Nothing Left: A Villanelle and Challenge

Nothing Left

There’s nothing left to eat
In cupboards that are bare,
But I won’t admit defeat.

No choice, I’m on the street.
Please have you change to spare?
There’s nothing left to eat.

I thank God for summer heat.
I’ve nothing left to wear,
But I won’t admit defeat.

People stumble in retreat.
I’m begging while they stare,
There’s nothing left to eat!

Sleep’s not an easy feat
With dreams gasping for air,
But I won’t admit defeat.

I must find a way to cheat
Both hunger and despair.
There’s nothing left to eat,
But I won’t admit defeat.

The Challenge

How to write a villanelle:

  1. Create a rhyming couplet that can be repeated throughout the poem:
    • There’s nothing left to eat,
      But I won’t admit defeat.
  2. The villanelle consists of 19 lines with five three-line stanzas and one four-line stanza.
  3. Plug the couplet into 8 of the 19 lines of the villanelle:
    • As the first and third line of the first stanza.
    • Alternately as the last line for the next four stanzas, starting with the first line of the couplet.
    • Then both lines as the last two lines of the last stanza.
  4. Fill in the remaining top 5 lines with rhymes that match your couplet.
  5. Fill in the middle lines with rhymes that are the same type but different from the couplet.
  6. The syllable count per line does not have to be the same.

Now I will highlight the rhymes.

There’s nothing left to eat
In cupboards that are bare,
But I won’t admit defeat.

No choice, I’m on the street,
Please have you change to spare?
There’s nothing left to eat.

I thank God for summer heat.
I’ve nothing left to wear,
But I won’t admit defeat.

People stumble in retreat.
I’m begging while they stare,
There’s nothing left to eat!

Sleep’s not an easy feat
With dreams gasping for air,
But I won’t admit defeat.

I must find a way to cheat
Both hunger and despair.
There’s nothing left to eat,
But I won’t admit defeat.

Now it’s your turn! Give it a whirl and surprise yourself at what you can come up with. I will post your villanelles here and link them back to your original post, or simply provide the link if you prefer. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit the form perfectly, just have some fun!

If you like what you read, please follow the link in the title and “like” it there too. 🙂
__________________________________________________________________________________

Autumn, a villanelle

The morning dew has turned to frost
As summer fades away to fall.
Too late, fragile crops are lost.

The windows graced with ice embossed,
Deflecting southbound geese’s call.
The morning dew has turned to frost.

Tomatoes on my vines are tossed,
No chance that they’ll turn red at all.
Too late, fragile crops are lost.

Revisiting a stream I’ve crossed,
I watch the steamy waterfall.
The morning dew has turned to frost.

Milkweed pods release their floss,
Grapevines wither on the wall,
Too late, fragile crops are lost.

The stores will raise their produce cost
As supplies from farmers fall.
The morning dew has turned to frost,
Too late, fragile crops are lost.

2013 © Soberflight
___________________________________________________________________

I Asked the Moon the Meaning of its Ray

I asked the Moon the meaning of its ray;
It answered in communion with the Sun;–
May I embrace the One to which I pray?

Some rise with expectation of the day,
I sit in contemplation of the None;
I asked the Moon the meaning of its ray.

Idle lamentation in the way:
My lesser half desires what I’ve won;
May I embrace the One to which I pray?

Yearning for the place I wish to lay,
Pleading for my soul to be undone;
I asked the Moon the meaning of its ray.

Plotting out a series so I say
Exactly where it is I hope to run;
May I embrace the One to which I pray?

A yes can’t hope to cool the burn away;
Manifest it; still it will be done.
I asked the Moon the meaning of its ray.
May I embrace the One to which I pray?

2013 © Lonie Fulgham
___________________________________________________________________

I Lost My Heart to September

Oh, I lost my heart to September
Tonight in a game called Love—
She can’t be found anywhere.

Glued to my seat, feeling fettered,
Wond’ring how am I to [be] love[d]?
Oh, I lost my heart to September!

Where is the pit manager? Sir October!
How could Sept have four aces pulled off?
She can’t be found anywhere!

