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Toumai
A very dear family friend passed away this week. With him will have passed away a wealth of rural knowledge. When I was about twelve I used to help him and his wonderful wife, Olive, on their small farm and I leant to hand milk their Guernsey cows, recognise fox and badger tracks, lay a hedge and so much more. Their influence on my life and love of nature was huge.

Olive has asked my father to read one of his poems at the funeral next week, but he is poorly, so has asked me to do so. "What am I reading?" I asked. "I haven't written anything suitable," he said, "So perhaps you could have a go?"

Rather nervously, this is my first attempt: I would like very severe crits, please, as if it is too trite or unsuitable I will fall back on reading "real" poetry (Thomas Hardy, Dad suggests).

I know I have tweaked the form a little; that is intentional.


Arthur, In Memoriam ~ villanelle

Arthur, we will always hold you dear
for all you gave to us in life so bright
and find in daily life that you are near

with words remembered in our ear
reminding us of warm delight.
Arthur, we will always hold you dear

for joy you shared in Nature’s sphere;
badgers watched in summer twilight;
and find in darkness you are near.

Your patient kindness no mere
front; no need to make a fuss or fight.
Arthur, we will always hold you dear

for laughter flowed from your good cheer;
mind of mirth and wise insight.
We find in life your wisdom near

that within our hearts will help us steer
a course through life blazed by your light.
Arthur, we will always hold you dear
and know your spirit will be near.


© Toumai, 2005




Nina
Hi Fran

I'm very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Arthur.  My condolences to you, your family and Arthur's family.  I hope too that your father is soon well again.

I understand why you wanted to write a form poem and it is a most fitting tribute to someone you held very dear and it will be much appreciated.  I have to be honest though, and say that I found the explanatory paragraph above the poem much more poignant and moving and it gave me a much clearer and more personal picture of what he meant to you.

A few thoughts on the poem (bearing in mind I'm hopeless at form)

for joy you shared in Nature’s sphere;
badgers watched in summer twilight;  perhaps badgers watched by summer moonlight
and find in darkness you are near.

for laughter flowed from your good cheer;
mind of mirth and wise insight.
We find in life your wisdom near

that within our hearts will help us steer
a course through life blazed by your light.
Arthur, we will always hold you dear
and know your spirit will be near.

I assume L3 of v5 and L1 of v6 are supposed to run on but I am having problems making sense of what you are trying to say.  As a sentence it doesn't quite work.

I wish you all the best reading this on Monday.

Nina
jgdittier
Dear Fran,
My comments are always more general as they are here.
This piece will be presented under very emotional conditions and it will be read aloud.
As its occasion is emotional, the poem should appeal to the emotions. The audience will feel about this piece more than think about it and will have no chance to review as we do in critiques.
I think you're right on in writing a repetitious form poem here, for structure is needed and this choice gives you the opportunity to reinforce  the main thought .
If the audience leaves the church remembering only "Arthur, we will always hold you dear", your poem will be a magnificant success.
I also believe the poem should be read slowly enough, with enough breaks, for the audience to assimilate and digest it. I suggest more periods and less commas.
A slightly raised voice and a slightly raised head would go well with your power line.
Lastly, I'd change "and know your spirit will be near" to "and know your spirit's ever near. (or "always").
You have a fine piece in your hands. Congratulations, condolences and best of luck!
Cheers,    ron
Cathy
Hi Fran,

It's a wonderful tribute to your friend and you chose a perfect repeat line.  I'm sure it will be remembered.

I might change one line:

for joy you shared in Nature’s sphere;
badgers watched in summer twilight;
and find in darkness you are near.

badgers observed on summer nights  -  maybe?

I am sorry about the loss of your friend and my thoughts go out to you and his family.  I'm sure your poem will be appreciated.

Cathy dove.gif




Jox

Suggestion:

front; no need to make a fuss [n]or fight. (for negatives, use "nor" not "or")

Hi Fran,

I am also sorry for the loss of your friend and will think of you and Mr Arthur's family.

This reminds me of a Roman catholic prayer incantation; it has that similar sound.

