Poetry – River (a villanelle)

Another poem from John Phillips

Letter to Dylan

Hi Dylan,

You don’t know me and , to be honest, I have very little knowledge of you or your work. Some years ago I was in a pub in Laugharne and there was a picture of you on the wall. It seems that it used to be your ‘local’, at least, that’s what the landlord claimed. I can’t remember the name of the pub, but the beer was really good.

Talking of beer, my Grand-dad, Dai came from Aberdare and was a bit of a ‘local legend’. He once drank twenty-two pints during a lunchtime session and ‘turned up’ at opening-time, that evening in order to ‘carry-on the good work’.

   Anyway, concerning Poetry, we have a writing group in Hornsea and sometime, last year, we got to talking about poetic form, particularly The Villanelle, of which your poem ‘Do not go gently into that good night’ is generally known as the definitive example, against which, all others are judged.

   When I read this poem, it completely ‘Blew me away’. It’s brilliant. I thought, ‘Wow, I want to write one of these’ and so I did and here it is. It’s called River.

    This one’s for you Dylan. I hope you like it.

                        

                         River

The river flows eternal to the sea

Beneath a boundless ever changing sky

Without regard for time or history.

Rolling through seasons, past or still to be.

Its  secrets, hidden, safe from mortal eye

The river flows eternal to the sea.

From rain lashed hills, who’s dank capacity

By swollen streams, its waters to supply

Without regard for time or history.

Midst banks of sunlit meadows, winding free

To darkling glades where myriad insects fly

The river flows eternal to the sea.

Through canyon towns, past walls of industry,

Who’s workers work to live and live to die,

Without regard for time or history.

To journeys end, a mighty estuary

Where countless seabirds wheel and wail and cry;

The river flows eternal to the sea

Without regard for time or history.

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