I think August, our table’s croupier,
Is an accomplice to cheat thereof—
Oh, I lost my heart to September!

I would like to beg it back, sir,
But like Noah’s turtle-dove,
She can’t be found anywhere!

Alas! Yes, I am a fool to venture
My heart; I really shouldn’t have:
Oh, I lost my heart to September—
She can’t be found anywhere

2013 © Jashaél
___________________________________________________________________

The Sun is on the Rise, a Villanelle

The sun is on the rise!
Time for sleep is done
Can you open up your eyes?

Wake now from slumbering sighs
Roll over, little one
The sun is on the rise!

The morning birds are wise
It’s time to have some fun
Can you open up your eyes?

Throw off your nighttime guise
Come have a cinnamon bun
The sun is on the rise!

The day before you lies
Jump up, it’s time to run
Can you open up your eyes?

With sleep, please cut your ties
It’s time to get up, hon
The sun is on the rise!
Can you open up your eyes?

2013 © dflorack
___________________________________________________________________

Losing Ground (Villanelle)

It’s a cataclysmic chain reaction
When overdose goes into overdrive
When tread fails to gain any traction

Little in the way of satisfaction
And it’s all we can do to just survive
It’s a cataclysmic chain reaction

Shortchanged in every single transaction
Stamping out all signs of ambition and drive
When tread fails to gain any traction

Lulled into lethargy and inaction
By the conspiracies the mind would contrive
It’s a cataclysmic chain reaction

Caused by constant constraint and contraction
Dominos fall and boxer takes a dive
When tread fails to gain any traction

Standing in line at the benefaction
It’s all we can do to keep the dream alive
It’s a cataclysmic chain reaction
When tread fails to gain any traction

2013 © T.J. Therien
___________________________________________________________________

The Star

After much travelling, both near and far,
After this lengthy and wandering quest,
At last I have found it, the guiding star.

It was just lying here on the sandbar,
Of course it was hidden here in the West,
After much travelling, both near and far.

I didn’t think it’d be kept in a jar,
But it has passed the verifying test,
At last I have found it, the guiding star.

It’s light casts all others in light bizarre,
Of all heavenly lights this star’s shines best,
After much travelling, both near and far

I didn’t guess that it would heal my scar,
Now I must count myself among the blessed,
At last I have found it, the guiding star.

One day soon it will catch you where you are,
And show the way home to peaceful rest,
After much travelling, both near and far,
At last you have found it, the guiding star.

2013 © pnharris
___________________________________________________________________

Into the Fall

Crashing backward back against the wall
Embracing patience inward we constrain
Pressing restlessly into the fall

Perseverating hours that we stall
Perfecting every technique we could train
Crashing backward back against the wall

Stripped of all the pauses in our call
Clinching onto muscles as they strain
Pressing restlessly into the fall

Seizing wildly all along the hall
Pouring all ours powers down the drain
Crashing backward back against the wall

Imprints pressing marks this is our rawl
Perforating summers hot restrain
Pressing restlessly into the fall

Finishing this isnt in our drawl
Languishing in empty spaceless brain
Crashing backwards back against the wall
Pressing restlessly into the fall

2013 © Lonie Fulgham
___________________________________________________________________

Creative Aging

In my early morning dreams of creative delving,
Inspiration leads me now to an ever greater height!
Thus delighting in the evening memories of aging.

When in my youth I thought of my life’s goal:
Ah, painting and art were my greatest delight,
In my early morning dreams of creative delving.

My years have seen the tarnishing of my soul,
I feel no disillusion though it’s no longer bright!
Thus delighting in the evening memories of aging.

I lived with far too much discipline and control.
Spontaneity often sacrificed to what was right,
In my early morning dreams of creative delving.

Thinking that soon I’d sleep in a grassy knoll
Freed I from that dark prison, my own birthright!
Thus delighting in the evening memories of aging.

Youth can be beached on an ideology’s shoal!
Better to have freed creative fires to brightly ignite
In my early morning dreams of creative delving,
Thus delighting in the evening memories of aging.

