"Aurora Borealis" by Frederic Edwin Church‘Earth Song’ and Other Poetry by Lawrence Fray The Society January 21, 2021 Beauty, Poetry 11 Comments . Earth Song We longed to see Norway’s Northern Lights,That great, magnetic, celestial balletOf colour, one of nature’s majestic sights:‘Not to be missed at any cost’. The clicheWas ironic; we’d scheduled just one dayIn Oslo, and then we would be on our wayNorthwards—but quarantine prevailed.With lockdown extended and restrictions imposed,We had no way out; borders were closedAnd all attempts to board a flight home failed. We watched the stark, silent trees: bare,Black against the strong April sun In the parklands near the shimmering sea, whereGulls gathered and wheeled and soared and spun.The melancholy sycamores stood Asleep until one day they were in bud.The trees were waking in the warmth of Spring!Bright, green leaves appeared, small, curled;Then, like sails on distant yachts unfurled,They opened, and the world heard a skylark sing: How glorious! And the early woodland flowers:Shy snowdrops, crocus, daffodil—And fragrant hyacinths in the bowersUnder the spreading boughs. We felt the thrillOf the Earth stirring, a new beginningAnd Mother Nature’s life-force underpinningIt all. It was wondrous, lyrical.We never saw the polar Aurora shine But witnessed something ineffably divineWhen Springtime came: a magical miracle! . . Chrysalis The performance ends to dutiful applause.A special day: the final time this classWill assemble here. I climb the steps and pause,Allowing staff and honoured guest to pass.I view a sea of young, expectant facesAnd happy families from far-flung places,Justly proud of their children. The whole school’s hereTo watch them graduate and leave the nest,Fulfil parental hopes and be the best:Excel in life and love and chosen career. The house lights dim; I walk towards the rostrum,Script in hand: an anecdote or two,A joke, some trite words of wisdom—a nostrumTo lighten the atmosphere and help them throughThe tearful, fearful rite of school leaving.But spoken words should never be deceivingAnd, truth to tell, I really should confessThat life can be a series of missed chancesOften circumscribed by circumstances.What lies ahead is anybody’s guess. That theme’s too dreary for graduation day.A short, uplifting speech is what’s requiredBefore the presentation of a bouquet,Scroll and testimonial, desiredAccolade for their pupal pupil years,The growing pains, the angst, toil and tears.They’re young enough to think that they’re immortal,That ideals are real and life is always fair,That fame and glory are theirs if they but dareTo venture, and this celebration’s the portal Through which they transmigrate to adulthood,Leaving behind their green and callow ways.Metamorphosis complete, it’s understoodThat few will return to relive their chrysalis days.They pose for photos; one blows a little kiss,Another waves. When older, they’ll reminisceAbout these best days of their lives. As for me,I’ll reflect and make a reckoningOf what I’ve done; retirement’s beckoning;Today is also my valedictory. And after all the rituals are doneAnd mortar boards are tossed into the air,I check the clock and see we’ve overrunOur allotted time. We should repairTo the dining hall for cakes and tea,For small talk and vacuous promises to seeEach other again, and soon. Souvenirs,Final tears, and then it’s time to go;I quietly leave and wonder if they knowWe travel alone with our private fears. . . Lawrence Fray was born in the UK, raised in ireland and has been an educator in several countries before retiring to the Hill Station of Ranikhet in North India. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 11 Responses Dan Blackston January 21, 2021 Great work! Reply Lawrence Fray January 21, 2021 Thank you, Dan, for your encouragement;much appreciated. Reply Jeff Eardley January 21, 2021 Lawrence, we thoroughly enjoyed reading these. My wife is a retired teacher and “Chrysalis” says it’s all for those end of term feelings. (Pupil/pupal is pure genius by the way.) Earth song is a lovely example of organised plans disrupted to produce a travellers tale to savour. Most enjoyable, thank you.. Reply Lawrence Fray January 21, 2021 Good Day Jeff, and many thanks for your mail. It’s heartening to know that one’s efforts are appreciated. Sincere thanks. Reply Gauri Kumar January 21, 2021 How a personal experience in Norway turned into a beautiful poetry. Great work. Reply Lawrence Fray January 22, 2021 Thank you, Gauri. Reply Anil Jain January 22, 2021 Brilliant….Lawrance…I throughly enjoyed it ! Reply Lawrence Fray January 22, 2021 Thank you, Anil: much appreciated. Reply Rita Bajaj January 22, 2021 It’s always a pleasure to read beautiful poems with graceful words. Indeed lovely expressions. With scenic beauty of Ranikhet , we are expecting more emotional creations by our dear Lawrence. Reply Joseph S. Salemi January 22, 2021 I want to point out here that Mr. Fray demonstrates a solid and professional command of meter, and that he makes a very sophisticated use of variant substitutions in his iambic pentameter lines. For example, in “Chrysalis” — 1. (line 3) Will assemble here. I climb the steps and pause… Scansion here is: [x x / x / x / x / x /] This is an anapest followed by four iambs, and the line has eleven syllables. 2. (line 44) Our allotted time. We should repair… Scansion here is: [/ x / x / x / x /] These are four trochees with a truncated close, and the line has nine syllables. The same pattern holds for line 45: (“To the dining hall for cakes and tea”). 3. (line 50) We travel alone, with our private fears… Scansion here is: [x / x x / / x / x /] This is an iamb followed by an anapest and three iambs, with a truncated close. Other readers may scan the lines in different ways, but they have the requisite five stresses, and they flow smoothly. Good work, Mr. Fray. Reply Lawrence Fray January 22, 2021 Your analysis is indeed helpful. I worked on keeping five stresses per line while the tone of the poem is matter-of-fact and almost conversational. 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