The New Year

The fields stretch out, bare, icy:
__Wide, blank, yet-unetched slates,
Tabulae rasae, waiting
__The chisel of the Fates,

But deep beneath their starkness
__A mighty force has stirred,
The germ of the becoming,
__Unknown, unseen, unheard.

Its course is set in motion
__That none may stop or stall:
The seeds sown and forgotten
__Must sprout, bloom, fruit, and fall.

What shoots will break the furrows,
__Coaxed by the waxing sun?
What harvest will they proffer:
__When the sun’s course has run?

For now they hold their secret;
__They tease the guessing eyes,
Which only gaze in wonder
__And fear at what shall rise.

 

 

Midmorning Moon

Translucent, pallid, gibbous ghost
__Suspended low to west,
Your splendor faded, washed away,
Drowned in beams of dawning day,
__Whose light you cannot best.

Alas! So lately you could boast
__A brilliance that outshone
The diamantine stars arrayed
Thronging through abyssal shade,
__Ruling night’s realm alone.

Now overthrown, you wander, lost
__In empty turquoise breadth
Among the rose-tinged clouds of morn,
Dwindling as the day is born,
__Wasted to weird half-death.

And yet you course the sky; almost
__A specter, yet you live.
Just as to wax you first must wane,
When the sun falls from its reign
__Your brilliance shall revive.

 

 

The Winter Stars

Sparkling on high, unreachable,
Strewn far across the endless void,
Cold, dark, lifeless heavens devoid
Of human scale and human feel;

Casting a sterile, bone-white light
That deepens the already biting chill
Of frozen windblasts, reaching in to kill
The very peace of soul with fright.

What solace can I find in you,
Your faintness, distance, or your glare—
Aloof, disdainful, icy stare
That pierces deep and freezes through?

O soulless, unforgiving stars,
Eternally unmoved and unperturbed!
I rail in vain, for never have you heard
A prayer, appeal, or even curse of ours.

 

 

Waves

Turquoise waves on shell-white sand
Rush forth—crashing, crashing, crashing—
Dying gladly as they land,
Surging, breaking, foaming, splashing.

Lines advancing, rank on rank—
Never ceasing or deceasing—
On the anchored rock’s long flank,
Neither tiring nor decreasing.

Soft, serene their rhythm sounds—
Slowly lulling, lulling, lulling—
Steady, steady, till it drowns
Every sound but inward mulling,

Awe at eons glimpsed as one,
Wave on wave on wave forever.
Can the world they overrun
Curb them? Never, never, never!

Previously published in The Chained Muse

 

 

Knell

Through the peace of balmy spring,
__Bird-songs’ trills and breeze-tossed leaves,
An alien sound, a distant ring
__Dares to break the mirth to grieve:
____A distant, solitary bell
____Tolling out a funeral knell.

Softly, softly first it sounds,
__Tolling gravely, tolling sadly.
Tolling, tolling, it resounds,
__Grows, repeating—dourly, madly.
____Ringing, ringing, without end,
____Like the realm its calls portend.

Swelling louder, louder still,
__Drowning spring’s sweet nothings out.
Pealing, pealing, stubborn, shrill,
__Echoing forth, back, throughout.
____Silence! Silence! Ruthless bell,
____Silence the grim truth you tell.

But my plea is cruelly spurned;
__Now it takes its cruelest tone—
Laughing, laughing—mourning turned
__Into mirth, its mirth alone.
____Mocking, mocking bitterly,
____Knowing I know what must be.

Previously published in The Chained Muse

 

 

Adam Sedia (b. 1984) lives in his native Northwest Indiana, with his wife, Ivana, and their children, and practices law as a civil and appellate litigator. In addition to the Society’s publications, his poems and prose works have appeared in The Chained Muse Review, Indiana Voice Journal, and other literary journals. He is also a composer, and his musical works may be heard on his YouTube channel.


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12 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    All are fine poems, but in my view “Midmorning Moon” is the best. I’d like to suggest one small fix. In the last stanza, the second line could be rewritten this way:

    A specter, yet alive.

    This gives you a perfect rhyme with “revive” in the stanza’s last line, in accord with the rest of the poem. And in addition, it does not vary either the meter or the meaning.

    Reply
  2. James A. Tweedie

    Adam, I particularly enjoyed your use of word repetition in these poems. I found it to be not just creative, but also very effective. The delightful variety displayed in these poems moved me to write the following:

    Oh, may such varied rhyme and meter lead us
    Into new, creative forms
    Of poetry that will inspire and feed us,
    Challenging old stagnant norms

    For formal poetry is more than sonnets,
    Or iambic’s rhythmic beat.
    Let them go, for when they’re gone, its
    Time to dance with different feet!

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      I admire your sentiments, James, but your logic smacks of false syllogisms. “Stagnant norms” as you have it, is a smack to the face of tradition, and I don’t believe that you believe that apostasy is a good thing in itself. Yes, we’re all in favor of creativity, but perverse liberality is no virtue. Watch your feet!

      Reply
      • James A. Tweedie

        Yes, C.B., “stagnant.” As in “static” and “unmoving.” I have been challenged on this site for not having written a poem in iambic pentameter. (In fact there have been times when well-meaning people have sought to “improve” my poetry by actually rewriting them in a rhythmic form they considered to be more correct). There have been sentiments expressing preference for ABAB rhyme patterns over ABBA. Personal preferences are fine but when they begin to generate and encourage a general conformity to certain poetic forms then then the creative bounds of what constitutes “Classical Poetry” are in danger of being narrowed to the point of stagnation.

        The poetic forms offered in Adams’ post are (for this site, at least) a refreshing change from the “norm.” Water, even formal, classical water, becomes stagnant unless it is stirred up from time to time.

        As anyone can see by visiting my own SCP posts, I have nothing against sonnets (in fact my latest published poetry collection is titled, “Mostly Sonnets”). But, as Adam demonstrates, the poetic forms available to us in Classical Poetry are limited only by our imaginations.

        So let us not abandon the sonnet or eschew iambic pentameter, but let us not forget that, as any cook knows, the stew is best when it is stirred every so often.

        Thank you, Adam, for stirring us up and adding a few new flavors to our SCP stew.

      • Monty

        Hear hear, James: variety is the spice of life. Let’s see poetry in all shapes and sizes.
        The sonnet is far too trendy on these pages, and far too overused. It’s as though some seem to think that writing in sonnet form somehow authenticates their poem.
        One should fit a suitable form around what they wanna say; not fit what they wanna say into a certain form.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    All of these are tending, tending, tending
    To resolve into good poems, but remain,
    With promising starts, without a good ending.

    If Peter Bridges would not change a word, then I suppose he has burned many
    behind him.

    Reply
    • Peter Bridges

      I’ve changed many of my own words, lines, thoughts, sentiments, themes, but I didn’t think Adam Sedia needed to make any change in this poem.

      Reply
  4. Adam Sedia

    Well, I seem to have unintentionally stirred some controversy. I have a knack for that.

    Thank you, Prof. Salemi for the helpful suggestion. It reads better with the change, I think.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      There’s that word “stirred,” again! lol No controversy as far as I’m concerned. Can’t wait to see what you’ll give us next! Keep stirring!

      Reply
  5. Nathaniel McKee

    Enjoyed “the New Year,” its tabulae rosae give us a a fresh start and a chance to reflect.

    Reply

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