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Forever Spring

by Zettel 

Posted: 11 May 2016
Word Count: 113
Summary: Prompted by the tragic unexpected death of very young teenager from natural causes. Most poems for me start with a single image idea.

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Forever Spring

Mary we will miss you
Darling we will cry
But cherished memories 
Will comfort bring
For we know
Love never dies
and you will be
Forever Spring

Not in the clocks
not hours or days or years
You are not in time
with its bitter sting
You are in our hearts
not just in our ideas 
For now you are
Forever Spring

You are ever in this place
in this sacred space
You are not past or gone or lost
not of then or now or soon
Shared laughter joy and fun
Still makes our hearts sing
Loving we are still at one
And you will always be
Forever Spring

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Comments by other Members

nickb at 20:37 on 11 May 2016  Report this post
Hi Keith,

this is a very heartfelt piece which at it's centre is the tragedy of a young woman cut off in her prime.  Who could not be moved by that.  As a result she is remembered as always youthful, "forever Spring".  You reference time stopping in

Not in the clocks
not hours or days or years
You are not in time
with its bitter sting

and again in the third stanza

You are not past or gone or lost
not of then or now or soon

which leads us to focus on that particular moment in time when she disappeared from your life (I'm not sure if "or soon" works in this instance).  This reminded me of the famous Auden "stop all the clocks".  Your poem is full of emotion and strikes me as a very genuine response.  I was moved when I read it.


Zettel at 00:04 on 12 May 2016  Report this post
Nick - Thanks for your comments.

It is always dificult in circumstances like this: one doesn't want to exploit a situation or make anything worse for the grieving relatives.  My rule of thumb is: is there something of general significance about this situation that seems worth trying to express?  In this case I was struck immediately by the idea of this tragic young woman of 16 at the most positive and hopeful stageof her life so cruelly struck down by a sudden, catastrophic fatal health problem. Hence the idea of 'Forever Spring' came to mind and urged me to write it down.

It is curious that I have had never had a poem published but now have had 5 poems that have been read out at the funerals of 3 people I never met; and I have had very moving letters from two more bereaved relatives thanking me for the poems.

I find this immensely moving and even dare I say it, encouraging.

thanks again foir the comments.


Cliff Hanger at 11:19 on 12 May 2016  Report this post
Hello Zettel

It's very difficult to critique something so personal and poignant. Not surprisingly it holds a lot of emotion within it but it's not gushy or trite. I think the forever spring repetition underpins that.

"You are not in time
with its bitter sting"

That's a particularly effective line for me. The only thing I noticed was that it began very specifically mentioning Mary and then became quite general although you used 'you' well to bring us back to a specific person. I might like to see a tiny bit more of who Mary actually was.

If your poems have been helpful or illuminating to people at times of loss and grief then that's a special accolade.


James Graham at 20:02 on 12 May 2016  Report this post
I agree with the positive comments that have been made, and don’t see any need to tinker with this poem. Elegies can seem artificial at times, not because the poet isn’t sincere but because the poem is too elaborate and ‘literary’. There’s none of this here. It comes across as completely genuine - from the heart, through the vehicle of the poem, to the reader.
Your form is simple and effective, with its moving refrain and the middle lines which tellingly rhyme with it. Most strikingly, this example from Stanza 2:
You are not in time
with its bitter sting
The rhyme with ‘Spring’ helps to convey a strong rejection of the burden of time, and affirmation of the idea that some things are timeless.
The language is simple and moving. One example (among others) that I found as powerful as anything:
You are not past or gone or lost
not of then or now or soon
These plain, monosyllabic words which we commonly use when talking about time – or death – express a profound idea in a way which is immediately accessible. Reading the poem I become very aware of the concept of time, which no doubt can be a theme of philosophical discourse. What the poem says about time isn’t over-simple: you have the perception of time as a natural phenomenon in the seasons (only Spring is mentioned, but the others, especially Winter, come to mind); you have time as a measured phenomenon in Stanza 2; and you have the more indeterminate everyday language of time in ‘then’, ‘now’ etc. It’s all there, but the simplicity of the poem remains.
Simplicity has been your hallmark in many of your earlier poems, and this one is at least as moving as any.
PS. I don’t know if you’re familiar with one of the masterpieces of 20th century music, the Violin Concerto by Alban Berg. It was written after the death at age 18 of Manon Gropius, daughter of the architect Walter Gropius. Berg was very attached to her as a kind of substitute daughter (his marriage was childless) and the language of music is wordless but the concerto strikes me as very much a celebration of her life rather than an expression of the ‘bitter sting’ of time.

stormbox at 22:20 on 12 May 2016  Report this post
Hi Zettel,

I must agree this is a very touching, poignant poem that comes straight from the heart.

If I could change one line it would be the penultimate line in the first stanza to be "and you always were" (rather than "you will be" which is repeated in the last verse). This would make the final phrase in each stanza represent the past, present and future - which echoes with the other message of the poem that "You are not in time".

I found this poem very moving.


Zettel at 00:25 on 13 May 2016  Report this post
Thanks for all the generous comments. It was a dilemma whether to post it at all: but as potery is essentially for me a sharing activity - it seemed worth sharing.  As indicated before my litmus test on this tricky area is whether therer is something beyond the intensely personal and in a sense private. IN this case it was the simple idea that resonated in my head as soon as I heard about the tragedy from my daughter who is an Assistant Head at the School which is coming to terms with a shocking vent that has impacted the whole commmunity.

I'm glad James that the language strikes you as simple without self-consciousness as of course thatis the test of genuine sincerity: it is one of the sad facts of these things that it is quite possible to be sound insincere even if one isn't.

It isn't always true but this was a poem that seemed to demand it be written - so it 'obeyed' the impulse. Thanks again for your kind and generous comments.



(James: I'll check out the Berg - thanks for it.)

James Graham at 20:36 on 13 May 2016  Report this post
The poem certainly passes your litmus test. It gives expression to feelings that have been experienced, or would be recognised, by almost everyone. And the ideas about time are pretty universal, I would think.

The Berg: the music is modernist, and it depends if you like that sort of thing! Much dissonance. But it's very melodic too, including variations on a Bach chorale. It has been described as a worthy 20th century successor to the Beethoven Violin Concerto.


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