That Gull’s Flyin’ Low – Villanelle – October 16, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat gull’s flyin’ low, into the east
His longing call woke me up at dawn
On this special day, when I should feast —

Day’s not even born, though light’s increased
And already I’m feelin’ like I’m just his pawn,
That gull’s flyin’ low, into the east.

Inside somethin’s gnawing at me like a beast
Makin’ me feel like I should be movin’ on …
On, this special day, when I should feast …

If I followed that gull, I’d find release …
Wonder if he’d even ask why I’d gone
That gull’s flyin’ low, into the east –

Guess I’m stayin’ one more day at least
I’ll just keep my peace and carry on
That gull’s flyin’ low into the east
On this special day, when I should feast.

(c) G.s.k. ’14

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A villanelle is an ancient Italian pastoral poem, probably originally from Sicily from around the 16th century.  French poets (and then English poets) picked it up in the 18th and 19th century but it never really made its splash until the 20th century when Dylan Thomas and others began to use the form.

The poem is composed of four tercets and then an ending closing stanza of four lines. The first and last refrains are repeated alternatively in the second, third and fourth tercet and then once again in the last stanza.  The first lines of the second through the fourth tercets and the beginning of the closing stanza must rhyme with the refrains … the second lines all throughout the poem rhyme with themselves … complicated to explain but easy to write, believe me … here’s the poem again with color codes to show you how the refrains and rhymes work … there is no special meter or syllable count requirement to the poem btw.

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That gull’s flyin’ low, into the east
His longing call woke me up at dawn
On this special day, when I should feast —

Day’s not even born, though light’s increased
And already I’m feelin’ like I’m just his pawn,
That gull’s flyin’ low, into the east.

Inside somethin’s gnawing at me like a beast
Makin’ me feel like I should be movin’ on
On, this special day, when I should feast …

If I followed that gull, I’d find release
Wonder if he’d even ask why I’d gone
That gull’s flyin’ low, into the east –

Guess I’m stayin’ one more day at least
I’ll just keep my peace and carry on
That gull’s flyin’ low into the east
On this special day, when I should feast.

For other examples of the villanelle go to visit Poetry Soup!

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