Let there be a Storm

Please, please, let there be a storm,

let the fierce winds shake the trees

and scream across the rocky heights,

the mounting violence shape the seas

with sloping greys and foaming whites,

howling round the rooftops, flicking rain,

spattering against the window pane.

~

And may the storm not peter in the night

but rage around the dark outside

and thump against the soaking walls,

and roar across the valleys wide

with branches breaking in the squalls,

the frightening force felt far and high and deep,

the maelstrom building beyond our gentle sleep.

~

And when I wake and find the storm has grown,

I will want to fly out in the rain,

enjoy the dim and early light

and race to feel alive again

while thrown about in Nature’s fight.

I shall run and run, heart pounding, to the sea

and face that fearsome wind and feel so free.

~

Grassy land with monstrous waves each side,

my plinth amidst the seething white,

leaning forward, arms spread wide,

flapping overpowered kite,

blasted back by its appalling might.

I will shout and scream, but my tiny voice be drowned

in the magnificent storm and its searing, awful sound.

‘Bubble, World’: An Adventure Exploring Poetic Technique!

Preamble

Welcome to the second post in the ‘adventures’ series where I discuss some of the techniques used in one of my poems.

If you enjoy the poem on first reading, I hope this will add interest and perhaps act as a catalyst to further enjoyment on subsequent readings. After all, I think if you do like a particular poem (no promises!), then the first reading will usually only give an initial hint of the appreciation and enjoyment you may find from revisiting it.

The post starts with a ‘First Reading’, then explores selected aspects. It does not aim to provide a complete analysis, but instead just to give a flavour. Its focus is on the concept of shape. It then finishes with a ‘Second Reading’ so you can (hopefully) enjoy the poem again, mull over the techniques discussed, think about others that were not, and see what if any feelings the poem invokes for you.

First Reading

Milky cirrus slowly spoil the blue.
Beneath, a gentle, chill, foggy air,
Caressing breezes brush our concrete honeycomb.
Behind portrait windows, we forget our nature there.

Dazzling white, dull grey, and darker down,
Clouds falling weight toward the buzzing ground,
Branches lift upon the hills where horses stare.
Rectangles light our faces, a landscape without sound.

Light drops, sky darkens, soft, electric light,
An angry horn, a walker jumps and frowns,
Hardly reaching our muffled conscious, within our block,
A thousand workers, in a thousand buildings, in a thousand grotty towns.

With one dusty cider, beneath a distant tree,
A tired bike leaning in its mellow shade.
Soaking in a balmy air,
One man remembers, there,
As shadows fade.

Beneath the globe, a tropic night, a heavy ocean,
Where dark fish glide through swirling tides and shimmer
Briefly, slipping to the deep
Below, beyond the faint stars’ wavering glimmer,
Where mountains of water shift in cold and silent motion.

Morning. Light.
Shells. Crabs. Sand.
Warmth. Colours. Splendour. Blues.
Pacific waves, dark walls, white splashing hues.
Unseen? To come? Gone? Empty, empty land.

Towering clouds stretch to the stratosphere,
Where splashing rain has washed away the grey.
Drinking sunshine, touching wind, with watery eyes,
People laugh and shout, and are swept with the leaves in disarray.

Buildings proud, and clean, and strong, and tall,
Turning eyes see all, and all anew,
Fresh trees waving, waters dancing, voices sparkling,
A rainbow in a raindrop, iridescence in the dew.

Three hundred swimmers lined up on the sand,
The signal goes, we charge into the sea,
Thrumming voices, icy, scintillating high.
And as I drift upon my back, I gaze into the sky.
I know, when grey skies come, I’ll know it’s fine, no longer wondering why.

Shape

Metrical Shape

The poem has nine stanzas, and these really divide into three sections of three stanzas each.A structure is provided by the count of accented syllables in each line, which is as follows:

5566 5566 5567 65432 65456 23456 5567 5566 55679

The following is a graphical representation of this metrical shape:

The first two stanzas define a pattern of 5566 which is really an underlying pattern that the first and last three stanzas either conform to or deviate from.

The third stanza deviates by having one additional accented syllable in the last line. One effect of this is to help suggest a division before the next set of three stanzas.

The seventh stanza should have conformed, as the eighth does, to reintroduce the set pattern. However, the additional syllable in the last line emphasizes the ‘disarray’ it describes.

The last stanza initially has a the same metrical shape (in terms of accented syllables) as the third, defining the end of that set of three, but then adds an extra longer line to bring the poem to its reflective conclusion.

The middle three stanzas are all five lines long. The central stanza has a palindromic shape, as does the set of these three stanzas together.

End Rhyme Shape

The rhyming scheme is as follows:

ABCB ABCB ABCB ABCCB ABCBA ABCCB ABCB ABCB ABCCC

Again, this can be represented graphically:

This is a simple and pleasant rhyme scheme that flows through the poem. The ABCCB of the fourth and sixth stanzas is mainly just an extension of the rhyme scheme used in most stanzas, to cope with the extra line. However, a variation such as ABCDC or ABCDB could have been used, whereas this choice also adds an additional rhyme and more harmony.

The only real variations are that the poem ends with a CCC rhyme, and the central stanza has a palindromic rhyme shape (as well as a palindromic metrical shape).The following is a graphical representation of both rhyme (the lower line) and the metrical shape of accented syllables:

Narrative Shape of Imagery

The poem starts describing ‘Milky cirrus’ which can gradually transform a sky and may portend an approaching warm front. The clouds lower and light falls as the front approaches during the first three stanzas, which are set in the familiar surroundings that form the ‘Bubble’ in which we normally live and work. The light is falling both from the lowering darkening clouds but also as the day draws to a close, hence illumination from ‘soft electric light’.

