Pic and a Word Challenge #185: Hairway to Steven

Let’s begin seriously, with a photo or two from all the churches, basilicas, cathedrals and the like that I have seen from the inside in the last seven years. The poem, my second ever villanelle, comes at the end because it’s silly.

Here are about twenty churches from Italy and Slovenia with a photo apiece (some get two photos because they cheat) but some are missing because I have no photos from there (for example Ljubljana Cathedral). Plenty for a non-believer, and yet, these are some of the most amazing places that I’ve seen.

We start with five in Rome, continue to Tuscany with a couple of abbeys and Siena Cathedral (haven’t been to Florence’s yet), make a quick stop in Muggia/Milje on the border between Italy and Slovenia and finish there, in my country of origin, with a couple of colourful ones and four locations in Piran for the end.

As for the poem, you will soon realise that it’s not just a villanelle but something else as well.

Hairway to Steven 

This monkey’s gone to heaven.
“Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

“I’m so tired, I don’t know what to do,
feels like I'm knocking on Heaven's door!”
This monkey’s gone to heaven.

Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow:
“I sold my soul to the company store.
Heaven knows I’m miserable now.

I’m so high, the sky I scrape.
Blood on the rise, it’s following me.”
This monkey’s gone to heaven.

“I started a joke which started the whole world crying
but I didn’t see that the joke was one me.
Heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

If man is five then the devil is six
and if the devil is six then God is seven,
this monkey’s gone to heaven
and heaven knows he is miserable now.

That’s right, it’s a cento too, fully made from other people’s words. (Well, it was a lazy Sunday.) Here are the resources in order of appearance:

  • Hairway to Steven: Butthole Surfers (Album title)
  • Monkey Gone to Heaven: Pixies
  • Heaven: Talking Heads
  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now: The Smiths
  • I’m So Tired: The Beatles
  • Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Bob Dylan
  • Life on Mars: David Bowie & Everything Zen: Bush
  • Sixteen Tons: B. B. King/The Platters/Johnny Cash etc.
  • In My Tree: Pearl Jam
  • Peace Frog: The Doors
  • I Started a Joke: Bee Gees/Faith No More

In response to Patrick Jennings’ Pic and a Word Challenge #185: Heavens


    1. Heheh, I see your point, Emma. 🙂 Thanks, I love it too. Do you know that once a year they drop rose petals from the hole? 😮 One year we were there but it was too crowded to go in. I found this video online:

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, I get around compared to who, you? 😉 I merely hop around the molehills! Thank you, I’m glad you find my photos interesting. As for the title, I nicked it from somebody else, like the whole poem. 😀 (It’s not “Stairway” but “Hairway” 😉 Even worse.)


  1. Oh my gosh, Manja, I am winning at song lyrics! lol
    That was fantastic theft and use of others’ words!
    Me, every time I see photos from The Vatican “Holy shit!”
    I loved this title, too.
    Great post! Tops!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely pictures of colour and cathedrals and churches. Also really liked your poem and your use of alliteration ‘monkey’s gone to heaven’. Really like how you described grown-up Mickey Mouse…selling his soul away to competition and getting caught up in such a predictable corporate world. Brilliant write, Manja 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mabel! 🙂 That alliteration is pretty strictly prescribed for the villanelle form and I used it in combination with various song lyrics that came to mind. The first three I had immediately (by Pixies, Talking Heads and Smiths) and I continued from there. I’m glad it made sense to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, J.D, I merely stole it all: the title and all the verses are by other people. “Hairway to Steven” was an album by Butthole Surfers. 😀 Thank you. Europe is certainly to be missed. I hope you return soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My sketchbook is full of drawings of churches. Give me a nave and transept and a couple of stain glassed windows and I’m in heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to build small models of european churches when I was in art college so I had to study them. And I’d love Italy for so many reasons, you’re right.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful photos! Churches always fill me with awe for the people who built them oh so long ago without machines or any of the modern mechanics we have now – they are gorgeous and still standing! Your poem as well is quite inspired!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are always filled with fun. I enjoyed this poem, and trying to remember each song as I came to the line.

    The photos are in a different class. My oh my what jaw-dropping extravagance and opulence in some of those places of worship. But such gravity in them all. I love every photo, and appreciate that you look in directions people don’t always look.

    Liked by 1 person

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