2013 © Bastet
___________________________________________________________________

The Staircase: A Villanelle

Still I rise, though walls crumble around me. /
The stairs beneath my feet will fall away. /
What is my purpose? Please: help me; lead me. //

My hands are clammy; my footing, shaky. /
The ornaments of bold youth fall away. /
Still I rise, though walls crumble around me. //

The plaster is raining: its dust grays me. /
Footsteps: clear patches recording my way. /
What is my purpose? Please: help me; lead me. //

So brittle, so fragile: I tread lightly. /
When did hale mansion begin to decay? /
Still I rise, though walls crumble around me. //

Ages spent polishing: futility. /
In the end did it matter? Fade away. /
What is my purpose? Please: help me; lead me. //

Though mansion’s collapsing, I cannot flee. /
Will You take my hand? Will You show the way? /
Still I rise, though walls crumble around me. /
What is my purpose? Please: help me; lead me. //

2013 © Jen Rosenberry
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Lament

In my eyes you always ascend
A moon amongst stars heavily crossed
A poem with a lamentable end
*
On ritual we came to depend
The value of labor, to comfort lost
In my eyes you always ascend
*
For peace we often pretend
How invasive this winter frost
A poem with a lamentable end
*
Let us not secrets but intimacy defend
For love, sanity is a meager cost
In my eyes you always ascend
*
In aspersion we invariably descend
Temperaments on tempest tossed
A poem with a lamentable end
*
If only an apology could mend
But hearts do not burn on exhaust
A poem with a lamentable end

2013 © Yves K. Morrow
___________________________________________________________________

There Is No Profit

There is no profit in worldly gain
Seeking to glorify pride’s fame
Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

Lust driven lives leading to insane
Grasping for the best becomes the aim
There is no profit in worldly gain

Questing for self-pleasure to the point of profane
Our bodies with defiling actions we maim
Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

The desire for wealth our thoughts entertain
Focusing our gaze on other’s acclaim
There is no profit in worldly gain

Becoming number one via strategies inhumane
Abandoning loved ones to win the game
Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

From not loving others please refrain
And sanity one will reclaim
There is no profit in worldly gain
Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

Mark 8:36 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world
and loses his soul.

2013 © awomansaved
___________________________________________________________________

The Gift (a Villanelle)

The walker on the beach has found a shell
and put it in his pocket for a gift,
more meaningful than he could ever tell.

And so he draws a memory from the well,
of argument, of gesture and of rift;
the walker on the beach has found a shell.

And though his soul is self-condemned to Hell,
to memories his mind will often shift,
more meaningful than he could ever tell.

A token she once gave; the token fell,
hurled by a jealous hand from off the cliff;
the walker on the beach has found a shell.

And since that day, his restlessness he’d quell,
by searching for that thing, through sand and drift,
more meaningful than he could ever tell.

Now with his prize he brings a Villanelle,
and the latch on the churchyard gate he quietly lifts.
The walker on the beach has found a shell
more meaningful than he could ever tell.

2013 © Nigel G.
___________________________________________________________________

You…

I don’t want to know life without You
You are light and hope in darkness
Your love I will forever pursue

It has always been me who withdrew
Yet You loved me still despite this
I don’t want to know life without You

I wish that everybody knew
Your shared gifts of love and solace
Your love I will forever pursue

The shackles of past pains You undo
Freedom is known in Your promise
I don’t want to know life without You

I believe that what You say is true
And Your strength I wish to harness
Your love I will forever pursue

I trust that You will see me through
My heart You constantly renew
I don’t want to know life without You
Your love I will forever pursue

2013 © E.D. Allee
___________________________________________________________________

Blog:  Musings On The Hills Of Glory

All I Pine For

All I pine for is to see God’s face,
In this world there’s nothing for me,
Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

Many sorrows yon my joy to erase,
And temptations my eyes yet to see,
All I pine for is to see God’s face!

Oft the enemy lures me to disgrace,
All to sting me like a lethal bee;
Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

Jesus’ Blood mediates my case,—
But still daily I make a cleansing plea;
All I pine for is to see God’s face!

