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Another Spring

by Zettel 

Posted: 20 March 2017
Word Count: 206

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Another Spring

Winter's bonds are easing now
Rested earth stirs expectantly
to the urgent pulse of life
Even proud withstanding hills
weep softly with the melting snow

The primrose shy nestles by
the crocus proud erect
both towered by the chorus lines
of dancing daffodils
braving the still Wintry sky

An honour guard of cherry trees
stands to along the roads 
in precious passing pink
showing us the now of things
only our deeper feeling sees

Like the return of a long lost love
uncertain hesitant Spring tiptoes in
wary of the lingering ice and frost
Winter has left behind a guard 
that fickle April will remove

We live our lives in time-straight lines
of now tomorrow soon
future hope stills present peace
but to walk the earth a circle makes
the pattern seasons underline. 

Winter's end is Spring's beckoning call
with Summer Autumn still to come
There is a time to live a time to die
a time to laugh a fitting time to cry
for dawn again to come first night must fall

There is gentle solace here
Winters dark but an apparent end
in truth the little death of change
In the ring of life love abides 
and whispers do not fear


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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 22:16 on 23 March 2017  Report this post
Zettel, sorry to keep you waiting for a comment. This week I've been busier than I really want to be. I'll comment very soon.


Zettel at 00:29 on 24 March 2017  Report this post
Thanks James. I'd welcome any comments whenever you are able to make them. 


James Graham at 20:56 on 24 March 2017  Report this post
There are several good things to say about this poem. Since it begins as a nature poem and ends philosophically, we might expect the last few stanzas to be too abstract, but they’re not. There are strong lines and good insights there too, e.g. ‘to walk the earth a circle makes/ [which] the seasons pattern underlines’, two of the best lines calling on us to be aware of the cyclical nature of the seasons, which counteracts the ‘time-straight lines/ Of now tomorrow soon’ – our linear sense of time which often does not serve us very well. All the above are excellent lines, I think.

There’s a good deal of telling imagery. I like the image of the hills that ‘Weep softly with the melting snow’. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the term ‘pathetic fallacy’ – the attribution of human emotions to inanimate nature – a phrase coined by Ruskin, who considered it a serious flaw in poetry. He quoted a line from a poem by Charles Kingsley, ‘the cruel, crawling foam’, and wrote ‘The foam is not cruel, neither does it crawl’. Maybe some of Ruskin’s contemporaries thought, ‘We know the sea isn’t cruel and doesn’t crawl, but the magic of metaphor can make it seem a living thing. We don’t have to be literal all the time’. It’s unlikely anyone nowadays agrees with Ruskin.
Both towered by the chorus lines
Of dancing daffodils

Another image that works well: ‘towered’ is quite original, more striking than the common expression ‘towered over’, and I like the way you add a modern touch to Wordsworth’s daffodils by turning them into a chorus line.

There are single-word choices that stand out: ‘towered’, ‘passing’ (a synonym for death, but here it’s ‘the little death of change’),  ‘hesitant’, ‘fickle’.

There are more examples I could quote. In general the poem effectively portrays the cyclical pattern of the seasons and invites us to celebrate the passing and renewal of life. It’s quite strong in its detail too, in those insightful words and images. But now, a critical suggestion.

I often think your poems are too long, but usually can’t think of ways to reduce them! In this case I feel the penultimate stanza is dispensable except for the brilliant phrase ‘little death of change’. Apart from that it says it’s comforting to know that winter passes, and if we contemplate the changing seasons ‘there's no need to fear’ – sentiments which I feel have already been conveyed in various ways. I would suggest omitting the second-last stanza and placing ‘little death of change’in the last stanza, like this:
Winter's end is Spring's beckoning call
It is the little death of change
There is a time to live a time to die

Does this make sense to you?

I won’t put this poem aside. I may have more thoughts about it, but please feel free to reply to anything I’ve said so far.


Zettel at 12:15 on 25 March 2017  Report this post
Thanks James
i think your suggestion would make this tighter and more focused - better poem in fact.
however the poem arose from the clash of mixed emotions: the recent deaths of younger friends and the sense of continuity nature and the seasons offer. Underlying the poem is the thought that everything dies but nothing is completely lost. I agree the last 2 stanzas say the 'same' thing in a way. The first is sort of there for the grieving: the last in a sense for us all - because we're all in the same boat. 
However I think the balance in the last 2 stanzas can be improved and I'd like to have a crack at that before implementing your distillation. 
Thanks for the thoughts both encouraging and thought provoking. 

Zettel at 13:49 on 26 March 2017  Report this post
Hi  James

Perverse as ever, I have made changes prompted by your insight but idfferent to the specific suggestion you made. I didn't want to lose the different perspective in the last two stanzas but I think change of order helps and I've managed to remove 'spare' words in the last.

Hope you approve.


and thanks again



James Graham at 20:28 on 26 March 2017  Report this post
It’s often the case that you own ideas work better than someone else’s. Your reworking reads very smoothly, and the ideas certainly come across to me very clearly. Could I suggest this:

In the ring of life love abides 
and whispers Do not fear

Normally one should be sparing in the use of italics in poetry, but this seems to me a prime example of the right use of them. Italics can be used instead of quotation marks for either inner thoughts or something whispered. Your Do not fear is metaphorically a whispered reassurance, in reality a silent message, an insight drawn from contemplation of the ‘ring of life’. In every respect this justifies italics. Besides, the other function of italics is to emphasise, and it can do no harm to give a special emphasis to this simple but powerful concluding phrase.

You will notice I’ve omitted ‘for’. I don’t think it’s necessary. These last two lines are clearly the outcome of all your reflections in the poem. I would even suggest separating them by double-spacing between ‘change’ and ‘In the ring’.


Zettel at 00:49 on 27 March 2017  Report this post
Agreed  and done. Except I feel a gap as well would just detach the related thoughts just a bit too far.

Thanks for the help. Improved because of it I think.



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