The book of days that hangs upon my wall told me more than a week ago that spring was here. I’m waiting, trying to believe it’s true.
Yes, the time of rime is now past, but winter lingers, reluctant to leave. Though the thermometer says it is 23 degrees this morning, winter sends its winds to swallow 5 degrees or more.
I brood. Rime, the ice that winter paints the trees with, rhymes with “rhyme.”
The time of rhyme is also past. Once upon a time, poets moved in measured footsteps, inviting us to join the verbal dance. Often when a line stopped and bowed its rhyme, the next one mirrored those same steps, matching the sound in kind. Some poets slanted rhymes or placed them inside, waltzing to a steady beat until the final curtsey.
These days we like our rhymes sung, whether hip-hop, pop, or rock. Our poems are free to wander, twirl, and spin. Free verse creates its own steps and feels no constraint to follow someone else’s choreography. It rhymes or not, according to its own interpretation of the dance.
I would like to rhyme and dance a poem, but I have two left feet. However, it doesn’t stop me from trying.
So, today, I’ll share a poem of winter’s end, written years ago for my children. I warn you now: should you cross beyond the yellow tape, you’ll wind up in a rhyme scene.
Sweet swift dreams buried lie,
Mourned with long and silver sighs
Winter bares his strength ice-cold,
Tyrant clothed in robe of snow.
None would even dare to try
Reason with those deathful eyes;
Piercing, chilling, large and small;
Well he knows we’re cowards all.
Oh so proud, he comes with foot
Booted. And where once had stood
Tender creatures soft and green,
Sterile, barren world is seen.
Laughing with a blasting wind
Opens court, his reign begins.
Long he banquets, drinks the wine
Stolen from the summer vine.
Largely ‘neath his grey tent sky
Sated monarch, drunken lies
Sleeping. Snores with white-cold breath;
All his subjects wait, in death.
Deep in dreams his lover spies,
Hoary kisses tantalize.
Then sound with laughing fingers cracks
His smooth white dream, still unhatched.
Would one dare disturb this king
Who exiled thousands born to sing;
Southern regions welcomed them
Feathered orphans, fled on wing.
Still the sound, gentle laughter,
Warmly wrapping ‘round the rafters;
Anger fills the tyrant’s breast,
“Halt!” he cries with frosty breath.
Comes a child with melting smile,
Skips and flowers multiply.
Smaller growing, puddle king,
Conquered by the barefoot Spring.