Thursday, 15 September 2016

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The rhyme in the second line of the first stanza becomes the rhyme in the first and fourth lines of the following stanza, and so on. The rhymes in the second and third lines of each stanza become the rhymes in the first and second lines of the following stanza. The third line of each stanza is a trochaic tetrameter. 'Stare' is another name for the starling.
   For a tougher picture of January see my lyric, 'January' in 'Months,' a series of poems on the months of the year, here - scroll down the post to find January.


Eighty-thirty on a January morn.
My garden sycamore flings fingers high,
   Greyly-green and lichen-dusted,
To wrap them in the flushed fresh sheets of dawn.

Dews of sunrise distilled the kohl-blue sky, 
And creeping bars of sunlight orange-rusted
   Walls and flaring window panes;
Cloudy as lemon squash, mist trickled by.

Atop the tree by morning breezes gusted,
A red-beard robin, fiery in his reins,
   Wildly yells breast-swollen brags,
Hen-wooing and by skirmish-scars encrusted.

Beneath, stiff-legged starlings like toys on canes
Blackly chatter, clapping their wings like flags;
   Bagatelling branch to branch
They tumble like a flail of glossy grains.

On lower branches, two old spinsters’ workbags –
Mild pigeons, greyly-powdered – glared askance;
   Primly-pained by the stares’ brawling
They lift their ruffs, wind-caught and fluffed to rags.

A squirrel leapt and made those starlings dance;
Club-tailed, Achilles-racing, climbing, crawling,
   Savagely it swung its claws –
The starlings fled; it gave a victor’s prance.

Come leaf-time, quarrelling will earnest; bawling,
Breeding, caparisoned, pursuing wars,
   Training fledglings with the tawse,
Bird, beast and man must shoulder the year’s hauling.

© January 2014

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Boxing Day

The rhyme scheme of this otherwise straightforward poem is more complicated than might appear in that two of the rhymes in the first, third and fifth stanzas etc. reappear reversed in the second, fourth and sixth stanzas etc. Also, the rhyme in the third line of each stanza reappears as the rhyme in the first and last lines of the following stanza. Hence, things are tightly bound together. Those interested can analyse it for themselves.


(December 2013)

And what a day after rank storm and wind!
The sky was a mild sea of cornflower blue
   Draped lacily with strings of cloud;
The sun hunched into an orange ball and grinned.

You felt its heat and so the birds rang loud,
An afternoon chorale, come all, come few,
   And, truly, sun heat on the skin
Straightened my back so that I stepped out proud.

Despite the sun, the air stung eyes like gin,
Breath clouded from my mouth in frothy puffs,
   But huddling into layered clothes
I lauded spring’s glad preview, bright as tin.

Among the trees, the blackbirds flicked like gloves,
And blue tits flustered, balls of ends and fluffs,
   The starlings fell and whirred like toys,
Crows were unfriendly, flinging croaks like shoves. 

The trees rose leafless in their chilly poise;
There was an ash with hung brown bags of keys,
   A birch with creamy curds of bark,
And both were lacquered by the birds’ rich noise.

Each bore a robin like a rust-red mark
On topmost branches dipping in the breeze;
   They faced each other crown to crown
And sang as if to out-compete the lark.

Such carolling to shame glum winter’s frown, 
Fresh-tuned as water falling in a pool, 
   Now sparkling like an arc of spray,
Now measured like the flow of waters brown.

Yet these two puffed their chests as if to bray
"Keep off, this tree is mine and knows my rule,
   Its grubs, its crannies, soon a mate;
Approach and totter in my direful sway."

For robins, nature’s muggers, love to rate,
And this pair, bright of breast with chestnut hat –
   Not singing to but shouting at
Like bloodied wrestlers longed to try their weight!

© January 2014