Double Original Friday – Mud and Gold

MudandGoldThe villanelle is a poetry form with nineteen lines, including two refrain lines that take turns repeating. It comes to English from the French, but seems to have had its origin in Italian field songs. I wrote this villanelle for the December poetry challenge on Red String Paper Cuts – the theme was “muddy boots.” I came up with “Mud and Gold” before I read the passage on contemporary villanelles in my copy of The Making of a Poem by Strand and Boland; in their book they write that due to its circular nature, the “form refuses to tell a story.” Well, I attempted to tell a story about the California Gold Rush with mine…see how I did and check out the whole poem by clicking here. Poem, photograph (of one of the pieces of Nishida Jun’s incredible ceramic sculpture Zetsu #8), and composition by me. Happy First Friday of 2015!


  1. I absolutely love this poem and especially the “Mud in California is a brindled and feral beast” refrain (hack geologist that I am, all dirt seems wild and lively to me). As for that “form refuses to tell a story” bit… Just try NOT to tell a story in a poem of any length, circular or not! (Then again, I’m still kind of a hack poet too…) 🙂


    1. Thank you! My father is an amateur geologist and so the only geology I know is about local Californian rocks/dirt. I was surprised when I read that comment in the anthology about the villanelle, because I agree – even poems and songs in the round, with a lot of repetition, tell a story. Well, we are hack poets together then! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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