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Violet Nesdoly

long ago, it seems so long ago
all faded now to harvest gold and avocado green
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so
stiff sepia grooms and lacy brides that glow
coiled hair, dark lips, like 20’s starlets from the screen
long ago, it seems so long ago
hosts of people I don’t even know
so many lively smiles, eyes bright with hopeful sheen
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so
Saskatchewan toddler dressed like Eskimo
swaddled in mitts and scarves against the wind so keen
long ago, it seems so long ago
see how Mom made her prairie garden grow
thick marigold, begonia, phlox and climbing bean
glossy rectangles and squares declare it so
we gather with our cousins row on row
even then faces of our adult selves are seen
long ago, it seems so long ago
these glossy rectangles and squares declare it so


This poem first appeared in Canadian Stories (August - September 2012).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Violet Nesdoly lives near Vancouver, British Columbia. When she's not working on various writing projects, she enjoys making art, reading, and walking local nature trails with her husband, camera  in hand. Violet is the author of two poetry collections and two novels; her poems have appeared in anthologies and a variety of print and online publications. Learn more about Violet at




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This villanelle is EXCELLENT. I love it. The simplicity/complexity of "long ago" is brilliant--- and the "glossy squares rectangles and squares declare it so" --- very powerful. Very well crafted!
Posted 01/21/2014 08:58 AM
Love this! The form works perfectly with your topic. So fun to find you here today, Violet!
Posted 01/20/2014 12:23 PM
Working with family history at Ancestry, I've been scanning in so many photos to add in -- well your description of going through that box or album of old photos . . . exactly right, even my own childhood . . . so long ago.
Posted 01/20/2014 09:58 AM
Janet F.:
I thank Laura Salas for her FB alert to see your wonderful, evocative poem, Violet. Lovely to find you hear and I must try a villanelle some day. I, too, love those glossy squares filled with our pasts. Janet F.
Posted 01/20/2014 09:05 AM
The villanelle fits the content, or the content the villanelle, so well here: Repetition invokes an elegiac tone.
Posted 01/20/2014 07:55 AM
An interesting Villanelle, Violet. Nice job with a tricky form.
Posted 01/20/2014 07:47 AM
o so true, and lovely poem!
Posted 01/20/2014 07:34 AM
Violet--love seeing your work here! I have only about 10 photos from when I was a kid and no photos at all of my family before that, so I think I could get lost sorting through a box of them if someone handed them to me...
Posted 01/20/2014 06:11 AM
I love the passive voice here; it evokes a century.
Posted 01/20/2014 05:11 AM

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