Villanelle*

To tell the end that only time will tell
Is poetry a poet dreads when he
Knows it’s time to write the villanelle.

Stranded on the strand, he lifts a shell
To hear what oceans know and seas will say
About the end that only time will tell.

What the waters know, hearts know as well,
Alone upon the strand beside the bay.
It’s time to write the final villanelle.

The sonnets of his youth rang like a bell.
The villanelle was easy to delay
That tells the end that only time will tell.

The bell that rings today one day must knell.
What stays the youthful heart long cannot stay.
It’s time to write the final villanelle.

The turbid tercets cast an ocean spell.
The quatrain long delayed will not delay
To tell the end that only time will tell,
The time to write the final villanelle.

           * A verse form running on two rhymes and consisting
           of five tercets and a quatrain in which the first and third
           lines of the opening tercet recur alternately at the end
           of the other tercets and together as the last two lines
           of the quatrain.