Weather or Not – Villanelles (Traveler’s Wedding Side by Side A Nap)

Monsoon Skirt

I am posting the villanelle below, an older one, for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics challenge, hosted by the wonderful Stu McPherson, to write a poem influenced by the weather.   To spice up this villanelle a bit, I have made a doublespeak audio recording of it,  pairing it with another villanelle called “The Nap (Post-Fight)” (whose text may be found here.)   I personally find the mixed audio more intriguing than reading the single villanelle bel0w–there is a really odd music to two villanelles together, that, as incomprehensible as the words are, kind of transcends the texts –at least my texts!

Traveler’s Wedding/Nap (ITunes)

Travelers’ Wedding – Bangkok

The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey
as sweat like traffic stalled the steaming city.
It didn’t feel much like the first of May,

not even in his shirt saved for the day,
nor in the Indian skirt she’d thought so pretty.
The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey

as they hurried to the bureau where they’d say
“I do”, or if required, some learned Thai ditty.
It didn’t feel much like the first of May;

still was, and, as they found, a holiday.
Closed office doors made clean clothes somehow gritty;
the monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey.

“Tomorrow then,” they sighed, feigning dismay,
and then made jokes that almost passed for witty.
But it didn’t feel much like the first of May,

stained, like his shirt, with portent and delay
as sweat, like lifetimes, stalled throughout the city.
The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey;
it didn’t feel much like the first of May.


Thanks for your patience with this new technique!  I definitely have a long way to go with it.  K.

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23 Comments on “Weather or Not – Villanelles (Traveler’s Wedding Side by Side A Nap)”

  1. claudia Says:

    smiles…yeah…the first of may should feel like spring and new life and having a day off.. never was in bangkok but the weather surely is a challenge over there… can’t listen to the recording as i’m sitting in a hotel lobby… had no internet at home…ugh..

  2. brian miller Says:

    smiles…nothing will bar the way on that day…even the weather….except maybe an office closure…oh well there is tomorrow for that…smiles….hope they could still make the most of the day….

    i am liking the layered audios…they do add a depth…

  3. Laurie Kolp Says:

    I think it worked out beautifully!

  4. wolfsrosebud Says:

    do like how the piece rebounds on a day in May…

  5. poemsofhateandhope Says:

    I actually love the audio! So interesting and there is defo a musicality to the two poems running side by side….really enjoyed the villanelle….Such a great and interesting narrative…just the experience of being there ….the monsoon weather….feigning dismay at the closure of the office halting a wedding (this was interesting…maybe they didn’t want to get married!!)…..such beautiful form framed this so so well….they look tricky to write…I’ll have to try one one day

  6. Mary Says:

    How disappointint to prepare to wed, only to meet the bureau was closed for a holiday and a monsoon on the horizon making even tomorrow unlikely. I loved the details you included in this poem.

  7. I cannot imagine the heat in Bangkok and then a monsoon too. How disappointing that the office was closed.

  8. Chazinator Says:

    I haven’t listened yet to the audio, wanting to take this on as it is. I think this is really well done, marvelously detailed of an exotic scene (for me). The form is seamlessly melded to the content in an organic way. I really enjoyed reading it. Great stuff. Now on to the audio!

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    The literal and repetitive quality of the form makes for a bright, physical candid portrait here–have to admit, didn’t try the audio very far–I can barely follow along with one poem aurally–and I don’t think I can read both poems at once–not without some cutting and pasting ;_)–but I do like the way the villanelle sounds like a tolling bell, line after line, both in the recording, and in my head as I read.

    Hope you can catch a break and some downtime this weekend at some point, Karin.

  10. janehewey Says:

    i enjoy the heaviness in this. monsoon, sweat, stained with portent and delay. very effective poem, k.

  11. I like how you describe the clothes feeling gritty. I can feel the heat just by reading this. Nicely done! 🙂

  12. Margaret Says:

    Sweat, sex, tear stained face … and heat. The audio was fun to let it just roll over and pick out words … Thanks!

  13. These audio mixes are fascinating, so stimulating and strange. I like the steady building to the final stanza here. It transported me.

  14. lucychili Says:

    hopefully tomorrow would be a perfect day for them =)

  15. vivinfrance Says:

    Excellent villanelle, and I love the underlying menace of the repeated lines.

  16. Mohana Says:

    Excellent! Feels this our sticky tropical summers…

  17. David King Says:

    It amazes me that anyone can write such fine poetry in this form – even though, possibly my favourite poem is a case in point. I would have thought that most of the way you have to go is behind you! Congrats .

  18. Mama Zen Says:

    What a beautifully done villanelle!

  19. Oh, you’re clever – forms are difficult and tricksy. I admire people who can make them work without coming over contrived. Very much liked this.

  20. Susan Says:

    I found the two together much sadder than the one “not feeling much like the first of May.” At least in the one poem, though the rhythms matched the extra one read, the couple is still hopeful–while putting the two together left us with “a tear-strained face.” I have not gone back to check the added text. From just the listening, it feels as if the monsoons came and the hope of the day has been dashed, framed, erased.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes, the two together definitely have a certain poignancy, not present in either alone. They were not written as paired poems, but I liked that additional dimension. T/hanks. k.

  21. Sian Says:

    Karin – I’m shocked that I can’t recognize your voice over the years. Maybe something in your accent, and the vaguer fact of poetic forms. If you were a map, the church is still there but all the houses have been torn down and replaced by something else. Not a mall! Not condos – but other things I can’t even cattegorize, they are so unfamiliar.
    But there was something that reminded me of you and I’ve finally caught it. After forty years the space between the words and the way you plunge to the ends of your words, the caesuras, are yours. Bright, considerate, even and private. I recognized you best in the spaces between sounds.
    I thought you might like that.
    These spoken poems are provocative – I vote you keep playing with them.
    Looking forward to talking at some point, as you can imagine. Sian

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Hi Sian – first, it’s so nice to hear from you, especially so poetically. I don’t know how my voice may have changed; I suspect that the tape isn’t such a great reflection. That one was kind of frustrating to make due to difficulties with the software etc. But it is also possible (though extremely hard for me to believe, or should I say, accept) that I’ve just aged! I do really like the spoken stuff, and I very much appreciate your encouragement. I would love to speak with you in real time – in person best, but on phone a reasonable alternative. I don’t think I’m going to get up there soon, but let me know if you ever come down here or would like to. I’ve been in close touch with two of our other cohorts lately–it’s been wonderful to reconnect more. Not that any of us truly has more time, but certainly the wish is there, perhaps stronger than before as life changes. Miss you. k.

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