Monday Feature: Michaela Kahn Writes A Villanelle

–A Writing Exercise …

I was coming up with some writing exercises for a workshop this week and thought I would challenge myself to a few. For this exercise I used 2 things as a starting point. First the quote was an inspiration for the theme. And second I used a villanelle for my form (though without the rhyming). Five stanzas: four tercets and one quatrain at the end. The 1st and 3rd line of the 1st stanza are used alternately as ending lines of the next 4 stanzas, with those lines then used as the last two lines of the whole poem in the ending quatrain.

It comes at the strangest times …

“Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

It comes at the strangest times:
a shock, a scent, a dream that won’t
let go. There is nothing in your hands.

Last night the dogs chased you through
endless forest until at last you reached the sea.
It comes at the strangest times —

The knowing that what was hidden so carefully
is yourself. Tiny now, a seed, thistledown, the part
let go. There is nothing in your hands

to save you from the dog’s teeth and the sea
up to your knees. No escape but waking.
It comes at the strangest times.

In the car, a song reminds you of childhood.
Smell of lunchbox bologna, the day you sat alone and
let go. There is nothing in your hands

but a book, some dandelion petals.
Waking is harder than dying –
It comes as the strangest times.
Let go. There is nothing in your hands.

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