Relic of Rough Weather, Every Inch and Stay

GloPoWriMo 2019 Prompt: to write a call and response poem using the villanelle form

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Picture per Pexels – near to Sylvia Plaths diagrams – hers in black and white. Her work was as detailed.


Relic of Rough Weather, Every Inch and Stay

Lines from:  Edwin Arlington Robinson and Sylvia Plath


They are all gone away

Hooves, dolorous bell

There is nothing more to say


Relic of rough weather, every winch and stay

The winds blow bleak and shrill

They are all gone away


They are unreal we say

To speak good or ill

There is nothing more to say


Remembering the white triumphant spray

Around the sunken sill

They are all gone away


In sullen light of the inauspicious day

For them is wasted skill

There is nothing more to say


All afternoon these lovers lay

In the House on the Hill

Of Angel’s Bay

There is nothing more to say


Benita H. Kape © 6.4.2019


Prompt: to write a call and response poem using the villanelle form. I have taken a villanelle, The House on the Hill by Edwin Arlington Robinson and then choosing lines from poems by Sylvia Plath to make a response. I break the villanelle pattern in the penultimate line by not using a repeat. It was too tempting not to. These lines, all taken from the faber and faber copy of her collected poems appear (in order down the page) page numbers 262, 113, 64, 60, 27 and 26: the title of this final poem here being Southern Surprise and begins thus –

Colour of lemon, mango, peach,

These storybook villas

Notes:: What I did find in my search was how infrequently Plath used the syllabic ending sound  ‘ay’ and this made it a difficult search, part of the reason I broke the rule on that penultimate line. I took the liberty of leaving the letter s of the word bells. (2nd line.)

N.B. Though I have long been amazed at Sylvia Plath poems it was not until recently when reading the book “Parties, Pain, Work” by Elizabeth Winder in which she mentions how much art and style figured, especially in Sylvia’s early years. She decided to abandon art for poetry. Exciting morning: again a faber and faber, this time produced by Frieda Hughes, (Sylvia’s daughter) arrived in the mail this morning,  a collection of Sylvia’s drawings. There appears in both books a diagram of a pair of shoes Sylvia purchased in New York when working at Mademoiselle. That was on Saturday the 6th June 1953. That was the day I married my Airman husband. I don’t mind telling you I was only seventeen and a half years at the time. It was a long marriage, 55 years. Yep, the title of this poem fits well for me. Not all bad, not all good.