The joy of my salvation shan’t efface,
For yet I will soldier on, and not flee,
Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

And, daily I pray to win my race,—
In the end to come out victoriously.
All I pine for is to see God’s face,
Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

2019 © Tebatjo Malaka
___________________________________________________________________

Blog:  NobbinBlog

The Breath of Death

I futilely gasp for every breath
Each more precious than the last
I refuse to acquiesce to death

I struggle to inhale but I’m bereft
I achieve nothing with each gasp
I futilely gasp for every breath

I wish I could start again, refresh
My whole life can’t be in the past
I refuse to acquiesce to death

I give myself a feeble heft
Still my throat is unsurpassed
I futilely gasp for every breath

Who will say that they wept?
Who will fly their flag half-mast?
I refuse to acquiesce to death

Why do I fight? I lived depressed
I can’t accept my life has passed
I futilely gasp for every breath
I refuse to acquiesce to death

2019 © Nobbinmaug
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99 thoughts on “Nothing Left: A Villanelle and Challenge

  1. Great villanelle! I will try one this week

    1. I look forward to reading it! 🙂

  2. Great to act as a catalyst for a response too!

  3. Your write was so great and heartfelt, it brought tears to my eyes. I do hope however those who are in that situation you described indeed never accept defeat.
    I think I’m gonna bite the villanele challenge, been wanting to write one for a long time.

    1. Yes, I hope so too. And I also hope that you try your hand at the villanelle as I think you would do a terrific job of it. 🙂

  4. Maybe I’ll give it a shot…leximckee is right, you are a catalyst by providing such a shining example…sort of like when we were kids and the bravest would lead the way across the rocks of a stream with a “Come on! I double-dog dare ya!”

    1. Love it, only I would be saying “I double-cat dare ya!” 😀

  5. Nice one, Cubby! Let’s see if I have the guts to take this challenge.
    Haha!

    1. Doesn’t hurt to give it a try. No one has to know. 😉

    1. Crikey, that was quick and brilliant! I’ll post and link it right now. You knocked this one out of the park! 🙂

  6. After reading that I think I have to go back to bed. Clever kitty. There’s a chicken on my blog for you today:) Happy Wednesday and wonderful poem. Meow

  7. Fantastic poem and great challenge with explanation. You’re really very good at this, now, I’ll give it another try! 🙂

    1. I hope the explanation was clear. I’m glad I came across a tutorial about how to color the text. Looking forward to reading what you write! 🙂

      1. Me too…right now I’m trying to explain Haiku and Senryu…complicated!

  8. Reblogged this on Bastet and Sekhmet's Library and commented:
    Another great explanation/challeng from Cubby, this time the Villanelle…have a go!

  9. I Love this! So Filled with Emotion, So Touching!

  10. I love these complex forms. Unfortunately I’m no good at them; I always feel like I’m trying to fit into a suit two sizes too small.

    1. That’s similar to how I feel when I try to write free verse, like I’m lost in oversized clothing and can’t find my way out.

      1. Luckily, we get to write in whatever style we find amiable!

  11. Thanks for explaining the villanelle. A cool form I hadn’t heard of. I may give one try. 🙂

    1. I hope you do! It will feel like stretching a muscle you never knew you had. 🙂

  12. enjoyed the Villanelle…I’ve only attempted this form twice, but I did my own little tutorial on it to explain the importance of form. I am going to have to revisit this form now the gauntlet is down challenging me to write one…

    1. You do these strict, structured types of poems very well, which I believe comes from a well-disciplined mind. I look forward to seeing what you write! 🙂

      1. Nah, I just calls it as I sees it! 😀

  13. So many forms! Cubby, thanks for including the “how to” on writing this type of poem.
    All so beautiful!

    1. I’m glad you enjoy them. It’s fun to experiment sometimes. 🙂

  14. After reading these two poems…I felt like I was rhyming and singing a song.

    Magnificently awesome! 🙂

  15. I ;love it. It’s clever, sticks to the rules- but at the same time is spontaneous.

    1. Many thanks for your kind words. I like to stick to the rules when I can. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  16. Great post! I am going to have to get around to trying my hand at it! Really helpful breakdown- I need the simplification! Thank you!

