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History Lesson (Can We Bank?)

January 3, 2012

Dissolving crypted murk with gin-clear gaze
reveals the carousel’s entropic clunk,
a loop and spasm re-run of malaise.

Our wheel inscribes a widening spiral maze
infilled with iron, steam and micro ink;
dissolving crypted murk with gin-clear gaze.

Between cretaceous strata eyes are glazed
in rigor mortis, blinks now static-blank;
a loop and spasm re-run of malaise.

High tidal dunes denude and smother days
of Ozymandian might – a cycle sunk;
dissolving crypted murk with gin-clear gaze.

Etruscan, Mayan, Persian, Empire – craze
as axles crack and sinews, septic, shrink;
a loop and spasm re-run of malaise.

Our flickr’ing ferris wheel – discordant daze
is blind to fall and rise; yet can we Bank?
Dissolving crypted murk with gin-clear gaze:
a loop and spasm re-run of malaise.


Linking to tonight’s Form For All with Samel Peralta @dVerse Poets Pub – we’re in for some musical physics..

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  1. Important question at this juncture indeed. I’m so happy to see you’ve finally posted this one on the blog. This is a fine piece…just love that gin-clear haze. I really love that you’ve chosen the villanelle for this subject too, the repetition works well to underscore the idea of history repeating itself. I don’t think we’ll ever learn…too bad.

    • Thanks Emma.. it’s taken a while for this to settle and for me to see which of the three versions I was going with! I tend to agree. Collective memory doesn’t seem to have caught on… Thanks for reading Emma and for your visit.

  2. This is so precisely-formed, with a Gibbon Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire kind of scope, embellished with the gin-penchants of the Industrial Revolution and the 1940s alike, cutting a swathe through history. (Also, “crypted murk” was reminiscent of how I feel cleaning my sink-drainer-thingy.) The –nk rhymes and the simplicity of those words set the more elaborate vocabulary off nicely.

    • Thank you Kathy.. love your aside about clearing out the grim-laden thingy.. haha

      Really glad to hear you enjoyed the -nk rhymes.. this started with all near rhymes but I had some great feedback at FEPC and had another go with full rhyme for the A/a rhymes. Definitely worth the revision. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

  3. remember it well.. excellent villanelle

  4. an excellent villanelle becky…and i wasn’t expecting anything less from you.. great walk through history and how it reaches into today..the gin-clear gaze..ha..and the ferris wheel..good questions as well..much enjoyed and i can imagine that it took some time to mature as well

  5. Excellent villanelle – intense and well-wrought – well done. k.

  6. jcosmonewbery permalink

    Whoa! I need to think about that one a bit. Quite a complex work, woven into the confines of the villanelle.

  7. heh, love your play within, its cryptic but decypherable….and makes me think of empires….another comment mentioned rome…the parrallels to rome and the US these days is intriguing….and empires fall you know….def have similar thoughts and you work it really well in your verse…well done to form..

    • Yep… taking the long view… but why can’t one generation pass on its hard-won wisdom to the next?

  8. Becky – hate to post a link but this morning woke up thinking of old villanelles and since you seem interested in form, thought you might like this one – as it’s illustrated and very silly.

  9. A timely reminder, all empires fall and that of all modern Western powers including the USA has barely scratched the length of the Roman or Egyptian dominance which are broken stones and dust.

    • It’s an unfortunate thing that in democratic systems, those in power can never afford to take the long view.. they always have to look to being re-elected. A significant failing in the system methinks.

  10. Oh Becky this may be my all time favorite of yours, so sorry I missed it before but thrilled to catch it now. The diction is stellar, the execution flawless, and I definitely didn’t think it was too dense (but you should rely on a better judge as we know I have density problems :)). Seriously, I loved it!

    • haha…. villanelles encourage my tendency to opacity, I was never satisfied this one was clear enough. But thank you for your wonderful enthusiasm… very much appreciated.

  11. hedgewitch permalink

    I’m not going to praise this for form(which is exquisite) but for the sheer poetry of it. I don’t think you could possibly express that fifth tercet better if you spent decades at it–such a feeling of fragile, physical being injected into our historical constructs, and an excellent word choice in ‘craze’ on various levels. Really a superlative poem, becky–it sounds like you spent a lot of time and effort with it, but I can assure you, it was a sounder investment than any Bank might offer.

    • Ah, Joy… you just made my day…and Anna had made it once already!

      I’ve very happy to hear you discerned the message and thrilled to receive your praise on the poetry – as you are one of the best at the craft I’ve come across on the trail. Thank you.

  12. A wonderful villanelle: dense, musical, poetic, philosophical..all in one; the repetitions made it deeper, darker, and more durable. I loved it.

    • Thanks so much, Gay… happy to hear you find the form works to amplify the message here. Dark it is.

  13. Semaphore / Samuel Peralta permalink

    I recognized from the start that this would be a poem mining the same vein of history mined by Percy Bysshe Shelley in ‘Ozymandias’. And yes, like the best of wines, villanelles take time to mature, develop that intense and subtle flavouring that gives them their distinction.

    • Thanks, Samuel… sadly our children will still be regretting the generational inability to learn from collective history. Good to hear this one is passing muster as a villanelle.

  14. Without the guidance of some of the comments i would not have gotten the entire meaning is just for this reason I am here to learn….This is a wonderfully written villanelle…ought to be widely read for it’s perfection as well as it’s somber message …..

  15. Thanks kkkkaty 🙂 I don’t think it’s perfect by any means and the meaning could be clearer, but happy to hear you took something away from reading. Thanks for dropping in.

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