Menu Filtered Reality

Sweet Corn

The menu doesn’t nourish like a meal,
But helps the heart decide on what to do.
Consider how true knowledge twists what’s real.

Words conceal whenever they reveal.
There’s always something more to struggle through.
The menu doesn’t nourish like a meal.

What’s fully true is more than we can feel
Though what we feel reveals that pure truth, too.
Our knowing turns and teases what is real.

Food may be a medicine that heals
Or poison that consumes us as we chew.
The menu doesn’t nourish like a meal.

The heart insists the brain submits and kneels
So it can help them both explore what’s new,
Obtain sure knowledge teasing what is real.

Impulsive day is eager for a deal.
May dreamy night’s correction shelter you.
The menu doesn’t nourish like a meal
Nor does true knowing circumscribe what’s real.


Linked to dVerse Meeting the Bar. I am hosting today and the form is a villanelle. You are welcome to link a villanelle you have written for this prompt.  The modification I made to the villanelle form is to not exactly repeat the second line of the couplet theme.
Photo: “Sweet Corn” by the author

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

57 thoughts on “Menu Filtered Reality”

  1. Well, being a former Iowa gal of many years, you had me with the photo!!!
    I guess I misunderstood the directive — I thought the first and third lines of the first stanza had to be repeated exactly. I like that you varied the content of that third line.

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    1. That is what they are supposed to do, but, as an alternative, I suggested people could optionally modify the villanelle a bit and so I gave an example of modifying it. Exact repetition sounds odd to me, but I wanted the lines to mean pretty much the same thing to keep the spirit of the villanelle intact. Thanks, Lillian!

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    1. That corn was tasty as I remember. The lines should be exact according to the form as you mention. I modified the form to show how one might play with it and still have something that sounds like a villanelle. Thanks, Bev!

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    1. Thanks, Walter! I am glad you the form. It is one that challenges me with all the repeated lines. I like a more narrative approach, but writing something like this breaks me out of my habits of what I think I should be writing. And seeing what other people do opens the possibilities further.

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  2. I specially like this part Frank:

    Food may be a medicine that heals
    Or poison that consumes us as we chew.

    I have not thought of a meal theme for a villanelle but your poem shows it can work too ~ Thanks for hosting ~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Small line changes as the line progress modernize and conceptualize this very fine villanelle. I liked it very much..the idea of menu and of meal as metaphor works beautifully here as does the melody of their repetitions. Kudos!

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    1. Thank you, Gay! The villanelle seems to have too many repetitions for my ear, but perhaps they were originally viewed more as some kind of song where repetition is valuable. I wonder how people originally heard villanelles performed.

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  4. Bravo, sir, many of us have creatively altered the refrain line. I considered it, but in the end, stuck with the classic parameters. Over the years hanging out at dVerse, I have added elements of classic poetry to my style–but I always do it my way

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    1. This is one form I have problems with. That’s part of the reason I wanted to try it and see what others have done. I am glad you liked the modifications although doing it by the book should give good results as well. Thanks, Glenn!

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    1. I have not written many villanelles either. I think they fit a love theme better than a philosophical one after reading what other people have linked. If I were to do this again, I would choose a different theme for the villanelle. I am glad you liked the form.

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    1. I figure words can’t say it all so matter how accurate they are. There is always the subjective experience of reality which words only hint at, but can’t contain. I am glad you liked it, Imelda!

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  5. “There’s always something more to struggle through.” Oh how true this is! In a heart & brain fall out in course of a meal I think I should take sides with the brain to avoid future trouble: “Words conceal whenever they reveal” 🙂
    The little changes in the form was magical.

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    1. The heart and brain should work together. I suppose at a meal I would do the same thing. I am glad you liked those changes in the form. These forms are only guides to what should sound good and hopefully resonate with the reader. Thank you, Sumana!

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    1. Thank you, James! I rarely change formal requirements, but with forms I am not as comfortable with, I tend to bend the rules faster especially if I think it might sound better. I am glad you liked the philosophical content.

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  6. I like the meal and menu theme. That’s different and works well for the form. The modifications are great! You have to know the rules to break them. I stick pretty closely to forms probably because I don’t feel confident enough to vary them at all. Really nice villanelle, Frank.

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    1. It is risky modifying forms. They are usually patterns that people think sound good or are pleasing in other ways and people expect them to be followed. I’m glad you liked the modifications here and the villanelle. Thanks, Lynn!

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