Villanelle for Mother

Dec 24 1928 - Nov 24 2010
Dec 24 1928 - Nov 24 2010 | Source



Fixed, inevitable shift.

Forgone, unalterable crush.

Gravity holds you in its drift.


Ciphering days rendered swift.

Enduring deeply tumbled rush.

Fixed, inevitable shift.


Wavering, fragile, you are rift.

Rough shadow enclave, fatal hush.

Gravity holds you in its drift

.

Diffused ringing prayers uplift.

Follow fast unhinged flush.

Fixed, inevitable shift.


Gape dumb now, banal bereft.

Slack dreaming swallows brush.

Gravity holds you in its drift.


Ritual, dank declared gift.

Ushered up in tangled gush.

Fixed, inevitable shift.

Gravity holds you in its drift.



© 2012 snakeslane

Comments 64 comments

suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wow this poem got my attention. I sure wasn't going where the ending took me. I thought you were having a bad dayLOL.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks suzzycue, it was a very bad day.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Sorry . I am praying for a better day for you today snakelane.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you suzzycue.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

My dear Snakeslane. Even the title tears at my heart. Desulltory evokes a series of 'downer' emotions by each of its very syllables and the poetic form reminds me of a heartbeat, repeating and repeating the pain that's been evoked.

The declaration of love to your mom at the end somehow seems a bit ambivalent in this poem, but no matter. That you're in obvious pain, or were when you wrote it is what I respond to and what I MOST want now is to just hug you! All the words I might use to express my response are superfluous. Just a hug for you, dear ((((Snakes)))). I care.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Any comment I make will be meaningless. I guess I will follow Nellieanna and send a hug.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Nellieanna, thank you! I realize it is pretty intense. I wrote this 6 weeks ago (or so) as my entry in a poetry contest (The Walrus Poetry Prize). When I wrote it I decided to dig very deep into the experience of grief I was feeling at the time my mother passed away (November 2010), and this is what I came up with. I am feeling better now, but it was very difficult to write, and I wouldn't recommend 'going there'. I appreciate the hug!


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you mckbbks, I didn't win the prize. Thanks for the hug. :)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I guessed that. You are welcome. dumb judges


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Mckbbks, I knew it couldn't (win) because it is too dark. The selected winning poems are amazing. Maybe I will lighten up for the next competition.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Dark, moody, intense ... and brilliant, snakelane. Those judges would not know beautiful poetry (like yours) if it hit them over the head! Sorry about your mom. I lost mine, too.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

drbj, Thank you so much for the praises! Wow...I was not prepared for my mother dying, maybe one could never be. Sorry about your mom too.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Deep, very emotional. My Mother is gone too. Awesome words chosen..Hugs****


jhamann profile image

jhamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

Did you win the contest? Hey I sat down to catch up on my hubpages reading and here another Snakeslane villianelle is waiting. I was waiting and I love the use of alliteration in this villianelle. You made me feel as if the poem was literally a weight falling deep into the ocean. Thank You. Jamie


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you always, "deep" and "emotional" is definitely the theme of the poem. Thank you for reading. I'm so sorry you lost your Mother too. That is a life changing experience that is hard to fathom.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

A sad subject. Sorry for your loss. Congratulation on a villanelle. not everyone can write one.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I'm glad the pain was not primarily current, dear snakes, though I know one never fully gets over losing one's mom. I lost mine in 1974 and still miss her. She was 82 and still lively.

Sorry about the contest. All I can say is that the winning poem must have been something great to have won over yours.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey jhamann, Thank you. A heavy poem indeed! The villanelle is an awesome mode, I think I will try again with something lighter. Hope you enjoyed your holiday. No, I didn't win.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you MHatter, appreciate your encouraging words.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Nellieanna for your support. Two of the short listed poems were by the same author so clearly the judges found what they were looking for. Kind of edgey prose poetry, no rhyming in sight and lots of the "V" word. Poetry is like painting, words go in and out of fashion.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Snakeslane. This is awesome. I really liked the way you used repetition of the line: "Gravity holds you in its drift". That was a favorite of all the beautiful words found here, so deep and prophetic. The photograph pulled me willingly into the era of her time. What a beauty she is and that dress. I love it. This was a lovely tribute to her. Smiles and hugs.

Peg


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi snakeslane,

"Rough shadow enclave, fatal hush.

Gravity holds you in its drift.

Diffused ringing prayers uplift"

I don't think we are ever prepared for that fatal hush. A beautiful tribute to your mom.

