Our Lady of the Blackberry Vine
reads Rilke for the thorn-caught ghosts,
herself their only anodyne.

With sugar cane and turpentine
she paints their lonely coffin-boats,
Our Lady of the Blackberry Vine.

She makes for them the Holy Sign
her foxfire flock in rotted clothes,
herself their only anodyne.

Willow wafer, cypress wine,
saint cards she sews in pocket-coats,
Our Lady of the Blackberry Vine. 

Her hair is braided serpentine
to be for them a woven host
herself their only anodyne.

No Diocese need her assign
to wash the feet that need it most;
Our Lady of the Blackberry Vine
herself their only anodyne.

for day 19, ever so slightly early.

I have never had any success trying to write a villanelle. The only one I ever managed to finish was a light-hearted one about my dog. But I thought I would try again, and this is the result. Thanks again to my BFF hedgewitch for the forms she recommended at my request.


Sherry Blue Sky said…
Wow. This is soooooooo goooooood. Makes me want to try a villanelle. I love the pantoum, but find the villanelle harder. I love the lady of the Blackberry Vine.
tonispencer said…
I did a villanelle (villain nell) a couple of years ago. It was sad. The poem was good but sad. Like many of Duke's basketball, when it comes to the villain nell, I am one and done. I love our Lady of the BlackBerry vine. Excellent rhymes in this.
hedgewitch said…
This is just gorgeous Shay, and has that true villanelle feel of chant and echo--a difficult one for us moderns I think, but you have nailed it, invested it with spirit and soul, and every image is sharp and singular. Your writing is just over the moon lately, dear BFF.
Mama Zen said…
I'm not a big fan of the villanelle, but this is stunning.
Anonymous said…
the more you read this poem, the more you are brought up into the pace, the rhythms, the feelings - the scheme of it - but it doesn't just "end" with a form that has been well explored and executed! as some one else suggested - villian! [h]nell!

but you've taken it beyond, and crafted a rich and lush story within, offering us a modern yet slightly old-world flavoured treat for the palate - so consider yourself rightfully pleased, for your efforts. It's a fine fine wise piece
Other Mary said…
Wow - this is sort of brilliant.

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