Silent Memory

Author: Ellisande

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Poetry - Second Place

Story Type: Poem  ✧  Length: N/A

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: adult themes

Summary: Denethor's POV. Angst, doubt and foreshadowing. Two not-quite-Villanelles for Finduilas.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 8

I would call these successful experiments. The first quasi-villanelle intrigues me most for the inclusion of the line "a fragile truth amidst a thousand lies"—without it, it could be simply an angsty poem, but with it, we have whole new dimensions. One never knows precisely whose lies are meant (and there's always the possibility the 'who' might change according to the stanza) or what their content might be, and it introduces an interesting note of tension into Denethor's relationship with his wife. Is it simply that he knows she's weakening, despite efforts to deceive him and others? Or is there something more at work here? The second villanelle lacks that note of falsity, and is more straightforwardly an account of Denethor's plunge towards the emotional abyss, but that final, crossed out line does so much work, it's practically ridiculous as well as dead on—a lovely representation of that wretched "ink blot" that refuses to be erased, forcing the author to recognize the truth of himself despite his efforts at casting his fear into a less obvious, more controllable form. Can we say failed sublimation? Well done!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 6

I had a very good English teacher once tell me that if you thoroughly understand a rule, you have every right to break it. Sometimes even an obligation to do so. And Ellisande certainly seems to know this rule, because the altered villanelles work. The final triplet flows evenly into the concluding quatrain, particularly in the first poem. And in the second, the altered line at the end gives emphasis to Denethor's silent memories, breaking the pattern and drawing attention exactly where attention is needed. It's almost jolting, and it highlights the depths of his feelings. Great experimentation.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 5

This pair of villanelle pieces work very well, although I'm a little baffled at why the last tercet was omitted although the writer does give a lucid explanation, I think the form is valid as it stands. Still, poetry is about originality and these are beautifully written with much care and leave the reader with a sad and worried feeling for the situation. In particular, I loved the line "as ice and fire both in my embrace", the coldness and the over-riding passion are clearly depicted here. Excellent!