A Villanelle for National Poetry Day

Ah, here is the poem thats causing the problem! Its by Guite of course!

It’s National Poetry Day here in the UK so I thought I’d post this villanelle up in honour of the day. I was once photocopying some poems for a talk when the whole machine ground to a halt, totally jammed. I pulled what poetry I could from its innards and rushed off to give my talk. When I came back the woman in charge of the machine pointed an accusing finger and said “Your poetry is jamming my machine!” I thought that was such a great line that I borrowed it and wrote her this poem for her to make ammends.

As always you can hear it by clicking the ‘play’ button, if it appears or else clicking the hyperlink in the poem’s inordinately long title. 🙂

On being told my poetry was found in a broken photocopier

My poetry is jamming your machine

It broke the photo-copier, I’m to blame,

With pictures copied from a world unseen.

 

My poem is in the works -I’m on the scene

We free my verse, and I confess my shame,

My poetry is jamming your machine.

 

Though you berate me with what might have been,

You stop to read the poem, just the same,

And pictures, copied from a world unseen,

 

Subvert the icons on your mental screen

And open windows with a whispered name;

My poetry is jamming your machine.

 

For chosen words can change the things they mean

And set the once-familiar world aflame

With pictures copied from a world unseen

 

The mental props give way, on which you lean

The world you see will never be the same,

My poetry is jamming your machine

With pictures copied from a world unseen

 

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8 Comments

Filed under literature

8 responses to “A Villanelle for National Poetry Day

  1. Rebecca Weber

    Thank you Malcom. I love villanelles when well done, and this one of course fits that criterion! It’s such a great picture of the way poetry works.
    I’ll mention here too that I have been deeply enjoying your series on the Psalms. Several of them have appeared in my inbox at just the right times when they were able to lift me up and show me back to a true focus on the Lord. So thank you.

  2. catharinephillips

    A perfect topic for a villanelle!! *Catharine Phillips, MA, MDiv*

    catharinephillips.com allwillbewellperiod.blogspot.com

    It’s a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before. Maya Angelou

  3. Pingback: A Villanelle for National Poetry Day — Malcolm Guite – danteonlinehtt

  4. Alice Hornbeck

    This is really fun !

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