Poetry Forms – Before September – a villanelle

sunlight on the equator

Sarah is hosting the next Poetry form at dVerse, the villanelle, prompt is open for a month for us to perfect our poems. thank you Sarah for the detailed explanation, tips and examples.

“A villanelle (also known as villanesque) is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form. The word derives from Latin, then Italian, and is related to the initial subject of the form being the pastoral.”

Visit dVerse to read about how Sarah was inspired by the pull of the villanelle over the years, her journey is just as inspiring.

This is my first attempt at this sophisticated form. Comments on the form are much appreciated.


Does the sunlight help you to remember?
Lying in the grass beneath the tall trees
One long warm summer before September

Bold rich colours of fine threaded thunder
Days of sweet sunshine and tiny honey bees
Does the sunlight help you to remember?

Riding the train home, wishing it slower
As you let my cheek lean on your shirtsleeves
One long warm summer before September

Our fingers entwined holding on tighter
Late evening light bouncing off our knees
Does the sunlight help you to remember?

How my body curved into yours much tighter
Like the branches that held the precious leaves
One long warm summer before September

As the final rays grant a sweet deep slumber
More questions than answers seem to remain
Does the sunlight help you to remember?
That long warm summer before September


© Gina@Singledust

trust your heart if the seas catch fire – e.e. cummings

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73 thoughts on “Poetry Forms – Before September – a villanelle

  1. Oh so sweet…..

    Riding the train home, wishing it slower
    As you let my cheek lean on your shirtsleeves
    One long warm summer before September

    I felt like I was watching a beautiful movie. Your words and this lovely form really came together and became something exquisite, Gina ❤️🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am so touched by your comment Christine, I was just reminiscing a train ride from some time ago and maybe wanting to take a similar one again. mixing that with sitting close to someone and missing their presence now made the villanelle more melancholic. Know I value your comment so much, you write with such beauty and flow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s very lovely. I think you utterly nailed the form. The repeated lines are sweetly done, and the story you tell is beautiful. One tiny point – I would have been tempted to put the final question mark right at the end of the poem, to bring that couplet together, and end on a question.

    I might have that on the brain because it’s the NaPoWriMo prompt for today, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ah thank you Sarah! from you this is huge praise and makes me so very happy that I attempted the villanelle, really appreciate your comment. and yes the question bit, I did think of recon-trusting the lines and the question at the end, but could not get it to flow in my head. haha yes today’s prompt was full of questions, now reading some others response to the month’s challenge I understand! still a few more weeks for me to get another one out and edit this one.

      thank you so much for the guidance, your advise on getting the defining couplet in one of your comments was my foundation to get it started.


      1. Gina, I don’t think Sarah is suggesting you transpose the lines, but simply to shift the question-mark (which would make the last two lines one sentence, so you’d have to uncapitalise ‘that’ also). I think it would actually flow even better than what you have.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Gina! This is perfection! I love the story you’ve woven and the rhymes are excellent. Your images here are gorgeously written. I agree with Christine Bolton – it’s like a movie montage with each snapshot scene being Oscar worthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. dear Irma, so much love in your words, makes me happy I wrote this, a form I don’t think i have control over and after reading yours I was inspired to try. love your last line comment, sometimes I feel I need to capture all those feelings again, some come out in poetry, thank for giving weight to what I write. thank you dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gina, this is beyond beautiful. Love and nature whisper together: feelings running slowly trough your verses. Perfection that does not assert itself. It just exist in its on right. I have no words to tell you how much I love this poem. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. your generous words are making me blush dear G, some memories are just perfect as they are, like you say, does not assert itself, love your interpretation here, such a valuable thought, I love that you love this!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. September is a memorable month, the pivot to me I guess when the season takes a new form even here on the equator, thank you Jo, I was recalling one summer and September a long time ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Here we are, both beneath the sky, sunshine and night……love your opening stanza….
    “Does the sunlight help you to remember?
    Lying in the grass beneath the tall trees
    One long warm summer before September”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A very sweet, sensuous love poem
    The repeat of “remember”? was interesting
    “One long warm summer before September” makes it seem like what you are asking memory of was only recently, so it makes me wonder why you are asking?
    Is it just a fun, sweet question while sharing wine OR
    Did the couple break up, OR
    The final verse of “sweet deep slumber” makes it sound like words said to someone passing away.
    And the line “more questions than answers” seems to say, “why are you dying/leaving”.
    Is that close?

