Big Room, 1948,  by Andrew Wyeth

Afternoon light filters the once upon a dreams
Abandoned farmhouse letting go of days gone by
Filled, once, with lives who moved downstream
Memories held fast in the bricks, mortar and beams
There, to recall, with a melancholy sigh
Afternoon light filters the once upon a dreams
Love happened here, as well as sorrowed screams
Lives at once ordinary but somehow gone awry
Filled, once, with lives who moved downstream
All has become sepia toned …ashened…gone the gleam
Secrets, deceits, untruths..never revealed by-and-by
Afternoon light filters the once upon a dreams
Empty and hollow, a sour taste it would seem
How is it people falter, trip and choose to deny
Filled, once, with lives who moved downstream
This house could have been a home with a melodic theme
Yes…tidy, kept clean…orderly, just so, but lacked an ally
Afternoon light filters the once upon a dreams
Filled, once, with lives who moved downstream

The Mag # 132 :

Leave a comment


  1. time is the river, and memories litter the farthest shore


  2. I love the mystery in your villanelle, and the ‘once upon a dreams.’


  3. I love the form, I find villanelles quite tricky but immensely satisfying ~ love your allusion to sepia ~ I felt there should be a piano in the room so enjoyed your hint re music in the final stanza ~ this is beautiful Gayle


    • Yes, they can be tricky…finding those rhyming words that mean what you’re trying to convey. Yeah, I could see a piano there too. Thanks so much, Polly.


  4. hypercryptical

     /  August 28, 2012

    I have known houses likes this – wonderfully done.

    Anna :o]


  5. If these walls could talk, the secrets they could tell. Your interpretation is so vivid. Life is never all smooth sailing, is it and your poem says so much about the roller coaster that life is sometimes lived in house which hold families. Great piece !


    • You are so right. People appear a certain way to the outside world…but behind closed doors…well, it can make you shudder to think of what could…and certainly is…happening… Thanks so much…glad you liked it.


  6. I like the painting of the empty, hollow and sour taste of the farmhouse ~ If only those walls can talk of the lives of the people who lived there ~


  7. All has become sepia toned …ashened…gone the gleam
    Secrets, deceits, untruths..never revealed by-and-by
    Afternoon light filters the once upon a dreams….nice…my fav stanza….how is it we falter, we are human…and that is hard at times, but…who knows why we fall apart so easy…


    • Yes, human beings can sometimes be easily swayed by circumstances…moving us quickly away from the direction we had chosen.. Thank you, Brian.


  8. Helen

     /  August 28, 2012

    There is a haunting sadness in your poem ~~ beautifully composed.


  9. Nothing lasts, does it? Well, maybe nostalgia does…


  10. Beautifully done 🙂


  11. Excellent…villanelles are harder to write than they seem…


  12. Wonderful villanelle. “Gone the gleam”–from the room, yes; from your words, never.
    Thank you.


  13. Love happened here….love that line as well as your observation of the wonderful light in the room….it struck me too….wonderful piece..


  14. lovely imagery….
    Thanks for being part of Thursday Poets Rally and hope to see you continued support …your input is valued…
    We are giving you the perfect poet award for week 71 today, enjoy!
    If you take it, please nominate another poet in your poem post, and leave your acceptance link under our award post, thank you in advance!
    Happy End of August! Have A Grand September Ahead!
    Looking forward to seeing you in the rally next time again!


  15. I like the repetition you have carried throughout. It quite pulls it altogether.


  16. So sensitively written, Gayle, with lovely visual and heartfelt images.


  17. I love the theme/story to this.. seems to speak deeply to my current self


    • I think it feels a bit melancholy for what was…or what could have been. Thanks for sharing with me…I’m glad you could relate.


  18. I was just going to say that the melancholy tone really showed in this, and then see that that’s what you meant for us to feel. I’ve never tried a villanelle, and every time I read one of yours I keep thinking I need to try it! You do such a good job with this form. It flows effortlessly, and you do it without making it sound or seem “forced” which I think is a testament to your skill with it.

    As an aside re: the subject matter…I think places have “memories” of a sort…they can capture and retain energy, whether good or bad, happy or sad, and there are some people who can sense the vibrations when they enter these places. Not that the places are living entities, but more along the lines of ‘vessels’ which hold the energies of everything which has happened there. I think of Ley Lines in the world, and it makes sense to me that there are other places on the planet which can hold the past, so to speak. Ha! Sorry to let the Tangent Monster get me. You make me think, and I like it! 🙂


  19. I appreciate your high praise, Corina…thank you so much. I know you could do a beautiful villanelle…let me know when you give it a try.

    I believe places hold onto energy too. It doesn’t have to be the great pyramids or Stonehenge in order for us to perceive ‘memories’ of what had gone on before. We can pick up the ‘essence’ of life before…if we are sensitive enough. Hey, I like that I get some thinking going! 🙂



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