Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lilac Villanelle (Or I Killed Two Birds)


I caught sight of the lilacs outside my window, new-watered by the rain. And I thought to write the moment down. Fun, I thought, if I could capture both of the challenges of this week— a villanelle and I look at you, as if for the first time...

This is what drifted in on the breeze.

'At the Window'

I look at you, as if
for the first time, purpled
against the fading gift

of day. I gingerly lift
the glass, decades-rippled
and I look at you, as if

these years had not a rift
between you and me created
against the fading gift

of fragrance, lilac shrift
upon the wind unstated
and I look at you, as if

for the first time adrift
on the wind, unrelated,
and I look at you as if
against a fading gift.

(Somehow my wires got crossed and I had the words 'thrift' and 'shrift' mixed up. I sensed this and looked up the word 'shrift.' It wasn't a word I would have chosen, considering the initial direction I had for the poem. But I accepted it as a gift and used it. The word means 'confession to a priest.')

Lilacs Near the Window photo, by L.L. Barkat.

High Calling Blogs RAP: Bend to Beginnings. Includes a new poetry writing prompt.
Monica’s Her Hands
Yvette’s Through You
Jim's First Sight
Deb's Unearthly Humus
Jennifer's Words in the Wind
LL's A Song of Sudan
LL's daughter's The Garden Still
Laure's And We Can Remember
Erica's Link in the Golden Chain
nAncY's Daydream
Joelle's Begin Again
Brian's Titles into Poems
Laura's The Pen
Marcus's A Noiseless Patient Zombie
LL's Sides, at Catapult Magazine
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

bravo! and i love the gift that chose you.

lilacs are perhaps one of my favorite flowers.

i try to imagine the smell ... our season here begins many days if not weeks from now.

what joy beyond your window, l.l.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Well, I confess that I can almost smell those flowers.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pretty lilacs and words.
you know how to make everything sound good. how do you do it?

i wrote and posted my first villanelle and called it day dream.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

interesting - not a word I know, for sure! the flowers are lovely! mine are not quite in bloom yet but I think spring is definitely here!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

I slept in a room flavored with lilac the weekend past. Love the meaning your unintentional word choice gave to this piece. If only my confessions could be as sweet and alluring as lilac's whispered repentance.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...


When Deb and I went to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland this week, as soon as we got out of the car we were hit with a most marked and permeating, pervasive fragrance. I wish I could remember just what it gave to our sense of smell, but I just remember its beauty. Just as beautiful as the flower bushes themselves on the lawn there of Hope College.

Nice poem and choice of words. Sometimes I have to look up a word I thought was fitting, and find that it is not. But sounds like a good accident in your case. Yes, confession can be a pleasing fragrance to God, and can let the fragrance of Christ break through again into and out from our lives.

4:03 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

Your last two poems here have been beautiful; you handled the form deftly.

5:42 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

i can smell the lilac as i read - and the new word.....i was going to look it up myself, but you did it for me, thanks! - they new word does fit just like a gift :0)

7:26 AM  
Blogger deb said...

a little hesitant in all this blog and comment stuff . But the lilacs that will bloom on Mother's Day , just outside my kitchen window send perfume over the fence to the home where best friend lived and coveted ( and sometimes snuck :) them ). She passed away suddenly a year and a half ago, and well...
your poem was a gift. thank you

11:26 AM  
Blogger RissaRoo said...

I love it!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Pink Dogwood said...

love the poem as well as the picture. i've stumbled over to your site from Holy Experience and look forward to reading more!

10:37 AM  

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