The central section transports the observer far away in the world, first to the scene beneath a ‘distant tree’, then further to the Southern Hemisphere (‘Beneath the globe’), at sea, at night and indeed deep beneath the ocean. I appreciate that the particular concept of the Southern Hemisphere being further works more naturally for Northern Hemisphere residents! However, if you are resident, or like me have enjoyed spending time and living in the Southern Hemisphere in the past, you might still connect to the sense I sometimes had of feeling at the same time at home but also in a place more distant and remote than the typically more populated land masses of the Northern Hemisphere.

The imagery of transitioning to evening then night continues, and generally of increasing darkness which is greatest at night and in the ocean depths in the centre of the poem. The sixth stanza introduces morning and a return to light, in a beautiful location but with no one there, and in some ways may be one of the more mysterious stanzas, which is how I shall leave it.

The seventh stanza returns to familiar surroundings, but a cold front has now passed through (while we were away on an imaginary journey), and that same familiar world is now seen from a very different perspective; a fresh, invigorating and collective appreciation of, well, our ‘Bubble’, in contrast to the distant places we may dream of, may one day visit, or may have seen long in the past.

Through this narrative journey, the poem both explores the sense of possibilities of the rest of the world when we are spending our time in one place, but also the possibilities from looking at our home turf in a new light; in short, by shifting our perspectives rather than necessarily our location. There are of course parallels that could be explored; from being someone else or like someone else to new appreciation of self, or from the possibilities of the future or lost times of the past to appreciation of, and not always looking passed, the present.

The final stanza ends very reflectively with a great sense of peace and acceptance, as well as being simultaneously alone in one’s mind but still feeling very much a part of a community. There is a happiness in just being part of that community, not fighting to belong or stay in it, but just being there and being accepted.

Second Reading

Milky cirrus slowly spoil the blue.
Beneath, a gentle, chill, foggy air,
Caressing breezes brush our concrete honeycomb.
Behind portrait windows, we forget our nature there.

Dazzling white, dull grey, and darker down,
Clouds falling weight toward the buzzing ground,
Branches lift upon the hills where horses stare.
Rectangles light our faces, a landscape without sound.

Light drops, sky darkens, soft, electric light,
An angry horn, a walker jumps and frowns,
Hardly reaching our muffled conscious, within our block,
A thousand workers, in a thousand buildings, in a thousand grotty towns.

With one dusty cider, beneath a distant tree,
A tired bike leaning in its mellow shade.
Soaking in a balmy air,
One man remembers, there,
As shadows fade.

Beneath the globe, a tropic night, a heavy ocean,
Where dark fish glide through swirling tides and shimmer
Briefly, slipping to the deep
Below, beyond the faint stars’ wavering glimmer,
Where mountains of water shift in cold and silent motion.

Morning. Light.
Shells. Crabs. Sand.
Warmth. Colours. Splendour. Blues.
Pacific waves, dark walls, white splashing hues.
Unseen? To come? Gone? Empty, empty land.

Towering clouds stretch to the stratosphere,
Where splashing rain has washed away the grey.
Drinking sunshine, touching wind, with watery eyes,
People laugh and shout, and are swept with the leaves in disarray.

Buildings proud, and clean, and strong, and tall,
Turning eyes see all, and all anew,
Fresh trees waving, waters dancing, voices sparkling,
A rainbow in a raindrop, iridescence in the dew.

Three hundred swimmers lined up on the sand,
The signal goes, we charge into the sea,
Thrumming voices, icy, scintillating high.
And as I drift upon my back, I gaze into the sky.
I know, when grey skies come, I’ll know it’s fine, no longer wondering why.

Final Note

I hope you enjoyed this post?

I enjoy writing and sharing each poem, and that is an objective and destination in itself, but also appreciate any feedback you are happy to provide.

I currently have three ideas circulating as potential next poems, so I’ll be exploring those and hope to have one ready to publish later this month. 🙂

img_4603

Bubble, World

Milky cirrus slowly spoil the blue.

Beneath, a gentle, chill, foggy air,

caressing breezes brush our concrete honeycomb.

Behind portrait windows, we forget our nature there.

~

Dazzling white, dull grey, and darker down,

clouds falling weight toward the buzzing ground,

branches lift upon the hills where horses stare.

Rectangles light our faces, a landscape without sound.

~

Light drops, sky darkens, soft, electric light,

an angry horn, a walker jumps and frowns,

hardly reaching our muffled conscious, within our block,

a thousand workers, in a thousand buildings, in a thousand grotty towns.

~

With one dusty cider, beneath a distant tree,

a tired bike leaning in its mellow shade.

Soaking in a balmy air,

one man remembers, there,

as shadows fade.

~

Beneath the globe, a tropic night, a heavy ocean,

where dark fish glide through swirling tides and shimmer

briefly, slipping to the deep

below, beyond the faint stars’ wavering glimmer,

where mountains of water shift in cold and silent motion.

~

Morning. Light.

Shells. Crabs. Sand.

Warmth. Colours. Splendour. Blues.

Pacific waves, dark walls, white splashing hues.

Unseen? To come? Gone? Empty, empty land.

~

Towering clouds stretch to the stratosphere,

where splashing rain has washed away the grey.

Drinking sunshine, touching wind, with watery eyes,

people laugh and shout, and are swept with the leaves in disarray.

~

Buildings proud, and clean, and strong, and tall,

turning eyes see all, and all anew,

fresh trees waving, waters dancing, voices sparkling,

a rainbow in a raindrop, iridescence in the dew.

~

Three hundred swimmers lined up on the sand,

the signal goes, we charge into the sea,

thrumming voices, icy, scintillating high.

And as I drift upon my back, I gaze into the sky.

I know, when grey skies come, I’ll know it’s fine, no longer wondering why.

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