Lost in Translation – A Villanelle


There’s no poetry in sobriety,
only the algorithm of being clean.
Only the cold mirror of chastity.

I inspire your animosity.
You find me now too prim; pristine.
You see no poetry in sobriety.

Your Merlot mocks my earl grey tea.
By spilling. You wish to make a scene.
Confront the cold mirror of chastity.

I mop the mess with efficiency.
You find my earnestness obscene
and see no poetry in sobriety.

I wait. Hands clasped. Sit matronly
as you take to the streets for nicotine.
But the cold mirror of chastity

awaits. And I watch warily
As you light up: daring me to intervene.
To prove there’s no poetry in sobriety;
To crack the cold mirror of chastity.



Emily x


2 thoughts on “Lost in Translation – A Villanelle

  1. raefonb

    I think this works well. Villanelles often turn out crap but yours felt like it really had a message and a story so the refrains weren’t annoying, they just added emphasis 🙂


  2. ecopoetics

    This is very well done: clean and cold like its subject. My only quibble would be with all the “feminine” rhymes, the rhyming on the -y sounds of words as different as sobriety, chastity, animosity, efficiency. The main sounds of the words remain unaffected by the rhyme so are less taken up into the fabric of the poem. (One hears this effect in spoken word poetry a lot, probably because it’s a quick and reliable way to get a rhyme.) When you can rhyme the whole sound of a word with the ending sound (as “tea” with “chastity”) it’s better. I have to say that the rhyme of “obscene” with “nicotine” is pretty good. Also, “the algorithm of being clean” is a killer line!



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