Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cool April Days

I enjoy poetry which succeeds in using traditional forms, such as this one, from an author who doesn't always use such formal structures. Robyn Sarah is a Montréal poet and short story writer who I discovered quite a few years ago when I lived in Montréal myself. (And what a great place to live, by the way).

Perhaps the most famous villanelle of all is Dylan Thomas'
"Do not go gentle", but I think that Sarah also does a fine job of shaping the form to her purposes. I've always enjoyed her writing, and this poem is eminently suitable for the cool but sunny day we've had here today. Note in the fourth stanza how the repeating line is rearranged slightly, and as a result really stands out.

Villanelle for a Cool April

I like a leafing-out by increments,
--not bolting bloom, in sudden heat begun.
Life's sweetest savoured in the present tense.

I like to watch the shadows pack their tents
before the creep of the advancing sun.
I like a leafing-out by increments:

to watch the tendrils inch along the fence,
to take my pleasures slow and one by one.
Life's sweetest savoured in the present tense.

Oh, leave tomorrow's fruit to providence
and dote upon the bud--from which is spun
a leafing-out to love in increments,

a greening in the cool of swooning sense,
a feathered touch, a button just undone.
Life's sweetest savoured in the present tense,

as love when it withholds and then relents,
as a cool April lets each moment stun.
I like a leafing-out by increments;
life's sweetest savoured in the present tense.

Robyn Sarah

From: Questions About the Stars. London, ON: Brick Books, 1998

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by ~ I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to leave some!