As clear blue symbols dance before my eyes,
And I lie still, my head upon the ground,
Each part of me, in dappled sunshine crowned,
Wants formal shape in selfish compromise,
And hides itself in Nature’s rich disguise –
I watch my youthful fragments form a mound
Of former selves, which gather all around:
Each finds its home around me, breathes, and flies.

Between two trees which frame infinity,
The cloudy dome of heaven seems to share
Twin languages of romance and of prayer;
It sings its hymns to one divinity,
Who whispers through the pious earth and air,
And holds me in its timeless unity.



Exhausted by the strains of human words,
I hope to find, in time I spend alone,
A place of mystic streams and sleeping birds:
A world between the ancients’ and my own.
I watch the autumn’s rippling waters gleam
As willows whisper soft, eternal thanks,
And think I catch a glance, in verdant dream,
Of what might lie beyond earth’s floating banks.

Washed clean by sweetened sleep and drifting leaves,
Which bid me warm farewells as here I lie,
I watch an ancient pattern, as it weaves
Its path through childhood longings in the sky –
It gives me glimpses of a gentle truth
Which might be found in rediscovered youth.



When I seek beauty in the distant skies,
To flee the smog which clings around my head,
All I can see are tempests burning red
Through swarming clouds of dust which sting my eyes;
I long to hide away from plaintive cries
Of beasts which throng the barren river bed
And lick dry soil between the rotting dead

One day our sickly Mother Nature woke
And could not shake off Man’s polluted cloak
Weaved thick by flight paths through acidic smoke:
Her putrid lungs now give their final croak
While water nymphs on floating plastic choke –

But if we act before our planet dies,
We still might find some beauty in the skies.


Aidan Chivers is a 3rd year undergraduate in Classics & French at Oxford, currently on his year abroad out in France.


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4 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    I agree with Lenore; lovely, spiritual and thought-provoking.

    If there is a Creative Force behind all that we see, will It stand helplessly by while we go about destroying it?
    I think not.
    We had nothing at to do with all that we see and yet we believe that we can bring it all to an end, without really even trying to.
    Seems to me like we suffer from a kind of reverse omnipotence.

  2. Allen

    Just lovely and its disturbing end, gathers little hope to it.
    Always hope. I believe some discussion about what came out of Pandora’s box.
    I go for the hope!

    • James A. Tweedie

      Your three sonnets are unified in theme while being creatively diverse in form. They are well-crafted and speak of important matters in images that are (quite literally) down-to-earth (lying on one’s back in contemplation of the clouds and sky framed by nearby trees). Lovely.

      Your words also evoke a memory of myself as a college undergraduate writing poetry in which I recalled my own childhood innocence and the “gentle truth which might be found in rediscovered youth.” Today, I consider my youthful years to have been the ones I spent in college!

      Aiden, you are off to a great start. May you never cease to be a youth and may you always find enchantment, beauty, and inspiration in the earth, the air, and in “the one divinity” who both “whispers” and “holds” you.


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