On Losing and 1/6

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host is Becky Herzog. She blogs at Sloth Reads. Thank you for hosting, Becky. Becky was the first to mention that today was going to be International Friendship Day, so I wrote the poem above. I also wrote a friendship villanelle and gave it to my dear friend for her birthday. She framed it and sent the picture below to me.

I wrote a different villanelle this week for the #PoetryPals challenge that Tanita described last month:

We’re writing villanelles on the topic of dichotomy – or, true opposites, if you will. Bifurcations. Incongruities. Paradoxes. Contradictions. We’re talking Luke/Darth (or is that a false dichotomy, and they’re two sides of the same coin??? Discuss), real or imagined, civilized v. savage, winter v. summer, function v. dysfunction. Interested? Good! You’ve got a month to craft your creation(s), then share your offering (or someone else’s) with the rest of us on July 30th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals.

But first have you taken the chance lately to read this classic villanelle about the art of losing, “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop:

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Continued here…

Here is my poem, about something I’ve been following breathlessly this week. I know that, though it is in its third century of experimentation, a republic is not a hard thing to lose. I’m praying we don’t lose it on our watch.


Commission underway–All facts, the prize
If left to some, our land may never know
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Afraid to learn who knew and helped devise
Perverse the plan to halt and overthrow
Commission underway–All facts, the prize

Bipartisan committee will reprise
This doubtful nation’s faith. Will Congress grow?
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Already testimony will advise
The Light of truth bears us out of shadows
Commission underway–All facts, the prize

Do leaders fear being duly scrutinized?
Our hope’s in newness — not the status quo
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

Choosing to fight lies should not polarize
Awake to honor, revived faith bestowed
Commission underway–All facts, the prize
Will Truth and Justice win? Or bloodied lies?

~Draft by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs)

27 thoughts on “On Losing and 1/6

  1. Denise, your villanelle explored some reflective thoughts. Let’s hope that Truth and Justice win. I like that you shared your optimism for positive change, Our hope’s in newness, with a charge: Awake to honor. Happy International Friendship Day.

    1. Thank you, Carol. Amen. I try to always be optimistic. I would think everyone would hope Truth and Justice win no matter what side of the aisle they are on.

  2. I have the “art of losing” down to a science! It is so bad, that I got a neon green case for my phone so I could more easily find it! I love your villanelle. I hope that Truth and Justice win in the end.

    1. Haha! I often wish my important things had the “clapper” finder attached to them. Even my phone goes missing and I just want to clap to find it beep back at me instead of having to ask someone to call it for me. Thank you, Becky!

  3. What a powerful take on the way our government is dealing with the January 6 attacks. Thank you for sharing your process. “One Art” is a favorite of mine.

  4. Ohhhh, wow, Denise. Using a question as one of your opening lines and then repeating it over and over just drives home the question we’re all pondering. And the dichotomy between truth and lies, justice or injustice is so very clear. I love it.

  5. Yes, your “1/6” villanelle poem brews with powerful thought-great title too. I hope the members of the committee and beyond will make an impact on some of the many doubters that hold us back, and finally bring “Truth and Justice, forward.
    Lovely friendship poem and framing for your friend’s poem too, thanks for sharing all Denise!

    1. That has always been my prayer that the truth becomes so clear that people will just have to stop pushing the lies. The further we get away from truth seems to make it more unlikely, but I’m still praying.

  6. A very powerful poem, Denise! Thanks for sharing. I love the questions you pose.

  7. Denise, that first line of your quatrain. That. I am so tired of being in a polarized country One where I can’t claim to love America without fearing being taken as a Trump supporter. (Shudder.) Bravo for tackling this in a villanelle!

    1. Thank you, Laura. Yes! I so agree! We are divided into two by some really arbitrary and useless designations, aren’t we? The reason I write what I do and pray as I do is because I do love America too.

  8. My goodness…what a topic for a villanelle. But, it really works. I’ve listened to the testimony and it impacted me so much. I know that when I go into school this year I will give special love to our civics teachers and classes. We need an educated public…and so much more. I think the dichotomy of truth v. justice in this poem creates a tension that makes this villanelle work. Bravo!

    1. Linda, isn’t that the truth? I have always known my job as a literacy teacher was important–to teach critical reading and thinking. But our present-day situation has this belief growing exponentially.

  9. Wow, Denise–way to take on a weighty thing! Your Truth and Justice line with its bloodied lies says it all, and you executed the form beautifully. I’m curious about the difference it makes to include questions as you and Margaret did versus statements–in any poem, but in a villanelle especially. Hmmmm…

    1. Thank you, Heidi. I appreciate the encouragement a lot. Yes, I’ll be thinking about that question about asking villanelle questions too. Interesting. I do like how the quatrain in Margaret’s poem answers her question. I think that is really effective. Maybe I’ll be able to revise me after the Select Committee does their work.

  10. Denise I love your friendship poem. You capture many facts of a friendship in such a concise way. And hats off to you for your amazing villanelle! that is an amazing feat. You’ve captured the feeling of uncertainty about the future in this important moment in history perfectly.

  11. What a topic! What a dichotomy! Well done. I love this line “Our hope’s in newness — not the status quo” and your final stanza…wow.

  12. Oh, my goodness. This questioning villanelle gives me the shivers! You did an incredible job with the form.

    1. Thank you, Liz. You wrote about something that is a real dichotomy of two different truths at the same time–and I, perhaps, did not write about a dichotomy but about opposites. Perhaps not a dichotomy at all. Hmmm…

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