You have, I think, plotted a very successful course between affectionate remembering and a schmaltzy goodbye. Well done.

The only link I balked a little at is:

"and find in daily life that you are near"

seemed a tad long to me?

Problem is it might mean cutting other lines.

So, what about:

Arthur, we always hold you dear -
for all you gave us in life, so bright -
each day we find you are near

(Just an idea).

Thanks Fran - sorry if this seems disjointed; I'm rushing rather but I will return later.

Extra (after reading Nina's comment):


{for} laughter flowed from your good cheer; (not necessary)
mind of mirth and wise insight.
We find in life your wisdom near


J.




Toumai
Hi Nina

I'm very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Arthur.  My condolences to you, your family and Arthur's family.  I hope too that your father is soon well again.

Thank you, Nina

I understand why you wanted to write a form poem and it is a most fitting tribute to someone you held very dear and it will be much appreciated.  I have to be honest though, and say that I found the explanatory paragraph above the poem much more poignant and moving and it gave me a much clearer and more personal picture of what he meant to you.

Thanks again ... I guess it is ratehr generic (someone else elsewhere has very gently suggested the same)

A few thoughts on the poem (bearing in mind I'm hopeless at form)

Much appreciated, thanks

for joy you shared in Nature’s sphere;
badgers watched in summer twilight;  perhaps badgers watched by summer moonlight
and find in darkness you are near.

Yes, I do need to do something with that line, but I'm not sure your suggestion quite solves it .... I shall have a careful think

for laughter flowed from your good cheer;
mind of mirth and wise insight.
We find in life your wisdom near

that within our hearts will help us steer
a course through life blazed by your light.
Arthur, we will always hold you dear
and know your spirit will be near.

I assume L3 of v5 and L1 of v6 are supposed to run on but I am having problems making sense of what you are trying to say.  As a sentence it doesn't quite work.

I shall have to have a think about that one, too, ta

I wish you all the best reading this on Monday

So long as the weather is ok for travelling ...

Thanks, Nina

Fran
Toumai
Hi Ron

My comments are always more general as they are here.

They are always helpful and appreciated - thanks.

This piece will be presented under very emotional conditions and it will be read aloud.
As its occasion is emotional, the poem should appeal to the emotions. The audience will feel about this piece more than think about it and will have no chance to review as we do in critiques.


Very true

I think you're right on in writing a repetitious form poem here, for structure is needed and this choice gives you the opportunity to reinforce  the main thought .

Yes, and I thought a "traditional" (form) poem would be far more acceptable in that context and audience

If the audience leaves the church remembering only "Arthur, we will always hold you dear", your poem will be a magnificant success.

Thank you

I also believe the poem should be read slowly enough, with enough breaks, for the audience to assimilate and digest it. I suggest more periods and less commas.
A slightly raised voice and a slightly raised head would go well with your power line.


Your sugestions are excellent. Luckily I have done a certain amount of drama and also (more recently) become accustommed to live readings so I hope I will be clearly heard.

Lastly, I'd change "and know your spirit will be near" to "and know your spirit's ever near. (or "always").

Excellent suggestion, thanks

You have a fine piece in your hands. Congratulations, condolences and best of luck!

Thank you very much, Ron

Fran
Toumai
Hi James

Suggestion:

front; no need to make a fuss [n]or fight. (for negatives, use "nor" not "or")


Ooops, I just can't get that one into my head (sorry, I know you have told me before) Wall.gif

I am also sorry for the loss of your friend and will think of you and Mr Arthur's family.

Thank you

This reminds me of a Roman catholic prayer incantation; it has that similar sound.

I know very little about RC ceremonies, but the repetion does lend itself to a cermonial feel, I hope, thanks.

You have, I think, plotted a very successful course between affectionate remembering and a schmaltzy goodbye. Well done.

Thanks

The only link I balked a little at is:

"and find in daily life that you are near"

seemed a tad long to me?


It might well be

Problem is it might mean cutting other lines.

well, not if it's longer than them ... hmm (thinking)

So, what about:

Arthur, we always hold you dear -
for all you gave us in life, so bright -
each day we find you are near

(Just an idea).