Voted up and away

Take care :)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Desultory is the perfect word. You area really gifted poet my friend. The photograph is beautiful and the heart sees more than surface after reading the poem.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Peg, Thank you, this is a tough poem, I appreciate your comments. And you are so good for my 'ego'. Thank you. It's the villanelle, has the repeating lines every other stanza and again at the end. And then a whole rhyme thing that gets tricky. I love the photo too.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey Sueswan, Thank you for reading and thoughtful comment.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Ms Bird. i really agonized over this piece. It's got many layers, I appreciate that you could see that.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I know from personal experience that judging poetry contests is extremely difficult. And when there are multiple judges and an 'averaging' among their 'rated' preferences to determine the winners, it's really almost a toss-up.

Many folks are much more aware of fashions in art and poetry than I am. Even in 'fashion', I tend to follow the less-fashionable drummer, I guess. I seem to respond to intrinsic beauty, charm, integrity or "grab" in the work.

But it's all so subjective and personal, isn't it?


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Nellieanna :) About the contest: It was sponsored by a Canadian Magazine that supports the 'Arts' and actually publishes poetry. The entry fee was $25 per entry, so I suppose a very prolific poet could submit as many poems as she/he could afford. That way judges would probably notice a body of work. I only submitted this one lonely villanelle lol. The prize is $5,000 so I thought I would give it a shot. There is a second prize, a people's choice award, of $1,000 that is voted on by the public from the short-listed poems. All very exciting. I don't know about fashion in poetry, but I've noticed lately that the successful writers I've been following are writing in a style that is 'confessional' and done in prose, kind of like these comments we are making. Written almost in the form of a letter, without verse or rhyme, not sure what to make of it. Interesting.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I've noticed that, too. I'm not keeping up with fashion these days (I'm mostly dressed by Sam's :-) but I know what will work and what looks tacky. It's not a matter of following fashion, especially these days when so much really is tacky by any classic standards - and that's sort of what I see happening to poetry. There needs to be a difference between what is presented as poetry from what is plainly prose. Poetry has 'music', no matter how many last words rhyme or don't rhyme. Dogged determination to rhyme can be less poetic than simply infusing the lines with music - that makes sense, and often the rhyming counteracts the sense of it, as well as the music.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

I wanted to say, also, that I totally respect your single entry in that contest, rather than 'padding' the odds with multiple entries. I respect your diligent use of poetic form, such as villanelle, which fits the theme so well, makes sense and flows beautifully. This is real poetry!


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Nellieanna, thanks for coming back. I enjoy hearing what you have to say. No fashion sense here, in a pinch I have my friends help me lol. Don't get me wrong though, I am quite fascinated by 'design' in clothing and everything else. That being said I find the shift in poetry ironic, as prose poetry makes up a huge volume of all I've ever written, and I've not felt that it was 'good enough'. Interesting.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Nellieanna for the vote of confidence. Yes, I feel very much that this is a 'real' poem. :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

For me, 'fashion' was my first discovered talent: - design and construction. When I realized that I really was good at something, after a youth which was rather overshadowed by my elder siblings, I felt finally empowered! I started designing and making my own clothes at 13 and it rapidly developed. Actually I preferred to be on the creative end of it, rather than be a fashionista myself, though I had & implemented so many ideas, I always had nice-looking clothes.

Mother was also talented in design and construction, as was my eldest sister, whose tastes had been more honed by exposure than mine -- and who had no compunctions about imposing hers on me. Still, my ideas remained original with a style differing from hers and I began to see the value in and to prefer mine, despite some rather demeaning criticisms from her. I learned from those, of course. Then I got to study design's professional side at SMU, and loved and excelled at it. I even felt badly that my progress might hurt her feelings!

Many things got in the way of pursuing that career, starting with my sister's tragic death and my tragic marriage. I continued designing for myself and my daughter and the females in my ex's family all during that time, but my several other creative interests gained much precedence then, especially study, writing and poetry, which filled a great need and actually preserved my sanity.

I have to smile because it always amazes me that even now when I'm almost completely unconcerned about it, I can throw most anything to wear together and it looks 'right'. Like with poetry, it almost emerges intact & is almost instinctive to easily discern what works and what doesn't, what's 'too much' and what's 'just right' and other nuances in creating something that may be experienced by others, too.

Like all things, of course, there's no denying individual tastes and preferences enter into it, both on the creating and on the receiving ends. Good part about being on the creating end, though, is that one need only please that end!! :-) And it's fun to re-examine & see how it might be improved or undated, or how it might be presented differently; - or in my case, with poetry, even to see that I might actually present it at all! I sense that you have done that with some delay and/or reservations with your poetry, Snakes. . . .


