Sunday, February 25, 2007


I heard this remark on the radio about how nobody has ever died of embarrassment, and I've been wanting to try and write a villanelle so I decided that the remark might be a good theme for such a poem.

I now realise just how difficult the form is, but here's my attempt, which I'll probably redraft forever.

(In Scotland having a beamer means you're blushing/very embarrassed)


“Embarrassment doesn’t kill, no-one’s ever died!”
At fifteen I believe absolutely that it can.
“You take life way too seriously”, she chides.

She confesses to shop girls, where's her pride?
Old sods from the pub appear for Christmas dinner.
“Embarrassment doesn’t kill, no-one’s ever died!”

“I’ve got great pins!” she roars and away he runs, wide-eyed.
Another boy I'll never see again.
“You take life way too seriously”, she chides.

Clothes can make you disappear; I use mine to hide.
Why can't she tone it down - act her age?
“Embarrassment doesn’t kill, no-one’s ever died!”

“I didn’t kiss the man next door!” - she lies.
Funny how everyone at school says differently.
“You take life way too seriously”, she chides.

“I just held his hand and listened while he cried.”
In a car park, in daylight, in full view?
“Embarrassment doesn’t kill, no-one’s ever died!
You take life way too seriously”, she chides.

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Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I absolutely love this!!! And it's perfect - don't change it. I love the form and the craft that has gone into it (but not obviously) - the rhyming is natural and smooth - unobtrusive. I love the way you have treated the subject too. I can see this person SO clearly (well, both people) - an embarrassing parent? I know people who are like this and even tho' embarrassment doesn't kill you, they give it a pretty good try!
Fantastic poetry as well as photography! You are very gifted.

10:07 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Wow thanks CB, that's a real compliment coming from you. feared it was a bit clunky. It is such a difficult form, you really have to get the repeating lines spot on and keep the rhyme somply, or to a choice that offers lots of options.

Thank you so much.

9:24 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Argh, my typing, "I feared", and "the rhyme simple"

9:55 am  
Blogger PI said...

That really brought back memories of walking to school and having to pass the boys coming in other other direction one of whom caused me to feel I was dying of embarrassment as i could feel the prickly scarlet creep up from my toes and engulf my whole being whilst the boys jeered.
Utter misery

10:22 am  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Pat, I bet they weren't jeering for long after they saw what a swan you'd turned into. In fact, they say wee boys often pick on girls they like to get a reaction, any reaction!

This is great! It's economic and evocative and natural and fluid - a bit like your photography.

Am off to look up "villanele".
Am idiot.

5:30 am  
Anonymous guyana-gyal said...

I was trying for ages to leave a comment here the other day, saying how talented you are, and congratulations on winning the photo competition.

When I was a teen I used to think I'd die of embarassment...but my mother said, just brazen things out.

2:00 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Aw thank you GG, agan coming from someone with your writing ability that's a lovely compliment.

I'm just glad I'm letting my creative side have a late flowering, even if it is a last hurrah lol!

4:09 pm  

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