Jane Dougherty Writes

Paul Brookes chose the virelai as last week’s challenge.

This was the most challenging form so far. I enjoy rhymes, but this form calls for so many (nine rhyming end words for a poem of nine-line stanzas) that the sense took very much second place to fitting in a rhyme. The first poem, which took hours to get (sort of) right, proves the point that Medieval French poetry is best left to Medieval French poets. I ended with a six-syllable line because I ran out of enthusiasm to find a three-syllable line that would ‘do’.

Winter day-dreaming

Cold of a winter day
cracks stone, ice in the bay,
deep as night.
We beg the sun to stay
and chase the chill away,
beaming bright,
but my heart’s heavy clay
no comfort in the grey
of frost’s bite.

I wake in morning light
with all the stars so bright
dimmed on…

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