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Nellieanna, I don't know if I heard the story of your sister's tragic death, I am assuming she was a young woman, and that would be a life changing moment for all who loved her. Didn't mean to get off the design topic, as I am interested in your experience with that, but it is unexpected that you should mention your sister's untimely death, and I just want to say I am so sorry. Our family has just lost a beautiful young woman in a tragic accident (two days ago). Heather, my nephew's wife (newlyweds) was killed at a train crossing. The train clipped her bicycle and she was pulled under it. We are all reeling with shock and disbelief.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hugs!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Oh, I'm terribly sorry to hear of Heather's tragic death, Snakes. And the circumstances are so - raw! You would be - and I can speak with experience - WILL be reeling for a long time to come from that shock.

I thought the story about my sister's death was well known around these parts. It has been mentioned in many of my comments. I began a hub of the story of her life, and intended to continue where that one left off, when she was still in school. It's just that there are so many details and I have so many actual 'things' of hers relating to her life and times, I hadn't summoned my courage to get back onto it.

Let's see. I happened Dec.13, 1953. She was 35 - I was 21 and 6 months out of college graduation. There's a story there connected with this, but I won't go into it much here and now. It's significant in that I'd have been with them & would have perished too, had I not defied her and left Dallas to try to establish my independence after graduation. I had submitted to her domination all during my junior and senior years here at SMU. When it became clear that she intended to keep it up indefinitely, I escaped to Houston, which is where I was when I heard about the tragedy on the radio 6 months later. My roommate & I had just moved & had no phone, so the radio station was sending a plea to anyone who knew my whereabouts, to let me know.

They announced, (by their full names), that my sister, her husband, their 3 children and their maid (I'd have been along to help with the children instead of the maid had I been available) - were all killed instantly when their station wagon was struck by a fast moving train, in Royce City, (a very small hamlet with poor RR crossing warnings & Sunday night traffic was nil) as they were returning at dusk to Dallas from their newly acquired country place east of Dallas. They'd been gong there over the weekends to work on restoration of a log cabin they'd had shipped from the Smokey Mountains and reassembled on their place. Harriet was very creative and was fixing it up beautifully, I'm sure. With 3 little boys under 6 (one 5 and twins 3) - she needed help when out there doing all that. Hence the maid accompanied them.

My life changed irrevocably. She had not forgiven me for leaving. Things in connection with it led to my marrying my first husband, whom I doubt would have become even a serious boyfriend otherwise. Yes - it was life changing for all of us. She was my parents' firstborn and, if they had a favorite, it was she. They were devastated. My other sister's & brother's lives were altered dramatically, as well. Harriet's husband was quite a bit older than she, & his elderly mother was in shock, of course. Their many Dallas friends were all in attendance. It was headline news in many cities in which each of them had connections. Even Harriet's first husband came to the funeral. He'd never remarried, always considering her his real wife as long as they both would live.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Wow. I will comment tomorrow, late now. Thank you for re-telling your sister's story, indeed tragic. So we have this in common too, how strange. A family member struck by a train (well in your case the entire family). Goodnight Nellieanna.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Yes, that is an incredible commonality! Nearly 60 years later, I can still actually experience it all, sensorily and much more; - and it's a unique story. I'd gone on telling it here, but I will spare you: - it leads inevitably to the life-changing events that immediately followed which took me through the next 20 years of my life- and beyond. It's too much for comments, though I wrote a lot of it as fast as I could type - and I'm a fast typist! But it's maybe too much for anywhere except memoirs! :-) What I've told here is no more than a synopsis, if that.

Suffice it to say that we do, indeed, share some momentous life experiences! Makes it interesting!

Hugs and love -


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I am so sorry for your loss--it is so difficult to lose your mother. This is a wonderful piece of work though--and from reading the comments above, I wish you luck with your contest. I have been sharing your work out in the world in the other pieces that I have read and will do the same for this--your work deserves to be read---


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Dear Snakeslane,

This poem made its way through the many stages or emotions of grief, holding each feeling captive for a time. It is hard to push on and let go of the pain. I pray you are at peace my friend and by writing this, it has helped settle some emotions. It is a terrific piece, which I pray brought some healing along the way. Grief is always on its own timetable and let no one tell you different. Gravity may be the only thing that holds us down in these times..

