June 10 Theme: Thinking about Thinking

I hope everyone enjoyed our collective trip down memory lane yesterday. Nostalgia is, after all, delicate.

For next week’s theme, we’re dropping the sentimental reflections for existential pondering.

Theme: thought

Poetic Form: Villanelle

Provoking Thought

There is a famous quotation from multiple alleged sources which goes something like this:

Thoughts beget words. Words beget actions. Actions beget habits. Habits beget character. Character begets destiny.

This logical progression demonstrates that changing one’s life begins simply with changing how one thinks about their life. Repeat something often enough, and it becomes truth — at least to someone.

Thus, this week’s theme is based off of one simple, yet cosmically huge question: What is the nature of thought? How is the path of your mind affected by your feelings, your perception, and your surroundings? Or, more simply, what do you think about? All interpretations are welcome.

The Villanelle

The Villanelle is a highly structured poetic form derived from Italian (villanella) and Spanish (villancico) dance-songs of the Renaissance era. (Villano means peasant in Italian). These songs were traditionally written about pastoral subjects.

The structure of the villanelle is complicated, so I’ll just leave the explanation to poets.org:

The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2.

The structure is a bit intimidating at first, but using the alternating refrain actually adds depth to the poem, because each stanza must be woven to fit the refrain. Then, the entire poem is tied off neatly with the final couplet.

As always, submissions can be sent to redstringpapercuts@gmail.com.

Stevie D

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