Those who know me well know that I’m a tinkerer. (Actually, those who know me slightly know that I’m a tinkerer, and those who don’t know me at all can probably guess that I’m a tinkerer from the big sign that says TINKERER over my head. It's right next to the sign that says WILL REPEATEDLY MAKE BAD PUNS UNTIL RENDERED UNCONSCIOUS.)
So for the past two days I’ve been playing with the second stanza of the villanelle, because it seems to me to be the weakest one in the poem.
How do I know it’s the weakest? I can’t say I actually know it; it’s a feeling. The other stanzas have something this one lacks, whether it’s a good pun like “meet” or a thematic link that leads naturally to one of the two repeating lines or something indefinable like snap or zing. This one doesn’t have that feeling.
After several tries over egg nog, lasagna, B&B, beef chile and a couple of pints of Guinness, here’s the latest version of that stanza:
“Amours that start like trips to Paris, France,
Will wind up earning you the croix de guerre.
I think I've finally figured out romance.
I’m still going to tinker with this; I want to find a way of saying “Will always get you the croix de guerre” within the metre, like “Always (dum dum dum) you the croix de guerre.” Which means a trip to the Thesaurus in the next 24 hours.