The sun sinks deep into the hill
Behind the town that perches still.
An amber fog prowls through the street
Of cobbled stone and stonewashed chill.

Dark navy night skies come compete
With primrose twilight in retreat.
The fog’s her shroud, her wedding veil,
For wedding nightfall in defeat.

In darkness heaves a biting gale
With crackled verdure in its trail.
The wind exhales its acrid sigh
Of sodden pavement and cut shale.

A single couple hastens by.
The sound of coats is rough and dry.
Low breaths leave swirled twin orbs of gray
Before they fast dissolve and die.

The ashen shadows lengthen, fray,
And fade as they go on their way.
Just barely rings their lonely stride
Until their footfall falls away.

Then stillness fills the cracks outside.
Taut calm seeks corners to reside.
Immobile movement charges night
With static, silence amplified.

The world is swathed in black and white
And amber giving moonless light.
Cocooned in night, the town sleeps till
It resurrects when day alights.



Erin Jeon is a tenth grade student at University High School in Irvine, California.

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7 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson


    Your mastery of mood is superb, but in certain lines I am left wondering about the substance:

    “For wedding nightfall in defeat.”

    “Taut calm seeks corners to reside.”
    (“reside” is an intransitive verb; “taut calm” cannot “reside” corners or anything else. The proper expression would be, “Taut calm seeks corners in which to reside,” or something like that.

    Be heartened. There is nothing you have done here that many mature adults have not also done on these pages. Just pay attention to the proper forms of grammar, syntax and diction, and let your verse enjoy a full range of expression within these normative rules of good writing.

  2. Angel L Villanueva

    I like the form you employed in your poem. It has become a favorite of mine, though I have yet to try it with interlocking rhymes as you have so nicely done. Good work!

  3. Sally Cook

    Wonderful start for one so young !
    May I suggest you begin to .examine the philosophical foundations of your feelings, such as the ideas of Socrates? You are certainly mature enough to begin such an investigation. Please let us see more.

  4. Dusty Grein


    The Rubaiyat is a great form to work in. The fact that you not only chained your verses, but closed the loop and created a crown, is awesome. You deserve to be proud of this one, and I think that if you polish it a little, you will be even happier with it.

    My recommendation would be that you avoid using the “hammer” approach and forcing the words to fit the metric flow; instead concentrate on adjusting your diction and word choices to keep the imagery solid, but smoothly fit into the iambic tetrameter you have chosen to work in.

    This step, of reworking your lines to better fit the metric flow, is an essential follow-up step to creating your best work. I personally find that reciting my own work aloud in a a non-poetic, or conversational tone, is a great way to find those places where the meter skips or jumps.

    As C.B. Anderson states above, some of the lines feel a little forced. Keep in mind that poetic license is yours to play with, but if you make your readers stop and re-read (the dreaded double-tap) your non-refrained lines, you break the image flow and return them to words on paper (or screen). You can use words as you see fit, but if your use is too far beyond the standard, you will lose the magic flow that you find when the flow is smooth and continuous.

    As an example, your line “Taut calm seeks corners to reside.” could be something as simple as “Calm seeks dark spots in which to hide,” or you could switch the diction a bit and use something like “In corners dark, taut calm resides.”

    In the end, your choices can be adjusted to fit your own style, and you have laid a solid groundwork for a wonderful piece of word art.

    Overall, you have done a great job! Keep writing… I’d love to read more of your work.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Yes, Dusty, rubaiyat they are, but also notice that each unrhymed (third) line begins the rhyme scheme of the next quatrain. Our young author’s scheme is a bit more complicated than we first thought.

      • Dusty Grein

        As I stated in my opening remarks, this chained approach to verse rhymes–and completing the crown by rhyming the 3rd line in the final verse back to the first–is part of what made this such a great framework poem, and it is one that Erin should be proud of. – D.

  5. David Gosselin

    Dear Erin,

    As others have mentioned, your use of mood is very effective.

    I’d suggest two articles on poetic composition which I think you’ll find quite useful:’-GREAT-ODES-AND-THE-SUBLIME

    I think these two pieces help situate questions that every serious poet living in the 21st century should be mindful of.

    I’d also invite you to send any pieces you’d like to The Chained Muse, either for publication or review.


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