The Breath Of Death (Villanelle)

I’ve been busy lately doing non-blog stuff. I know, how dare I? Cubby reupped this challenge over a week ago. I tried a few times and came up with some starts that didn’t go anywhere. Then, I’d get distracted with something else. Of course, as soon as I had a dark, depressing start, it rolled pretty easily. It doesn’t flow as well as I would like, and the rhymes are far from perfect, but here it is.

The Breath Of Death

I futilely gasp for every breath
Each more precious than the last
I refuse to acquiesce to death

I struggle to inhale but I’m bereft
I achieve nothing with each gasp
I futilely gasp for every breath

I wish I could start again, refresh
My whole life can’t be in the past
I refuse to acquiesce to death

I give myself a feeble heft
Still my throat is unsurpassed
I futilely gasp for every breath

Who will say that they wept?
Who will fly their flag half-mast?
I refuse to acquiesce to death

Why do I fight? I lived depressed
I can’t accept my life has passed
I futilely gasp for every breath
I refuse to acquiesce to death


30 thoughts on “The Breath Of Death (Villanelle)

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  1. This is a well crafted villanelle! The quiet determination of your words shines through the rather depressing line of questioning. You did an excellent job with this! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh geez. I feel your pain. I went the self-publishing route because I can’t withstand the onslaught of rejection letters. It’s difficult to even get them to read your manuscript if they don’t like your cover letter. They may not have even looked at your submission.

        I know a lot of traditional publishers won’t accept queries without an agent. Have you looked into getting an agent?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See? That shows what they know. I think your book is awesome. Though, I do disagree with the prejudice against cheetahs, especially coming from the cat lady.

        That’s what I’m doing right now, sending queries to agents. She said to keep her in mind “should you find yourself with a new manuscript to query.” How patronizing is that? Like I’m going to walk down the hall one day and trip over another book. I tried with Norman. I’m retrying with The L Squad. I told her in my first query that I had two L Squad books.

        Is this too harsh: “I havenโ€™t found myself with another manuscript, but I have another to which Iโ€™ve devoted a large chunk of my life writing, rewriting, editing, shopping, and creating and cultivating its universe.”?

        I hope it’s all right that I (publicly) vent to you. I’m frustrated. I need to talk to somebody who understands. I’d like to think of you as a friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The prejudice against cheetahs is simply because they are natural predators of ostriches. And thank you, I’m really glad you liked my book.

        I honestly don’t know how agents do their screening. I have a feeling that there are a lot of people in positions of power who don’t have an eye for talent in the publishing world. The agent who gave you that patronizing remark sounds like one of them.

        I don’t think what you wrote is harsh at all. You are being completely honest.

        And of course it is alright to vent to me. I understand the frustration, and I’d like to think of you as a friend as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You know the cheetah comment was a joke. I wouldn’t want a cheetah around any of these little dogs, either.

        Agents know they’re the gate to publishing. There’s an arrogance that comes with that. I think, they look at themselves as the tastemakers. In my experiences, they’re usually nice and polite, but there’s still that homeless person/heiress aesthetic. “Please, mum.” “Here. I can’t be bothered with you.” I went a little Dickensian with it. Oliver Twist is one of my favorites. It is that, though. I’ve spent all week researching agents, refining my query and submitting. I’ve only submitted two. That’s how much prep work I’m doing. They give it a quick look over and copy and paste a standard rejection note.

        Thanks, Cubs. You are a cool cat kid. ๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‰

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I didn’t think you were being serious about the cheetah, but just in case. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        The other way into traditional publishing is to sell a crap load of your own books and make them feel like they’re missing out. Beatrix Potter sold 20,000 copies of “Peter Rabbit” after being rejected by all the publishers, and that’s what got their attention. A publisher who had previously rejected her, after seeing the sales, decided that now she was “good enough.” It’s ridiculous.

        AND WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?! YOU HAVE A DINOCAT TOO?? My jaw literally dropped when I saw it. ๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‰

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Honestly, I would far prefer to self-publish. I want to retain ownership of the things I create. The route you took could end up working out better for you. When I Want An Ostrich The Movie comes out that’s all you. I don’t have the money to put into it to do it right. I can’t afford the artist, professional editor, advertising…

        What do you think? You have a monopoly on Dinocats? I have it on my computer, but, for some reason, it won’t work on here. I have to post it somewhere else and copy and paste it here. It’s bizarre. My phone separates it into two things. It’s a cat and something that looks like a cartoon version of the Loch Ness Monster. It’s the same with Astro Cat, Hipster Cat, Ninja Cat, and so on. Emojis are a mysterious entity. Your reaction was awesome, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. What you described (costs of artist, editor, advertising) are all considerable barriers of entry for the self-publishing author. A crowd funding venture like Kickstarter could help you with those costs. I have heard of writers being successful going this route, although I do not know much about it.

        I noticed that too about the different cat emojis, how they separate into two things. And yes, I know I can’t have a monopoly on cat emojis, but still…sniff…now I don’t feel as special.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. That’s not a bad idea. I don’t know much about doing it either. It’s something to keep in mind.

        It’s not the cat emojis that make you special.

        Thanks again for letting me vent. It helped. So, there’s this girl… I’m playing.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Umm, how did you know about my sixth toe? That’s creepy. And as common as cats are, how many cats can not only write but rhyme as well? And “The Cat in the Hat” does not count. Wait, let me put on a hat. Now it does.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Could feel the suffering and perseverance in this lines. Thanks for sharing! I am a Creative Life Coach with a poetry blog and today’s here is todayโ€™s in case you have time to look? It is also a Villanelle!

    I am also on Instagram as #coachingcreatively, letโ€™s follow each other if you use this medium? You can also find me on Facebook under Sam Allen wearing a bright red and orange hat!

    I love connecting with fellow creatives as you can see!

    Sunny greetings from Switzerland!

    Sam ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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