Villanelle # 3


In January, I will explore the style of the Villanelle. This form of poetry has a lot of rules. I am normally a rule-breaker, so I take up the challenge of pirouetting across this restrictive dance floor with a degree of trepidation. I will call Villanelle # 3 There is a Secret Beauty in Old Age.

My first love is poetry. I played with rhythms as a child as a favorite toy, writing line after line and verse upon verse down in a notebook my mama gave me. The words became undecipherable squiggly lines dancing across the page.  I remember sitting on my Uncle Harvey’s porch, making up poems only I could read. I learned to write real letters after I started school. That’s when my adventure with poetry started. I found myself in a dance with a fickle dancer. As soon as I got the steps right, the beat changed, and the singer sang a different tune. COVID-19 and retirement have given me the gift of time to explore, study, and capture the essence of poetry, making all its different moved on the page.

The rules I followed writing Villanelle # 3

The rules for creating a Villanelle are simple and straight forward. This style of poetry must have 19 lines and five stanzas. The closing stanza has four lines. Also, line 1 gets repeated in lines 6, 12, and 18. Thus,  line 3 gets repeated in lines 9, 15, and 19. There are so many rules and so little time. I might as well get started.

There Exists a Secret Beauty in Old Age

There exists a secret beauty in old age

 Youth cannot understand

 The mystery written on the final page

Winter’s world cold and strange

The old one struggles to withstand

 There exists a secret beauty in old age

Breath in, breath out a fair exchange

 The essence of life’s demand

The Mystery written on the final page

Years and years of living withstand

Unraveled by time strand by strand

There exists a secret beauty in old age

Here on this darkened stage

 Weary legs struggle to make a stand

The mystery written on the final page

Uttering final lines filled with outrage

 Amid a fearful and frozen wasteland

 There exists a secret beauty in old age

The mystery written on the final page

Old age comes to each one of us sooner or later. I wrote this Villanelle # 2 as an expression of the mystery to found in life as we age.

Who is Molly Shea?

Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh.  To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.

Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!

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Published by henhouselady

I am the author of Saving the Hen House. I didn't know when I started it would turn into a series. I love to ride motorcycles, the blues, my family, and going on adventures. This old hen rocks.

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