Robert Louis Stevenson (2012 Poem In Your Pocket)

The Argument

by Maryann

I cannot write a villanelle
My words buck at such a structure
I argue, fight with myself.

I read and read the examples,
pull out pen and paper. Yet
I cannot write a villanelle.

Mere doodles end up on the page
Where words should appear and flow
I argue, fight with myself.

I feel backed into a corner.
I cannot run and hide. Yet
even with the pressure,
I cannot write a villanelle.

So I shall put my arguments
down, and hope this will suffice.
I cannot write a villanelle
And tire of arguing, fighting with myself.

This poem was published in the Hawaiʻi Review Editor's Blog as part of an e-chapbook entitled WHEA YOU FROM…WHEA YOU GOING, which was produced by the residents of TJ Mahoney & Associates, a community reentry program in Honolulu.

Maryann was born in Phoenix, Arizona--a child of the desert now transplanted in paradise. She is from years behind razor wire with few outlets of expression, save for writing. She is a resident at Ka Hale Hōala Hou No Nā Wahine, a residential facility for women making the successful transition from prison back to our communities. Her dream is to continue sharing her thoughts and stories, and to reach far and wide.


To Princess Kaʻiulani

by Robert Louis Stevenson

FORTH from her land to mine she goes,
The island maid, the island rose,
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here, in Southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaʻiulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Kaʻiulani’s eye.

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