Tag Archives: villanelle

“Inspired by Maya Angelou” (a villanelle by Paul Burgess)

“Inspired by Maya Angelou” (a villanelle by Paul Burgess)
(In 2006, after reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I composed this villanelle for a class. Since it is as cheesy as the most sentimental of greeting cards, I had not planned to share it with anyone. But, since Angelou has passed, I will post it in memory of her. [As with many poems I wrote in college, the meter is a bit irregular])

The Poem:

Suffering heavy heart and wing,
Wind forcing flight close to the ground,
This bird will never cease to sing.

To my song, I’ll always cling,
Though I may appear nearly downed,
Suffering heavy heart and wing.

No man, whether peasant or king,
Will ever silence my bold sound.
This bird will never cease to sing.

My voice will vibrantly ring,
If I am shackled and earthbound,
Suffering heavy heart and wing.

Whatever fickle Fate may bring,
Be it murky marsh or sparkling spring,
This bird will never cease to sing.

Though one day thorns of age will sting,
And my green soul will become browned,
Suffering heavy heart and wing,
This bird will never cease to sing.

“Disease: a Villanelle” by Paul Burgess

This is the first villanelle I have attempted since 2006–the year in which I began an 8 year break from writing poetry. I am not sure if it is any good, but I am certain that it is a villanelle:)

Although his thoughts would make a person freeze,
He often rants about the Justice scales.
…he’s not alone in having this disease.

He’s known to translate “smoke” as “foggy breeze”—
To choose the proper phrase he rarely fails,
Although his thoughts could make a person freeze.

A flashing dollar sign is all he sees
When shown his admen’s stylish faerie tales
He’s not alone in having this disease.

His corporation gives to charities
A nominal percentage of its sales,
Although his thoughts could make a person freeze.

The people whose support’s obtained with ease
By one who speaks of Christ, the Cross, and nails
Are not alone in having this disease.

Though spending Sundays praying on his knees,
His acts would land some poorer men in jails.
This gloomy thought could make a person freeze:
He’s not alone in having this disease.