    1. When it comes to instructions, I think the simpler the better. Hope you give it a try! 🙂

  17. Great poem, Cubby! I’ve never written a villanelle before. I might have to give it a try!

    1. Definitely! I think you would write a fantastic one! 🙂

  18. It’s awesome how you take these challenges and make nothing something 🙂

    1. Nothing is always something. :).

  19. Great poems — I am so glad you are encouraging people to try the villanelle! As of today, it’s my favorite form – seriously! Here’s a few that I wrote: http://jrosenberry1.wordpress.com/tag/villanelle/ – what do you think?
    Thank you for writing this post!

    1. Many thanks for your beautiful addition! 🙂

  20. Thank you for bringing to life all the amazing poetry. Hard to follow rules. I took classes 27 years ago and was always hard for a epic writer to stay in the box with rules.

    1. Epic writers create their own rules, so they do not need to follow the rules of others. 🙂

  21. Beautiful – I’m going to experiment and compose my first villanelle.
    I love the sound of the word, villanelle.
    Thanks for posting the steps how to do it.
    MJ 🙂

    1. I’m looking forward to it! I agree, the sound of the word villanelle is just so lovely. 🙂

  22. Wow! Awesome! I must try my hands at this! Perhaps in succeeding, I’ll write a masterpiece! Lol, I started early, thank you for stopping by my blog earlier. I appreciate it.

    1. I’m sure you could write a masterpiece! You won’t know unless you try. It was my pleasure to visit your lovely blog. 🙂

      1. Okay, I am not great with putting things off, so I went ahead and gave it a shot. I’ll post it on my blog tomorrow but here it is- let me know what you think! (P.S. I broke the rules a little, let me know if you catch it, wink!)

        The Heart Break!

        Tear ducts dry
        Frozen in a silent scream
        But, I’m not even going to cry!

        Even as my world goes awry
        Cascading downstream
        Numbed by pain! I can’t even try!

        Heart aches, like I’m going to die
        The very fabric of me coming un-seamed
        But! I’m not even going to cry!

        Love, that all obstacles defy
        Snatched so quickly! Or was it a dream?
        Tear ducts still dry!

        I let out a sigh
        Hurting in ways you can’t imagine
        But, I’m not even going to cry!

        Hopefully I stood by
        Thinking my heart you’ll redeem
        Alas! You smashed it to pieces with your good-bye
        Tear ducts dry!
        I’m not even going to cry!

        – Hajara

        1. Lol yes, you broke a couple rules, but it is a beautiful piece of writing regardless. 🙂

          1. Thank you. Will work at it!

  23. Lorraine Marie Reguly September 19, 2013 — 12:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Poetry Perfected and commented:
    This is worthy of being on a blog called Poetry Perfected. Don’t you agree?

  24. Lorraine Marie Reguly September 19, 2013 — 12:32 pm

    These are excellent. EXCELLENT. Your teaching of how to write villanelles is superb. I just had to reblog this! 🙂 Hope you don’t mind!

    1. Not at all! I’m glad you liked the post enough to reblog. 🙂

  25. I particularly liked that you used the repetition of villanelle to emphasize the continuing struggles of the many homeless on our streets. Well done. And thanks for liking my latest poem.

    1. Your poetry is beautiful. I’m glad you liked the way I used the villanelle here. 🙂

  26. Reblogged this on wdbwp and commented:
    Interested in forms? Check out this Villanelle challenge from Cubby at reowr.wordpress.com

  27. Wow Cubby! I’m very impressed, and what a cool form. I’ll have to give it a try. *_*

    1. I hope you do! From reading some of your stuff, you seem like a very flexible writer. 🙂

      1. From Sylvia Plath to Hip Hop and a lot in between, pretty much. I love contemporary forms though… They produce fantastic rhythms and tonal values.

  28. Loved it, would love to have a go soon not up to the challenge at the moment. Just enough to go and get my blog running properly. Hopefully.