    Oooops, now reading the comments and your replies, I see it was a memory long time ago. Yet, “more questions than answers” remains puzzling and ironically leaves more questions than answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your poem could be an opening monologue for a movie set in the country side with two lovely couple waiting for he sunset..

    Though i can sense that there is longing in here for a love lost …so much longing that the repetion of “Does the sunlight help you to remember” is so painfully beautiful…i can feel the “hurting” and “longing” in each syllable…well maybe its just me..lol..but it has that effect on me..a love once hold now lost…but well we probably all know that our greates love comes after the our greatest mistake, greatest pain, and even greatest misfortune… not that we are bound to experience all those but maybe we are lead towards our ultimate love ..
    We have to be broken into thousand smaller pieces; because putting our “thousand smaller” pieces back together is so challenging and difficult that once we made it…we are braver, stronger and more resilient…and by then i believe we are more capable of giving out the best and truest kind of love..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. second comment and third person to feel it could be part of a movie, such generous words and I am tickled with delight.

      though the poem has very sad origins I am feeling lighter to have shared it. some relationships aren’t meant to be, they are strong and wonderful but the time is not right. i appreciate your comment on finding that ultimate love, that is utterly magical and I hope more people do, we live in such an unkind world, we need more love and kindness to sustain us. I hope to do the same one day.

      and your last paragraph is like poetry itself dear Mich, i feel the impact of your words, it is empowering, like a good friend hugging me when i needed it most. so so beautiful words from you. putting ourselves together after being shattered so we can give the best and truest love that is the ultimate goal of humanity. only you can say this with the deepest sincerity and clarity

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a gorgeous Villanelle, Gina! I love the echo of ‘ember’ and the flicker of light throughout. My favourite lines:

    ‘Riding the train home, wishing it slower
    As you let my cheek lean on your shirtsleeves
    One long warm summer before September’.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Gina. I hope you and your family are keeping well.
    Sorry to comment here but I just read your bamboo reflections and the comments were closed. Hope you don’t mind if I write it here.
    Such a beautiful plant and even more beautiful analogy regarding our kids.
    I have bamboo in my garden. It came from a garden centre I worked in during some dark days. I planted it at my mother’s house. When I moved to my own home I brought a piece with me. I often sit amongst it. It has been with me for over 20 years and carries a lot of meaning. You have added to that meaning. It will also now remind me of giving my son the right direction and a lovely light in this world called Gina. Thank you so much for adding to its increasing depth.
    Much love to you and your loved ones 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Chris, I seem to have had some issues with the blog yesterday, and i really thank you for asking after me and the kids. we are doing great, busy with work and all that stuff but good otherwise.

      i love your comment here, so sorry you were unable to comment on the actual post. bamboo is something else isn’t it? 20 years is a long time! you sound like an old soul who outs such value on the little things, things that have more weight than we give credit to.

      I am glad if the post spoke to you and now reminded you of this beautiful plant, i see a continuity in you heart, wanting to be a better person yet not stepping on others in your quest. I wish you the very best.

      And you are guiding him right, with love, always and also with good sense.

      Thank you for all the kind words and friendship across the miles.


      1. Thank you too Gina. I am glad you are all keeping well 🙂
        Hope those blog issues have been sorted out and you don’t mind I commented elsewhere.
        Yes, love the bamboo for some reason. Although my mother sometimes thinks it’s a bit wild. Can sprout up anywhere. I just let it grow where it wants to 🙂
        Oh I’ve been called an old soul before. Even in my teenage years haha
        I appreciate your kind words and friendship also. Much love to you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. love your comments when they come and where ever! yes all sorted now!

        they do grow so very fast and are strong and reliable, though as you say they do grow quite abundantly, I am intrigued they grow well in your country too. many species though and sitting by them does infuse a person with deep serenity.

        ah you are an old and kind soul, much love in you and it comes through your words.

        have a great week ahead Chris!


      3. Ha ha yes, our comments are a bit over the place. Hope I don’t miss any.
        It tends to grow better where I am now. This area is know to have its own slightly warmer microclimate because of the mountains.
        Hope you have a great week too Gina.
        Much love to you and your loved ones 🙂


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