When Holidays Change

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub – MTB–How to Write a Villanelle  (posted by Frank)
Hello, this is Frank Hubeny. Today’s form is the villanelle. Colin Lee used this form in a poem last month which gave me the idea to focus on villanelles today: https://pescetarianpoet.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/in-love-with-fantasies/

We’ve done villanelle’s before, but the last one was over two years ago and that was based on a repost of Samuel Peralta’s original post: https://dversepoets.com/2015/04/02/the-art-of-villanelle/  In that post you can find Dylan Thomas’ famous villanelle begging his dying father to rage against the night.
I see the villanelle as having two perspectives. There is a “theme” and there are the “details”.  This is how I would go about writing a villanelle.  If you have other methods let us know in the comments below.

Simple holidays are not the same-
Father or Mother’s Day, family traditions
when those you love are too soon claimed.

Though a holiday candle’s glowing flame
warms with new family additions,
simple holidays are not the same.

You gaze at them in gilded frames
It is hard not to weep under those conditions,
when those you love are too soon claimed.

Everyone feels an unbearable strain
not to lapse into tearful remission.
Simple holidays are not the same.

If you day turns blue, there’s no one to blame,
for there is a period of transition,
when those you love are too soon claimed.

Though you cannot help but exclaim
how difficult it is, the sad admission-
simple holidays are not the same
when those you love are too soon claimed.



About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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21 Responses to When Holidays Change

  1. frankhubeny says:

    Grief at holidays adds tension to the celebration. Maybe it helps us appreciate those still celebrating with us more. I liked how you developed the details of that theme in the villanelle.


  2. I know this all too well, Sara. And you expressed it so beautifully. Thank you!


  3. It seems frequently we lose loved ones on special occasions, so that grief and the occasion are forever linked. Your villanelle expresses this poignantly.


  4. You describe the process of aging and loosing your loved once so well… Midsummer here, and it always change becoming something else, reminding you of those who left.


  5. Charley says:

    As in your “about” post, you sparked a nerve with this villanelle. It’s well done, and may be reread come the next significant holiday.


  6. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    I think you have handled both form and topic beautifully.


  7. I agree with Rosemary – the couplet resonates with grief and nostalgia throughout


  8. Grace says:

    Not the same anymore ~ Too sad to even think about it but life goes on ~ Love your villanelle ~


  9. I found this very moving. I think it is a great form to express the building, overwhelming feelings of grief.


  10. colorfulpen says:

    Very well written villanelle!


  11. lillian says:

    This is so so very true. I once went to a church that held a Blue Christmas service…it was especially for folks who found Christmas very difficult because they were without a loved one. Too often, in all our over-the-top celebrations of holidays, we forget that for others, these are just plain hell to get through.


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