Changing the Way that Charity Changes the World.

Tag: villanelle

Villanelle (For My Creative Writing Class, Fall 2015)

This poem was written for theĀ students who had the great misfortune to enroll in my Creative Writing class at Cistercian. ItĀ is an imitation of “Do not go gentle into that good night,” by Dylan Thomas (available here), which I taught during our class on the villanelle.


cisterican hawks logo

The Cisterican Hawks

Do not go gentle into this good form,
Young age should fly and shriek in villanelles;
Shriek, shriek within the poem’s storm.

Though young men in their haste detest the norm
Imposed by metered rhymes that feel like cells,
Do not go gentle into this good form.

Good hawks, the next wind up, screeching how warm
Their fierce wings may yet burn in azure quells,
Shriek, shriek within the poem’s storm.

Wild birds who soar and hunt alone, no swarm
To teach how soon the once-calm wind rebels,
Do not go gentle into this good form.

Glad flocks, near birth, whose boiling blood transforms
Deaf hearts, can pierce the sky with caws like bells,
Shriek, shriek within the poem’s storm.

And you, my students, there in the lonely dorm,
Curse, bless me now with your new poems (not hell’s).
Do not go gentle into this good form,
Shriek, shriek within the poem’s storm.

The paths down which we walk within our dreams

self portrait as a shadow on a prison parking lot

self portrait as a shadow on a prison parking lot

The paths down which we walk within our dreams
have led us to this place we dare not sleep:
this place where waking is not what it seems.

Our words have traveled down the narrow streams
of halting conversation from the deep
chasms carved by weeping in our dreams.

What scribes have caught our thoughts within the reams
of parchment buried deep beneath the keep
that slumbers here where waking shows no seams

against the teaming cauldron of our schemes,
across the patchworked calculus we heap
to bind the paths down which we walk our dreams

like dogs that bark at every light that gleams
within the shadows cast around the sheep
whose dim-eyed waking is not what it seems?

None but these, who prowl upon the lams
to gauge the ripeness of the time to sweep
along the paths down which we walk in dreams
towards a waking state not what it seems.

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