His hands make light work of my dreams #villanelle

His hands make light work of my dreams
and I have nurtured his long summers gone:
Love is not always that bright thing it seems.

My gentle heart is bursting at the seams
as I am left dejected and alone:
his hands make light work of my dreams.

I look into his eyes, where darkness gleams
such callous conduct, careless, heartless one:
Love is not always that bright thing it seems.

I lift my hands up to the bright sunbeams
which enter in after the storm is done:
His hands make light work of my dreams.

And now I’ve learned the end to all his schemes:
To toy with me a while, and then be gone;
love is not always that bright thing it seems.

But as he turns to leave, this time I scream:
‘If this is love, I’d rather live alone:’
His hands make light work of my dreams;
love is not always that bright thing it seems.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

My previous villanelle was not a villanelle in the strictest sense, as it did not conform to the traditional rhyme scheme: ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA. So I’ve challenged myself a bit further in order to write a true villanelle! Look out for the villanelle challenge, coming soon to EIF…

Author’s note: Just in case anyone is concerned for me, this is, I am glad to say, a fictional poem!

I’m linking this up to dVerse, where Sarah is hosting poetics and has given us the following task:

 ‘I’d like you to look back over the last year and choose a poem that calls to you, and write a response to that.’

In researching the villanelle form, I read Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song.’ This spoke to me as the work of someone struggling with what may be schizophrenia, or simply a response to unrequited love. Whichever it is, it left a deep impression. My villanelle is most certainly a tale of unrequited love: but what is that if not a form of madness? 

63 thoughts on “His hands make light work of my dreams #villanelle

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  1. “his hands make light work of my dreams” – I love that line, doesn’t just speak to me it shouts! Thank you for another powerful poem. And one day I will join in with your #APoemADay challenge…

  2. Thank you for this Villanelle! The previous poem, though good, troubled me slightly, to see it labelled as ‘villanelle’. this poem here is of the correct form, and I enjoyed’ reading it, if enjoy is the correct word for how I felt about the poem. The content was troubling, and feeling that from reading it, is a good sign of a poem that works, to bring about a strong feeling it the reader.

    I am so glad that it is a fictional poem. For many others, such feelings, sadly, are true. Keep up your fine work, Ingrid!

  3. I agree with Carolyn. It is a very emotive poem, so I was pleased to read your note at the end of it!

    Dauphy loves ABBA!
    His favourite is ‘I do, I do, I do, I do, I do’ which he sings to me when I ask if he wants something!

  4. Villanelle’s are powerful way of creating a themes image… and this line drives the point home superbly…
    “Love is not always that bright thing it seems”.

  5. Okay. Wow.

    Thanks for the editorial note: Upon the first read, I believed this piece to be nonfictional (which means you’ve succeeded again).

    Your poem bleeds beautifully.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Ideally I would have composed something new for the prompt but I’m feeling a bit used up. A fantastic prompt in any case!

  6. “And now I’ve learned the end to all his schemes: To toy with me a while, and then be gone,”… this is so poignant. You have captured the dark side of love so elegantly with this Villanelle, which is a great feat to accomplish 💝 if only, we could see through the glitter and charms!

  7. This tells a heartbreaking tale….I’m glad you warned us it’s fictional! The form is done so well that I’m engulfed in the reading and the meaning without even noticing the form. Really enjoyed this!

  8. A villanelle with its recurring repetitive lines always reminds me of the line of Omar Khayyam’s “but evermore came out by the same door as in I went”. You use it masterfully, however, with a powerful and sad story told….one too often repeated.

  9. Kudos for capturing the sadness and poetic spirit of Plath. Your Villanelle is perfection. You know when I first read Plath, I had no idea what a villanelle even was. Bless d’Verse for edumacating old me.

    1. I love the Plath poem. It haunted me because my mum suffered from schizophrenia but to me she never seemed mad, she just had those demons in her head.

  10. A sad turn for the relationship. I admire the villanelle poem specially with this refrain: Love is not always that bright thing it seems.

  11. congrats this fits the prompt well and done with great skill!

    must admit this line made me splutter … yes not acceptable conduct these days but it was your fault!
    ” My villanelle is most certainly a tale of unrequited love: but what is that if not a form of madness? “

  12. I’m glad that it’s a fictional poem, too, Ingrid, although I detect truths gleaned from life. Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ is a great choice of poem with which to have a conversation, ambiguous and interesting to interpret, although I agree with it being a response to unrequited love. I’m also glad you chose the villanelle form which, together with the sonnet, is a favourite of mine. The opening and repeated line is the best hook I’ve read in ages, it dug deep into my soul, together with ‘Love is not always that bright thing it seems’ – so true.

  13. This form is such a challenge (imo), and you’ve mastered it beautifully. I’m also a fan of Sylvia Plath’s work. I don’t find it depressing as some do – I find it thought-provoking, which always draws me into her work.

    1. Thank you, Misky. My mum used to love reading her and she suffered from schizophrenia and depression so it hits me in the heart.

      1. It’s so easy to lose it though! Very easy to ramble off topic and for the refrain to end up meaning not very much. I know, I’ve done it 🙂

  14. This was an excellent piece and an engaging read Ingrid — well written. Happy & Healthy New Year to you and yours. Here’s to writing wonderful poetry in 2021.

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