Into 2020

Though struggle’s rule fails—
____Sunshine breaks down,
________Winter assails—
Our world wears its crown.

Succession’s implied,
____Endings meet starts,
________Buds eat what’s died,
And, caught in our hearts,

The cosmos renews,
____Sustenance lifts,
________Springtime imbues
Our courtyards with gifts.



Time and Tide

a half-sonnet

Now worn-out Autumn stumbles and decays,
The whites of mistletoe and winter rose
—And maybe snow—will light with chilly sprays
The toppling, surface tips of Earth’s deep flows

Wherein the fabric of direction frays,
And all the ways that we, uncompassed, chose
Unravel forward into brand new days …



Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.

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13 Responses

    • James Sale

      Wonderful music – the UK should be playing this on the 31/1/2020 when we leave the European Union – finally, we have thrown off the shackles of Napoleon, for that is what the EU is – an extension of the Napoleonic vision by non-military means (at least till now). And Damian, I like these poems a lot. The half-sonnet especially; GM Hopkins called such sonnets ‘Curtal Sonnets’ and they are a great innovation on the form.

      • D Robin

        Thanks, James.
        Remember that 31/1/2020 is the shutting of the door. The steps onto garden path and the gate to the street will still have to be negotiated/navigated/walked or, more really, we’ll have to dig the soil, lay the foundations, dress the gravel and build and plant. All things CB Anderson could metaphorically help with. And there may be frost underfoot, hail in the sky, pain in the butt, and fog in the eye!

        And then we may split from Scotland, even Wales and Norther Ireland, and England will be one again!

        I think Hopkin’s curtals were 3/4 sonnets. But yes, what we do has been done before and that’s the beauty of an evolving tradition.

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    I’m happy to see some solid ABAB quatrains again. We have had far too many of the ABBA kind here at the website. The latter are less satisfying, and far more difficult to manage well if you are just beginning.

    • D Robin

      Thanks, Joe. And good reminder about the leading role the site is playing. With all the expert and experienced contributors on the site it’s easy to forget it is also a learning place. Thanks to Evan for his mentoring skills and to the many who have bravely sent in poems to him for the first time.

  2. Monty

    Regarding the first piece, Damian, I’m a bit dozzled by ‘spirit strength’. Is it a term in its own right? If so, shouldn’t it contain a hyphen, as in ‘spirit-strength’? And if it’s not a term, it surely should be separated by the word ‘and’, as in ‘spirit and strength’. Without either of the above, it makes no sense to me. It’s like saying that ‘the man was loyal honest’ (instead of loyal and honest) . . d’you see what I’m saying?

    I’m also struggling to see the meaning in the words: ‘winter assails our world wears it’s crown’ . . . along with the first three lines of the 2nd stanza. I understand them as individual lines, but I can’t link them together to form the diction of a sentence.

    Am I missing something obvious?

    • D Robin

      Thanks Monty for prodding me to review my bits and pieces. You make valid points and CB Anderson below has similar observations.
      I began answering but found I needed more thought.
      I have to go away for a while so I hope you can be patient for me to answer your questions more fully.
      Thanks again,

  3. C.B. Anderson

    The first poem, if it should be understood correctly, needs some punctuation in the first two stanzas. As it stands, there are sentence fragments left hanging.

    In the second poem, I like the idea of a half-sonnet, and I guess it’s just a matter of how one decides to manage the volta and the summation. Dealer’s choice?

    • D Robin

      Hi CB, please see reply to Monty above – I will reply to your observations soon. All the best.

  4. D Robin

    Hi Monty

    I have imposed on Evan to replace the ‘Into 2020’ poem at the top here. The new version takes into account your useful criticism and should be an improvement. This hopefully will give a better experience to casual viewers of the site than you and CBA had.

    I reprint the reprimanded version here
    so the awkward flaws you referenced loud and clear
    do not, into some cleansed-out chamber, disappear
    but can be gawped at in a learning atmosphere

    Let me know how I can improve on this version.

    Thanks for your help, Monty, and CBA,


    Into 2020 (previous version)

    As spirit strength fails,
    Sunshine breaks down,
    Winter assails –
    Our world wears its crown.

    A monarch with pride,
    Endings and starts,
    Buds eat what’s died,
    Growth circles our hearts.

    The cosmos renews,
    Sustenance lifts,
    Springtime imbues
    Our courtyards with gifts.

    • Monty

      You’ll probably think I’m being finicky, Damien, but I genuinely don’t understand “Though struggle’s rule fails, our world wears its crown”. The way I see it, ‘struggle’s rule’ is an alternative way of saying ‘the rule of struggle’ . . but is there such a thing as a rule of struggle? If so, can you explain that ‘rule’ to me? Perhaps then I’ll be able to understand it in the context of the sentence it’s in.

      • D Robin

        Hi Monty, I was trying to say that struggle/conflict is inevitable, in nature, human and other, but can be transcended/circumvented/have little effect.

      • Monty

        But if we’re trying to convey that ‘struggle is inevitable’, Damien, then we talk of the ‘inevitability of struggle’. I can’t see how the word ‘rule’ can represent the word ‘inevitability’.

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