Into the Light: A Villanelle

One of the most common excuse used by writers for not producing any work is the infamous Writer’s Block. An unfortunate situation where nothing seems to flow from your pen, everything that manages to be squeezed out in ink is atrocious and all confidence is lost in your skill, convincing you you have no place at this desk or in the world of creativity.

But here’s some news for you: There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.  There is only a silence that you suddenly find is consuming you. But that silence comes from YOU. You are your own Block.

When I was first told this, I was almost insulted. But when I took a step back, I could understand it more. There are so many undiscovered truths and anomalies in the brain that we cannot even begin to understand – one of which is the beauty of the subconscious. Given thirty seconds, a pen, and a piece of paper, you can fill a page with words. However mundane they may be, they are still words, and they came from YOU. Who knows? These words may hold a tenuous story in the palm of their hands, just waiting for you to open your eyes and see it. They may uncover a list of food items that you realise you’re in need of and forgot to add to the weekly list. Or it may even just be the word ‘pen’ over and over again. But whatever reveals itself to you is a message, an indicator of what you are thinking and the capabilities of your skill that day.

There is no barrier preventing you from writing, just a weariness of forced originality. So…give up trying to be original. Take an everyday object such as a pen and write it on paper. Write me a pen. Write me a chair. Write.

But don’t walk away from it.

It was this way that I wrote the following Villanelle: I wrote lists of words, looked through images, listened to songs and realised there was no way I could create something half as impressive in my frustrated state. But eventually, with a bit of perseverance and a dollop of stubbornness, my list of words eventually guided me to the realm of time and light and how writing can take you there, creating the very bed in which you sleep.

So my advice when you’re blocked? Hush. Take a breath. And give yourself up to the subconscious. Who knows what you might find.

* * *

by Isabelle Grosjean

by Isabelle Grosjean

Into the Light: A Villanelle

The glinting silver pen will catch more than light,

so climb aboard the Somewhere-bound ship

before that little golden pocket watch stops in the night.


Comets wreathed in fire fall from such height

that way down on Earth there’s a gravity slip.

Still the glinting silver pen catches more than light.


It feels like crumbling, losing control, in spite

of the anchor of touch, lip to lip.

Don’t let that golden pocket watch stop, not tonight.


How can a presence set darkness alight

with fingers that dance, tracing arm, stomach, hip?

Watch the silver pen; it’s catching more than light.


A hand skates from yours, a movement so slight,

but it takes hold on life to a vice iron grip

that’s ignored by the pocket watch that stops in the night.


There’s no guidance here, just a desperate fight

with the age old advice to equip

yourself with a pen that will catch more than light,

and a little golden pocket watch that stops in the night.


Obsession – My Rocket Fuel to Anywhere

It has been difficult to keep on top of this blog recently, largely due to a lack of organisation and that unfortunate thing called ‘Life’ getting in the way.

However, in the silence between posts, I’ve been exploring more aspects of poetry. A form I found myself particularly attached to was the Sestina, a form that is often associated with obsession due to the amount of repetition. And it led me to think…

…we all have an obsession. Whether it be a person, a hobby, a route we walk every day or even a favourite food. Hell, writing is an obsession in and of itself. Here I am, writing this blog because I feel a NEED to. It’s something I want to do, feel happy when I do it and feel a disturbing sense of guilt when I neglect it. It has consumed me in a way nothing else can.

So, after my day of essay planning, writing, re-hashing and referencing, I am sitting down now to share with you my obsession.

What’s yours?

* * *



Paper-strewn and sturdy, the oaken desk

stands in firm opposition to the aged tree

that brandishes weapons of twigs and leaves.

It is crude in its animosity at the poised ink pen.

A girl, stony faced, swivels in the black coated chair,

chewing on her hair in the light from the lamp


that flickers. Blinking a fluorescent interrogation, the lamp

squats in readiness in the quiet corner of the desk,

as shadows dance a war, stemming from the legs of the chair.

Outside, winds howl and birds are buffeted into the tree

– it is a scene that begins to all-too-eagerly stream out from the pen.

The girl is not there – not really – she is lost in leaves


of orange and red, caught up in the wind scattering these skeletal leaves

to the grainy earth. It is her shell that sits in the lamp

light, nothing more than a dry outer husk gripping that pen.

Suddenly, though paper-strewn and sturdy, the oaken desk

is hovering, cushioned on an electric cloud of flakes of tree

bark and tweets of birds; like an outstretched hand, the chair


offers up the power of its occupant, ignorant of its status as ‘chair.’

The girl wonders if anyone else has ever noticed that leaves

are so very free, independent of their mother, that majestic tree

that birthed them; or that motes of dust swim up to the lamp

like moths to a flame? Why would anyone stay strapped to a desk

when you can soar, with nothing but air in your lungs and a pen –


that rocket fuel to Anywhere. It is moulded to her palm, that pen.

Universes are splayed around her, dotted and mapped on the chair,

the ceiling, the walls, even the carpet that fluffs under the weight of the desk.

There is Life coming to life, she can smell it damp on the leaves

and taste it sweet in the air. The heat from her lamp

has the brilliance of a sun – it is like food to the grateful tree


that is crowned as Mother Nature – the first tree

ever granted such an extreme honour by the power invested in pen.

Stop. There is goes again, that fluorescent blinking lamp

and she is just a girl again, just a girl sitting in a chair

chewing her hair, whilst outside whips the dusky leaves

that whisper of where she just was. But she was only at her desk.


‘Flip the switch on the lamp and tuck in the black coated chair.

Outside is just a tree, just as the wand in your hand is a pen.

Go on out and rake the leaves my love. And later, tidy that desk.’