Verbs and a Villanelle


Photo by Suat Eman

I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry.

“Sew yourself a custom made suit. Pick a better verb. Challenge all those verbs to really lift some weight for you.” Janice Fitch, author and teacher

You just can’t write without verbs! So, you might as well use the best! Choose active and precise verbs to get your point across and to paint a clear, vivid picture. Instead of saying “The ball was hit by James”, say “James hit the ball.” The first example is a passive verb, the second is active.
Precise verbs give more information. Instead of saying walk, you might say stumbled, skipped, lumbered, or strolled. Verbs can not only tell an action, but also give insight into characters. What kind of person lumbers? Why would a person stumble? Think about good verbs, then remember your thesaurus.
The poetry focus is the villanelle, a nineteen-line poem with a very specific rhyming scheme. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. An excellent example of the form is Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”.
Here is my attempt:
Khaki Heart

His was a khaki heart
Waiting, a blank slate
Hers was a world apart

Somewhere inside a work of art
If only she would wait
His was a khaki heart

His a world of folk art
She wanting the ornate
Hers a world apart

He with so much to impart
She not willing to wait
His was a khaki heart

She was ready to depart
His world too sedate
Hers a world apart

She could have made a fresh start
He would have been a loving mate
His was a khaki heart
Hers was a world apart

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