Once we were lovers

The NaPoWriMo prompt is based on the association of the villanelle with two lines taken from songs.

Posting in the dverse villanelle collection until/if I can/can’t come up with a new one.


Once we were lovers; can they understand

That some things just finish, were not meant to last?

I never could bear now the touch of your hand.


On this dark cliffโ€™s edge, beneath us the strand,

The wild waves and wild winds show us the past;

Once we were lovers, can they understand?


It should have worked out; we had it all planned,

Dreams fade of over-the-rainbow so fast.

I never could bear now, the touch of your hand.


Ahead is a jumble of futures as bland

As heaps of dead stars; yet the sky was so vast

Once. We were lovers; can they understand?


Chasing the bright lights, we followed the band,

Small things like happiness simply outclassed,

I never could bear now the touch of your hand.


Tide swept away what we wrote in the sand

About love, forever, how life was a blast,

But once we were lovers. Can they understand,

Why I never could bear now the touch of your hand?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

37 thoughts on “Once we were lovers”

  1. Lovely and well-done. I liked how you changed the punctuation/meaning.
    It took me forever today to write a villanelle. I didn’t want to read yours till I did mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. A proper villanelle. Very nice Jane. I had to go back and tweak mine a bit…stickler for the form and meter myself. So far Iโ€™m enjoying NaPoWriMo. Years ago Iโ€™d have been so intimidated by the thought of writing a new poem each day, but our micro poetry dailies got me in the swing. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Thanks Kat. I feel the same way about rhythm and rhyme. If you call a poem a villanellle seems to me you have to write one, not a free style effort with no rhyme or beat to it. Writing a poem a day shouldn’t be difficult even for us wanabee poets ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I had a hard time with mine today too, and I can’t get it to link to NaPoWriMo, either–one of those days.
    You get such a wonderful flow. I’m not there yet–I guess I haven’t written enough of them. (K)

    1. Thank you. It comes with practice, I suppose. I think of the iambic rhythm as a song. The lines have to scan or you lose the tune. I post my link in the comments to NaPo. I don’t check whether the ping back works.

      1. My whole comment kept disappearing. I finally gave up. I just posted today, so I’ll wait a bit to see if it disappears again. And I must visit the Oracle!

  4. Jane! I love this villanelle – it’s taken me bloody forever to get to mine and I’m way behind, but I’ve also been plagued by tons of work and cluster headaches every blessed evening for the last three nights. I really love how yours rhymes and flows (both villanelles!)

    Here, at LAST, is my first attempt at the form. I really need practice, this one is…not quite satisfactory but it’ll do!

    1. I had a migraine yesterday too. The last thing I wanted with all the other things winter threw at me and still linger. They are buggers to write and even harder to get to flow so that repetition doesn’t barge in like a poleaxe. I liked yours, the Queen references were so good! I don’t know the Saint Francis but I’ll take your word for it. When your headaches finally go away, try a classic villanelle making the middle lines of each stanza rhyme too. The end rhymes aren’t the only buggers, you know ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Oh I knoooow re the rhymes! I hope your migraine is gone, they are buggeralls they are. I think joining D’verse may be good for improving my metrics.

      2. Migraine went thanks. I have magic pills ๐Ÿ™‚
        I don’t think joining dverse will help with the metrics. It’s a site for prompts not criticism. No one will tell you if the lines don’t scan, partly because it seems to me that most of us don’t actually hear when a line is wrong or a rhyme isn’t. It baffles me but it’s a fact. Yet we expect songs to scan and we manage to sing along, clap a beat. Just say them aloud and you’ll hear if it’s right.

  5. I am picky about lines scanning, if they’re supposed to scan (especially if it’s in my writing)! I’m just not so skilled at rhyming and form, but I think that it has to be learned by doing, so I will…try to do this. Ohhhhh I’m not the only one who reads poems out loud them to see if they sound right! โค

    You *do* inspire me to write on the worst of days, Jane. Thank you.

    1. I’m glad ๐Ÿ™‚
      I like trying out different forms. It’s good discipline, learning rules and sticking to them. Yup, I say my poems in my head and if there’s a metre I beat time with my foot while I’m reading it. I have to!

      1. I am really trying to learn various forms and how to write properly – I got told in no uncertain terms a little while ago that I don’t know the rules and I need to learn. And as a musician, YES BEATING TIME WITH FOOT. I nod my head or tap something with a finger but yes! Beating time!

      2. As a musician, that should be second nature to you ๐Ÿ™‚
        The only reason any poet should ever be criticised for not following rules is if they set themselves up as an authority on the subject or become so famous they’re fair game. That isn’t your case so whoever was snarky about your poetry can just feck off.
        It’s difficult to leave glowing comments on poems in poetry groups when they don’t follow the rules of a set poetry form. If we’re writing sonnets, there are rules to follow otherwise it isn’t a sonnet. It irritates me when something that is manifestly nothing like what it’s supposed to be gets heaped in praise. I’d never point the finger, but I’m not such a hypocrite I’d lavish absurd praise on it either. Just back away quietly. I don’t agree that rules are made to be broken. They are made to be followed. If you don’t want to follow them write something else, just don’t say, oh, this is a non-rhyming, non-iambic fourteen line poem about my hysterectomy that I’m calling a sonnet.
        Phew! Can’t I rant?

  6. You had me at /ahead is a jumble of futures as bland/as heaps of dead stars/. I agree that we should stick to the classic rules and parameters, for our first try, but disagree that free verse, more modern versions do not also apply. I save “heaps of praise” for those poems that impress, intrigue and inform me; regardless.

    1. Thanks Glenn. Fair dos. You can find a poem intriguing and impressive, but if it doesn’t have a particular rhyme scheme and rhythm and repeated lines, it isn’t a villanelle. It can be a great poem, just not a villanelle. I rest my case.

  7. I do admire the subtle changes in the repetitive lines Jane. A sad ending to a relationship such that the touch or thought is unbearable now. Thanks for joining in our Villanelle poetry form.

    1. I’m glad you like this one. I enjoy writing villanelle’s when they work. I know you stick to the rhythm and the rhyme scheme too. A poem that doesn’t isn’t a villanelle as far as I’m concerned.

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