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Remember the other day when I said I was working on a new villanelle? (And then proceeded to explain what a villanelle is and how to write one, rather than, you know, focusing on my own work? Ahem.)

Well, today is the reveal of the poem that I wrote as part of the latest group project with my lovely Poetry Sisters. Growing up, I always wanted a sister, and now I have six of them. Lucky me! We all decided to write about something "hidden" - and the topics are all very different. In honor of Liz Scanlon's lovely daughter, and because that daughter's English teacher is simply WRONG and INCORRECT and the sort of autodidact of whom I don't approve, this poem is untitled.

Though clouds and storms may darken day to night,
witch hazel buds grow ripe, prepare to bloom.
As winter gathers strength, it gathers light.

Already flocks wing northward. It’s their plight
to go and come. Through winter skies they zoom,
though clouds and storms may darken day to night.

Blue jays and sparrows, juncoes all alight
on sap-rich branches, strong despite the gloom.
As winter gathers strength it gathers light.

Snow heaps itself in massive drifts of white.
Earth harbors nascent life in its vast womb,
though clouds and storms may darken day to night

while wind gusts rattle houses, causing fright.
It’s not as if cold weather is all doom
as winter gathers strength. It gathers light

and somehow heat as well. Plants grow despite
a patina of ice. New buds resume
though clouds and storms may darken day to night.
As winter gathers strength, it gathers light.

My lovely Poetry Sisters have written villanelles as well. You can find them here:

Tricia Stor-Hunt wrote about the Chateau de Gudanes, and it's a lovely trip of a poem.
Tanita Davis wrote two, and has a real affinity for this form.
Sara Lewis Holmes made me feel better by finishing her poem even later than I did!
Liz Garton Scanlon wrote about King Tut and/or about how things aren't always as they appear. Love how rich with meaning her poem is.
Laura Purdie Salas has been talking about (and to) rocks. Love the playfulness of this poem.
Andi Jazmon has written about the life hidden within a seed.

I hope you'll check out all six of the other poems, and if you want still more poetry, click the box below for the Poetry Friday roundup.

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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Andi Sibley
Feb. 6th, 2015 11:04 am (UTC)
Kelly, your lovely poem here has taught me something new about winter. I thought I knew all about how the days grow short, and then long, but I never put the storms and frigid cold of February together with the slightly longer days... until this week and this poem! It's true, it's true, it's true!

"As winter gathers strength, it gathers light."

*happy dance* We've been having awful mixed weather events and COLD, but just this week we got home at the end of the day and IT WAS STILL LIGHT! YAY!
Feb. 6th, 2015 06:16 pm (UTC)
I've been celebrating the longer days since the start of the year. And then I noticed my witch hazel was full of buds despite it being January. So when we talked about writing about something "hidden", the idea that plants and birds are already preparing for spring even though the worst of winter's weather isn't here yet appealed to me. Glad it gave you something to celebrate!
TS Davis
Feb. 6th, 2015 03:08 pm (UTC)
Usually your blog doesn't let me comment, so I'll count it a supremely happy day if it does - I LOVE this and especially love that you put witch hazel in a poem. It never gets into poems! I also love the spindliness of sap-rich branches - the evocative imagery just MAKES this poem.
Feb. 6th, 2015 06:17 pm (UTC)
*waves at Tanita* THERE YOU ARE!

I found out in a post last week that witch hazel is also known as "winterbloom", and got fixated on it!
Sara Lewis Holmes
Feb. 6th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
Last night, it was so cold that the seed pods on our neighbor's wisteria bushes were popping clean off the vines and hitting our windows! Perhaps I shall think of them as gathering so much light they burst.... Anyhow, thank you for this lovely poem.
Feb. 6th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
Oh no! I so love the sight of wisteria when it blossoms. (Also, I end up singing "Hysteria" by Def Leppard when it's mentioned, due to a friend once singing "The purple flower... it's WISTERIA!")
Feb. 6th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kelly....
I love this so much.
"As winter gathers strength, it gathers light."
That is just a superior, lyrical, full-of-meaning line.
Yes. Good job, gal!
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Oh, Kelly....
Did you see my mini-rant about your girl's teacher? I remain annoyed with the teacher for her taking points from your girl and then trying to beat her down. I'm glad your daughter knows better than to take it.
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Feb. 7th, 2015 01:19 am (UTC)
I'm with Liz. I love "As winter gathers strength, it gathers light." But what I love most is that it works, as is, every time it's repeated and never feels stale or incomplete. Does this make sense? I couldn't make mine work without changing it up. But you did something really special. Well done!
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC)
I understand exactly what you meant. The only time it shifted was the one time I broke that line, but the words remained the same. It was a fun challenge, though I would have shifted my last lines if I needed to!
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jenn - that's what I attracted me to the subject. The "worst" months of winter are January through March, but each day's a little longer in there, which is something to grab hold of on a dreary grey day (and we get our share here, as you know).
Feb. 7th, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)
Oh, my fav line this time around is "Blue jays and sparrows, juncoes all alight." I think it's because I love the specifics and also the double meaning of alight. The whole poem is wonderful. Railing against the unreasonable teacher is pretty wonderful, too:>) But...PAT-i-nuh? Is that really how y'all say it? I've never heard it any other way than puh-TEEN-uh. When I saw the back and forth in the Google Doc, I thought, "What the...?" I love hearing about regional differences like this. Anyway, wonderful poem! xoxo, Laura

Edited at 2015-02-07 04:37 am (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I used to say "pa-TEE-na", but found out that's not exactly the proper pronunciation. When Tricia asked me about it, I even double-checked by asking the computer how to say the word, and the dictionaries with online pronunciation stuff all say PAT-in-uh.

It's sort of like the word "cupola", I guess, which I thought for years was a coop-O-la, after reading it in some book. And then I found out it was a COOP-uh-la. Who knew?
Mary Lee Hahn
Feb. 7th, 2015 03:33 pm (UTC)
I love that gathering strength. So hopeful, even in the cold and dark.
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mary Lee!
Liz Steinglass
Feb. 7th, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC)
You seem to describe this moment perfectly. Winter isn't yet over. I'm sure there's snow ahead and yet I sense subtle changes that suggest spring is indeed coming. The hours of daylight are growing.
Feb. 7th, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC)
More daylight is really one of the only things about this time of year to grab hold of as a plus, some days, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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