by Jane Farmer

A friend with whom I had enjoyed haiku-writing sent me a poem reflecting her exploration of the Medieval French form of poetry called villanelle. She challenged me to write some verses. At first I felt it would be almost impossible to fit an idea into such a rigid patttern.. But I gave it a try.

On a sheet of lined notebook paper I numbered the lines: 1,2,3 space 4,5,6 space until I had a skeleton for a villanelle - 19 lines, five 3-line stanzas and one four-line stanza.

Since lines 6,12 and 18 must repeat line 1 and lines 9, 15 and 19 must repeat line 3, I marked these lines with "x" and "y" as a guide. All these lines must rhyme. Variations to enhance the meaning of repeated phrases are allowed. The second line in each stanza must rhyme with line 2. In Emglish, iambic pentameter is usual.

To my great surprise I thoroughly enjoyed the "stretching" I experienced. It was so much fun I challenged Lois Barton to try it. Here are some examples. Try it! You'll have fun too!


© 2002 Jane Farmer
Thoughts After Betrayal
by Jane Farmer

Though flowers bloom and birdsongs pierce the skies
as life is renewed each spring
my thoughts are deeply troubled; my heart cries.

The pain of winter's learning and the rise
of questions make shadows cling
but flowers bloom and birdsongs reach the skies.

Many shadowed memories stir up "Why's?"
unanswered, I cannot sing.
My thoughts are deeply troubled: my heart sighs.

There's so much that we highly prize.
Could all our joys take wing
while flowers bloom and birdsons touch the skies?

There was a time I looked into his eyes,
knew the trust that love can bring.
Now, thoughts are deeply troubled; my heart cries.

Does the future hold a grim surprise?
Can my love be empowering
as flowers bloom and birdsongs greet the skies?
though thoughts are soely troubled; I arise!

June 13, 1998

On Being Past Eighty
by Jane Farmer

I waken to the promise of the day;
with hope and joy I welcome each new morn.
Without regrets I press on, come what may.

In thankfulness for lessons I have learned
though in the learning process, pain was borne,
I waken for the promise of this day!

As I look back upon my twisted way
I see my stumbling path with failures worn
and try again to press on, come what may.

so many friends have pointed out the way;
without such folks I'd truly be forlorn;
I waken to the promise of each day.

Some concepts, dearly held, become passe';
displaced by new ideas, no need to mourn.
I've no regrets; I press on, come what may.

Now, heav'n-sent angels guide my work and play.
I've faith that my ventures they'll bless and adorn.
I wake with trust that joy will crown my day;
with no regrets, I press on, come what may!

June 22, 1998

For A Young Child
by Jane Farmer

You've heard the admonition, "Just say, no."
from well-intentioned folks who have concern
and want to offer guidance as you grow.

Your world will offer many seeds to sow.
To choose which seeds to nurture, you must learn.
You've heard the oft-repeated, "Just say, no."

But I would bid you focus on your dream:
the most, the best, the highest goal to earn.
I want to offer guidance as yoiu grow.

The thoughts you hold and nurture as you go
direct your course of action in their turn.
Ignore the harping message, "Just say, no."

Among all creatures you alone can choose
responses that bring "harvest" in return.
May courage guide your "gardening" as you grow.

So dream you can achieve the best you know
and strive to make your dream your chief concern.
Replace the drumming echo, "Just say,no."
with steadfast resolution as you grow.

July 19, 1998


© 2000 Jane Farmer
by Jane Farmer

Today you ask me what prayer means to me
and I would gladly make it clear to you
so I must choose my words most carefully.

My life affirms one perfect certainty;
God's loveing Presence guides the things I do.
Prayer means assurance and tranquility.

Whle prayer confirms and brings His Peace to me.
prayer also warns against some paths I view
so I must use my words most thoughtfully.

I'm grateful for the guidance and the key
to wiser choices I must make - or rue.
Today you ask me what prayer means to me.

When doubt prevailed, God still supported me
through friends He gave me love and courage, too.
His Presence stirs my thanks eternally.

I lack the words to say how music thrills me
or how my heart is stirred by sunrise hue.
Today you ask me what prayer means to me;I chose my words with deep

October 25, 1998

My Unique Visitor
by Jane Farmer

I watched a bird upon my window sill.
She struggled to maintain her balance, so
I peered to see if she were drunk or ill.

A closer look obscured her problem till
I saw that life had dealt her a cruel blow--
that bird I watched upon my window sill.

She lost her balance, almost fell, but still
clung to the ledge with quivering wings, and so
I came to see her persevering will.

With just one leg she showed surprising skill.
I yearned to help her but came to know
she chose to fly up to my window sill

Awhile we watched each other, me, quite still,
she, hopping bravely, putting on a show
that helped me see her strong - not drunk or ill.

Next day she came again, courageous still.
I was so glad to see her coping. Oh,
I watched that bird upon my window sill
and came to know her strong, not drunk or ill.

January 12, 1999

The Cedar Tree
by Lois Barton

The cedar tree is down. How great was its demise.
For more than forty years it shaded our front door,
recording days of summer and times of snowy skies.

A shelter for the birds. Good climbing for our guys.
No longer safe in snow storm or heavy gales roar.
The cedar tree came down before our very eyes.

In 1952 we placed it to comprize the entrance here,
a marker for those parked beside the kitchen door.
in all the days of summer and snowy times come by.

How sturdy were its branches against the sunny skies,
until wet snow and bluster broke out its very core.
Our cedar tree blown down, its fall a great surprise

That pulled my heart strings hard, so placid otherwise.
Its ragged, storm-broke body now off'ring nothing more
from growth in summer heat and times when snow was high,

than waramth for winter fires against the cloudy skies.
A seedling grows today where once its trunk did soar.
Dear cedar tree, thy life, containing memory ties,
in summre days to come will once again be nice.

© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000-2002 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise noted.

The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher and/or sponsors.

West by Northwest
Spencer Creek Press
PO Box 51251
Eugene OR 97405

West By Northwest

Voices of Peace, Volume VI
Africa: Peace with Justice Northwest Tour
Starhawk's Heresies in Pursuit of Peace: Thoughts on Israel/Palestine.
Sarah Shields asks Please Dad, Tell Me: How Do I Stop Being Complicit?
Peg Morton sharesMy School of the Americas (SOA) Saga.
Web links
Erbin Crowell considers Coffee and Fair Trade.
Illegal Logging Threatens Ecological and Economic Stability.
Ecstasy of Ecology - Penny Livingston and the Permaculture Institute.
Norman Solomon considers India and Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons and Media Fog and the USA's "War On Terrorism": Winking At Nuclear Terror.
M.G. Hudson asks us to Consider the Case of Patricia Sweets: The Failing Safety Net of Publicly Financed Health Insurance.
Patrick Morris, writes on the role of the Royal Pains.
High Plains Films releases This Is Nowhere
Meet Skip Schiel, an remarkable photographer
Delight in Guy Weese's Summer in the City Photos
Doug Tanour's Exodus Poems
Jane Farmer uses the medieval villanelle
Explore a few small presses with big ideas. We look at The Magic Fish, When Spirits Come Calling, Saving Wilderness in the Oregon Cascades and Cradle to Cradle.
Barbara S. Thompson's My Life, Chapter 4, Moving Out West to Los Angeles.
Cogentrix to Aquila, Going from Bad to Worse? by Mary Zemke.
Lois Barton's Sunnyside of Spencer Butte, The Cat That Flew and Sauerkraut and All That.
Jonnie Lauch's electronic debut in Nighttime Intruder.


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