three lines:

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.



The first and last line reappear (not always exactly, which is common in this form) throughout the poem.   Note the paradoxical theme as well - waking to sleep, learning by going where he has to go.  That second idea is something poets often pursue in the course of their writing: writing in order to find out what it is you want to say. 
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