Chain of Events

I have been tinkering with some material for my upcoming TMA for my OU module, and I have come up with this poem. It is a villanelle, which is a stylised form of poetry that conforms to certain rules. It’s a bit complicated when you first look at them, but having worked on this for a couple of hours I can say with some confidence that I ‘get’ it. Here is the dictionary definition:

A villanelle  is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines.

The prompt we were given was “There is a current moving to the shore” and I had a few ideas about what kind of current, what kind of shore etc as I began, but as I wrote, my hand seemed to lead me in a direction of its own and this is what happened. I have edited and polished it a little, but it probably does need more work yet. I don’t think I’ll be using this for any submissions in the future so it’s OK for me to publish it here. I’d appreciate some feedback if any of you have a minute to let me know what you think.


Chain of Events

There is a current moving to the shore
Bringing a slew of rot and decay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Sugar, tobacco, exotic animals and more,
Thousands of miles by night and day.
There is a current moving to the shore.

Packed to the gunwales, right up to the door,
First stop Jamaica, Trinidad…to stay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Decks with their cargo hold packed ceiling to floor.
No spaces to move. Or breathe, eat or pray.
There is a current moving to shore.

Cash for people – three hundred thousand, four!
Work them to death, their protests won’t sway.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

To see all those people, my brothers, so sore,
Just leave them alone to live, work and play.
There is a current moving to shore,
Captain Molasses has done this before.

You can probably pick out the pattern in this but to be a true villanelle I need to play around with it a bit more, so that the ‘refrain’ lines can be read differently depending on the sense of the stanza, or I could play around with run-on lines etc to make it more prose like. I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination and I am fully aware that my language is not clever or colourful enough to make it into ‘proper’ poetry, but nevertheless I enjoyed writing this and it fired up a couple of things which I can work on another time. I got me thinking too, which is never a bad thing is it?



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