Love you,

Sunnie


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Audrey, I appreciate your commenting and sharing. Yes, there is no loss worse imaginable for me.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Sunnie you are so wise. I had the double bind of feeling relieved to see my Mother free of pain, yet doing everything in my power to help her stay. It was very difficult, and the suddeness of her passing was unexpected, as we had spent weeks and weeks in hospital and looking right up til the last day that she would stay with us a whole lot longer. I think writing this helped work through some of the anger and grief, as you say there is no time limit, but it's been almost two years now, and life goes on. Thank you for your caring words, means a lot to me.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 years ago from California

Many condolences. I am sorry her sudden passing was so ragged and raw. Keep writing, it is such good therapy.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

tirelesstraveler, Thank you for that observation, Ragged and raw it was.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Snakeslane,

Your poetry always touches me deep in my heart. This feels like a bridge between heaven and Earth. I can feel your connection, which will never die, to your beautiful Momma. Her picture is so lovely.

The comments stream makes me glad I saw this so late. I am so sorry about Heather. I feel as though I want to hug you and Nellieanna, knowing all too well how our lives can change so dramatically with unexpected events.

Your poetry does not need to be "fashionable". It is real. Hugs, Maria


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Hey Mar, thank you for your ever warm thoughts and wishes. Poetry and writing has always been my outlet in coming to terms with loss and grief (joy too as so often these emotions are deeply linked as you know). I do appreciate being able to share with you, and hearing your encouraging response. For me, once a poem or a piece of writing is 'published' there is a strange kind of disconnect, I'm not sure how to describe it. But your comment is a reminder that it is indeed 'real'.


GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

snakeslane: I'm so very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom a number of years ago. It's still raw at certain times and certain situations trigger her awful passing. Lots of hugs and many heartfelt wishes that you fill find some quiet peace. Again, I'm so very sorry.--Deb


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada Author

Deb, Thank you. Going from laughter to tears and back. What a mixed up day. You know when our parents get older and more vulnerable it's as if our roles switch, and the child becomes the parent, and somewhere in that transition then if your parent dies you feel as though you've lost a child, which is devastating of course, but it's more than that because you are still the child inside and you've lost your Mother, so many layers of emotion to deal with as you unravel. So, I was trying to write a poem about the loss, but also about what death is and what it means to the person and to those left behind. A fairly large undertaking, no pun intended. Appreciate you reading and commenting, and I am really sorry about your Mom too.


thost profile image

thost 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Nice poem, well done and thank you.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada Author

Hello thost, Thank you! How's springtime in Dublin? Nice here today.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Today seemed the right day to come back for a re- read ... So beautiful.

Always thinking of you. Hugs, Maria


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 3 years ago from Canada Author

Thank you Mar, thinking of you too, Big Hug... and a song.

http://youtu.be/Xebxfxz3skw


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Comforting song, thank you, dear friend. I have only recently heard of the Avett Brothers... Beautiful sound. Thanks for the hug and back atcha!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Sorry I missed this. Our mothers would have been close to the same age so probably why there is such a resemblance to my mother. Size and hair style for sure. My Mom died in June of 2010. They were beautiful.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

Hi Jackie, Thank you. I don't know of any greater pain than losing one's Mother. And yes, the women from this generation had a certain style and mystique that is unforgettable. I miss my Mom every day. She was, as it turns out, my most significant other.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. Wow, your mother looks so much like my mother when she was young. She was born December 16, 1928 and she died in December 20, 2012, just four days after celebrating her 84th birthday. She was the sweetest mother anyone could have been blessed with in this life. I have some photos of her too in my Christmas Love hub back around the time she die 16 months ago.

Hugs and blessings


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

Hello Faith, It is so hard being an orphan, I will look for your Christmas Love hub. Thank you!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Wow, I love the word choices, the way they sound together, the way they feel. It's so heavy. And beautiful. Wow.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 2 years ago from Canada Author

Victoria, Thank you very much for reading and adding such a beautiful comment.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 23 months ago from The Beautiful South

Can't find the one you want me to link so thought you could tell me here. In case you didn't go back and read; I am linking them all to the actual challenge hub...the last hub I did so that my story is just a part of the challenge too, one of the stories.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 23 months ago from Canada Author

Hi Jackie, thank you! Here's the link. How exciting. this is fun: http://snakeslane.hubpages.com//hub/Sugar-Plum-Fai...


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 23 months ago from The Beautiful South

Hope you don't take offense for I am always doing this to someone here (usually Faith) but I messed with your moms picture to try make it clearer and whether I did or not is in question but I will send it to you if you like or I could just put it in one of my hubs and you can pick it up then I will delete it. Let me know.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 23 months ago from Canada Author

Hi Jackie, Yes, I'd like to see it. You could post it here: http://hubpages.com//forum/topic/107096 (an old forum thread I started).


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 23 months ago from The Beautiful South

I don't know how to put a picture there so I put it here (very bottom) and you can get it and delete this . It went in really large and probably looks better as a smaller photo. But it's yours, whatever you think.

http://jackielynnley.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-...

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