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Poetry Friday -- Villanelle
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Do you guys remember the Poetry Princesses, from way back when?

OK. So. We're not real princesses. We came up with that name as a way to distract ourselves from the dull, thumping awareness that we'd committed to:

1. Writing a Crown Sonnet
2. Publishing it on our blogs
3. Using our real names to do so
4. Not freaking out or throwing up in public

I mean, really.
It's a wonder we just anointed ourselves as royalty.
We might've locked ourselves in the Tower of London with medicinals.

But no.
We're made of crazier stronger stuff than all that.
We wrote the dang sonnets.
And then we retreated into the black holes of our own private blogs for a year and a half.

Well guess what?
The memory finally sufficiently scabbed over and we took on another project -- villanelles this time!

Kelly Fineman, our indisputed Duchess de Form, explains the ins and outs of villanelles here.
Beyond all that, our rules were to include the words friend and Thanksgiving in our first and third lines.
And to finish by today.

Nothing to it.


You should see our panicky Google Mail exchanges from the last two weeks:
"... doesn't meet the requirements..."
"... way darned harder than it looks..."
"... isn't complete garbage..."
"... sigh..."
"... crap..."

But also:
"... lovely..."
"... a comfort..."
"... in awe..."
"... happy..."

Happy to be together again, that it is. Because really, is anything better than a community of smart, funny, like-minded friends willing to take on a 16th century French form poem on a whim? The luck of it all!

So on that note, and with gratitude, we share with you these... our poems.
Thanks for reading. And enjoy.

Kelly Fineman's
Sara Lewis Holmes'
Tanita Davis'
Andromeda Jazmon's
Laura Salas'
Tricia Stohr-Hunt's
and mine:

First Date on the Railroad Trestle

Thanksgiving through her lips, a whispered prayer –
Let this night last, I do not want to say goodbye.
Inside of every friendship there’s a dare,

a pit, a seed, a growing need to strip down bare.
This is me, so full of fear but willing, still, to try.
(Thanksgiving through her lips, a whispered prayer.)

She followed as his feet fell on the makeshift stairs –
breath like water, shoes like stones, a shimmer in her eyes.
Inside of every friendship there’s a dare.

At the top he took her hand, the wind let down her hair.
A slip of moon, his skin on hers, she felt like she could fly.
Thanksgiving through her lips, a whispered prayer

lost in the coming of the train, the whistle blared.
Right now, he yelled. The dark turned light, she didn’t even cry --
inside of every friendship there’s a dare.

I did not fall, the trestle held, my god, I did not die.
He laughed and bent to kiss her as the train rolled by.
Thanksgiving through her lips, a whispered prayer.
Inside of every friendship there’s a dare.

(You can find these -- and a lotta other wonderful stuff -- at Wild Rose Reader's Poety Friday Round-Up today!)

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So are you, Laura. Thank you.

YAY!!! Liz thank you so much for doing this and inspiring us. My alarm clock broke and I woke up late for work so I am posting in a rush, but I can't help take a few minutes to celebrate this. Your last line is so powerful! I love your poem and I am so thrilled to be part of this project! My link is here: http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2009/12/thanksgiving-villanelle.html

I am soooo glad you fit this in, Andi. I know it wasn't easy to do so but we're so much more complete because of it...

I had to come back to read this again. I actually did have a first date on a railroad tressel. It was an old train bridge across the Sckuylkill in Phila., by Strawberry Mansion, where the train doesn't run anymore. It's kind of broken down so we dared each other to walk across it. And then threw rocks in the water. Sigh. That was a great date.

Your poem rocks so hard!

I'm so glad you got the notion to round a group of us up and do some writing challenges - particularly since I finally managed a working (albeit not brilliant) villanelle as a result.

Inside of every friendship there's a dare is correct - and it was your dare that helped to form such a lovely circle of friendship amongst the seven of us, and I am full of thanksgiving for that.

Oh, gosh. Kelly, me too.
Me, too...

I agree that it's a delicious read, but it was also thrilling! Lovely.

I'm so glad you all wrote together again.


Thanks, Jules. It is such a happy lucky thing when we get to carry on like this...

I'm with Kelly. It's fitting that you of all people chose the line "Inside of every friendship there's a dare." I'm so grateful that threw down that guantlet and that we all accepted. The subject line of that e-mail was crazy. Crazy indeed!

Thanks for spurring us on and for sharing this daring and beautiful poem.

How funny. I didn't remember that. But there you go.
Crazy fun and crazy wonderful.
Thank YOU for saying yes!

Though my hair was never let down by wind, growing up on a lake with a railroad at one end, I love the vision of a railroad trestle. It held so much of my youth.

Thanks, Bernadette.
Usually the wind just riles up my hair.
But you get the idea :)

Ummmm...I am a poetry novice but....

as usual, I am weeping.
Here are the bits that got me in that place too deep to explain.

"Thanksgiving through her lips.."
"Inside of every friendship there's a dare."

I so appreciate how you love to challenge yourself in this way.


Re: Ummmm...I am a poetry novice but....

Thank you, Sarah.
Happy happy weepiness to you...

Tanita Says :)

This is me, so full of fear but willing, still, to try

This is practically my prayer.

Thank you for taking our dare. xo

Oh, gosh. Mine, too, Tanita. Mine, too...

I adore how you spin out a suspenseful story here--not easy in a repeating form. It feels clean, like you breathed it out on the page, even though I know you didn't. And honey, now you need to write a book-length romance. Something tells me you'd be great at it.

Yes. I often just breathe my stuff out, don't you? ;)
I don't know about a book-length romance, but writing this DID inspire my narrative mind (which normally gets totally buried by my imagistic/sensual/emotional mind...)

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Oh, thank you!
And me, too! As everyone's poems started rolling in these last couple of weeks I just kept gasping at their goodness...
I think we were all just having so much fun. Seriously...

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I just feel so lucky to have people who want to do things like this with me, honestly...

This one left me breathless -- I'm with Sara, you should spin a fine romance in novel length.

So glad you threw down the gauntlet again. It's wonderful to see how each of you approached the challenge, creating such awesome poems. Lucky us! More, please . . .

Oh, thanks, Jama!
I don't know if I've got a novel in me -- I'm such a short form girl. But ya never know!!!

Wow. I saved yours for last and like the others am in awe at this seventh interpretation (incarnation) of friendship and Thanksgiving. No pumpkin pie on the floor at the end of this one! An amazing project. Thank you for inspiring your friends and thank you all for letting us share in the beauty you've created!

(I think after you tackle a few more tricky forms, there's a joint book in this for the Seven Sisters, The Stars of Poetry Friday, Our Constellation of Poets.

Oh, thank YOU Mary Lee. It is just totally inspiring to me to see what others do with form. People think of it as so confining and instead, I think, it just serves as such a stage to leap from...
I like the joint book idea -- I'll float that one past the gals :)

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