Thanks, that's very helpful - it's always useful to have an alternative if something seems to be sticking a bit

Thanks Fran - sorry if this seems disjointed; I'm rushing rather but I will return later.

It is very helpful - thanks for taking time; appreciated

Extra (after reading Nina's comment):

{for} laughter flowed from your good cheer; (not necessary)
mind of mirth and wise insight.
We find in life your wisdom near


Ta ... but I'm not quite sure it was that line (starting "for") that Nina was pausing on; I think it was the last line of that S and the first line of the very last S (?)

Thanks, James

Fran
Nefertiti
Hi Fran!

First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.  I know how that hurts.  Secondly, this is very touchingly beautiful.  Well done!  Villanelles are a total pain!  Only bittiest crit I have is my standard - meno likey "and."  Me likey "to" instead ' "to find;" "to know."  But that is just my personal vendetta against "and."  I do tend to bandstand about that word.

Best wishes on your presentation of this, too.  And I hope the ache of loss soon turns into the warm glow of treasured memories.

Big Hugs,
B.
Toumai
Hi Beth

First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.  I know how that hurts.  Secondly, this is very touchingly beautiful.  Well done!  Villanelles are a total pain!  Only bittiest crit I have is my standard - meno likey "and."  Me likey "to" instead ' "to find;" "to know."  But that is just my personal vendetta against "and."  I do tend to bandstand about that word.

Best wishes on your presentation of this, too.  And I hope the ache of loss soon turns into the warm glow of treasured memories.


Thanks very much for your kind thoughts and I will be treasuring all the support everyone has given me on line as I drive down to Somerset on Monday. I will have a look at "and" - I usually try to avoid it, too, but this was written in rather a rush  :snail:

Hugs 2 U 2  :dove:

Fran
Toumai
Dear Cathy

I just realised that I had missed replying to your comments - many, many apologies! I had certainly read and intended to - just somehow missed it as I was rushing about  blush21.gif

Will have bring round  rose.gif  mm.gif  mm.gif  hersheyskiss.gif  champagne.gif

It's a wonderful tribute to your friend and you chose a perfect repeat line.  I'm sure it will be remembered.

thank you so much

I might change one line:

for joy you shared in Nature’s sphere;
badgers watched in summer twilight;
and find in darkness you are near.

badgers observed on summer nights  -  maybe?


That is a very useful suggestion - thanks

I am sorry about the loss of your friend and my thoughts go out to you and his family.  I'm sure your poem will be appreciated.

Thank you very much, Cathy.

Fran
Cleo_Serapis
Hello Fran.

I'm so sorry I'm coming to read this tile so late. :(

I send you my sincere sympathies and hugs. GroupHug.gif

Best wishes and love.
Lori
Cybele
Dear Fran, dove.gif

I am so sorry I missed this earlier. Haven't been here much over the past few days, I have been tending the sick myself.

I do hope you managed to resolve your villanelle to your satisfaction and I am quite sure that it was much appreciated by all those friends who couldn't manage to put into words the impact this gentle man had on their lives.

I know it will be treasured by his family. There can't be anything more flattering than having someone write a poem a true friend.
Toumai
Dear Lori and Grace,

Thank you very much for your kind wishes (Grace, I do hope your own cares are soon healthy again).

I read a slightly revised version of this during the comittal and managed to get thru without crying as I read. It was a lovely ceremony; a small meadow, wicker coffin (local willow) and the weather was cold but stayed dry. We had a few minutes of silence and a robin sang.

Hugs to everyone for all the help and thoughts

Fran
Jox
Hi Fran,

Well done.

I gave a talk at my parents' funerals and was "pleased" I so did.

In terms of the coffin and burial place - they sound ideal. A wonderful idea.

Thanks

J.
Cybele
Hi Fran,

I am so pleased you managed to get through this safely. It must be very difficult to hold one's emotions back at such a time.

QUOTE
It was a lovely ceremony; a small meadow, wicker coffin (local willow) and the weather was cold but stayed dry. We had a few minutes of silence and a robin sang.



Fran, this sounds like a lovely poem of itself.  :dove:  :cloud9:
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