As Linnets Take Wing

(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Albert Zimmermann, Bodensee (Lake Constance), Public Domain, Wikipedia


 “There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.”

–W.B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”


At the glimmering lake the birds still sing,

though you’ve been gone for many a year,

now, I watch as linnets take wing.


Once I longed to wear your ring–

before things changed, I sought you here,

at the glimmering lake the birds still sing,


You promised sun, moon, and everything,

before bad times came and settled near,

then I watched as linnets took wing.


I realize now, I was just a fling–

that thought is now as clear

as the glimmering lake where birds still sing


where at my side, our baby’d cling

without a father. She brought me cheer–

as I watched the linnets take wing


I dreamt I was a queen and you my king,

before you sailed far from my pier

at the glimmering lake, the birds still sing,

And I—I watch the linnets take wing.


For the next month, we’re writing villanelles at dVerse, under Sarah’s capable direction. I’ve only written a couple of these, so I’m tiptoeing into this challenge by revising one I wrote for Sarah’s very first dVerse prompt! See how things come full circle in poetry land? Here’s the link to the original version. It was written during last year’s NaPoWriMo, and this year’s is coming up.









56 thoughts on “As Linnets Take Wing

  1. Wow, I can’t believe it’s nearly a year since my first dVerse prompt! I still love this. I think I prefer this version – that slight change in the “linnet” line makes a surprising difference, and the slight change in the final line is beautiful.

    • Thanks, Sarah. I like this version better, too. I got rid of the too-long lines in the first version, and I’ve more about poetry and poetry writing since then. 🙂 Thank you for both prompts!

  2. A lovely villanelle, circling back to watching as linnets take wing. Though there is sadness of being left behind, there is joy with the baby and hearing the birds sing.

    I also used Sarah’s prompt last year for my revised villanelle.

  3. A sad tale told boldly; You rocked the prompt. Neat too to revisit dVerse from a year ago. I’ve been crawling their pub for 8 years now–OMG.

  4. I feel as Holly does. You never cease to draw a sigh out of me.
    Another beautiful form of poetry. Villanelle. It sounds like a dance, doesn’t it?

  5. It’s good to see so many of us revising poems and that you have let yours breathe for a year before working on it again, Merril. I love how you’ve taken those lines from Yeats and made them so poignantly your own; they’ve taken me to that glimmering lake to watch the linnets take wing with you.The image is a perfect fit!

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