    1. At your convenience. No rush. 🙂

  29. There Is No Profit – A Villanelle
    (Inspired by Cubby’s challenge to write Villanelle)

    There is no profit in worldly gain
    Seeking to glorify pride’s fame
    Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

    Lust driven lives leading to insane
    Grasping for the best becomes the aim
    There is no profit in worldly gain

    Questing for self-pleasure to the point of profane
    Our bodies with defiling actions we maim
    Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

    The desire for wealth our thoughts entertain
    Focusing our gaze on other’s acclaim
    There is no profit in worldly gain

    Becoming number one via strategies inhumane
    Abandoning loved ones to win the game
    Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

    From not loving others please refrain
    And sanity one will reclaim
    There is no profit in worldly gain
    Losing one’s soul to death’s bane

    Mark 8:36 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world
    and loses his soul.

    Thanks Cubby!

    1. You knocked this challenge out of the park! 🙂

  30. I love patterns! I’m just a bit hesitant because I’ve never tried this before, but well… we’ll see.

    1. It is always a little intimidating when trying something new, but it doesn’t hurt to try. 🙂

  31. I’ve got a feeling I may regret this but I cannot resist these challenges!

    1. No regrets! You write beautifully 🙂

      1. Very kind – you may change your mind about that when/if you see my Villanelle

          1. I humbly withdraw the “if”. Just checking I’ve got the form right. I’ve been doing this all morning when I should have been doing the chores!

            1. Chores can do themselves. Writing can’t. 😉

              1. I’ve set the cats to work! 🙂

  32. Okay… here she is. Let me know what my grade is. Grasshopper awaiting feedback!

    I don’t want to know life without You
    You are light and hope in darkness
    Your love I will forever pursue

    It has always been me who withdrew
    Yet You loved me still despite this
    I don’t want to know life without You

    I wish that everybody knew
    Your shared gifts of love and solace
    Your love I will forever pursue

    The shackles of past pains You undo
    Freedom is known in Your promise
    I don’t want to know life without You

    I believe that what You say is true
    And Your strength I wish to harness
    Your love I will forever pursue

    I trust that You will see me through
    My heart You constantly renew
    I don’t want to know life without You
    Your love I will forever pursue

    ©E.D. Allee

    1. This is beautiful. Really love the message and how strong it grew by the end of the poem. Outstanding job. Well done, grasshopper, very well done indeed. 🙂

      1. Whoo hoo!! ok if I post a link to your blog in a little shout out I plan to include when I post it?

        1. Of course. I was really hoping you would post it on your blog too. 🙂

  33. Haha this is awesome…imagine I have been trying to write a villanelle since 12th grade when my English teacher challenged us. These are all very good! Maybe I will post whenever I write one that I like.

    1. Hehe glad you like it. I can’t believe you learned how to write a villanelle in Grade 12. I must not have paid much attention in English class as I do not remember any forms/styles from school. When you write one that you like, give me a shout over here if you would like it attached to the challenge post. 🙂

  34. This is beautiful.

    Done writing mine. I loved this challenge. I will publish on my blog and give you the link tomorrow. let me now sleep.

      1. Okay, here’s my attempt now. I think I tried.

        All I Pine For

        All I pine for is to see God’s face,
        In this world there’s nothing for me,
        Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

        Many sorrows yon my joy to erase,
        And temptations my eyes yet to see,
        All I pine for is to see God’s face!

        Oft the enemy lures me to disgrace,
        All to sting me like a lethal bee;
        Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

        Jesus’ Blood mediates my case,—
        But still daily I make a cleansing plea;
        All I pine for is to see God’s face!

        The joy of my salvation shan’t efface,
        For yet I will soldier on, and not flee,
        Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

        And, daily I pray to win my race,—
        In the end to come out victoriously.
        All I pine for is to see God’s face,
        Meanwhile, I will cling to His grace.

        —Musings On The Hills Of Glory

        1. You more than tried! This is an excellent villanelle. Fantastic job! 🙂

          1. Thank you. Looking forward for more challenges.

  35. I bent the rules a little on this one and am not posting it directly on here because it contains a mild swear word but here goes; I enjoyed the creation: https://wordpress.com/post/antoniasarazenkevitch.com/1347

    1. I appreciate your consideration. I would prefer to keep my blog swear-free if possible due to past complaints. 🙂

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