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Ode to Spring

Oh glory be to things that grow!
That burgeon, blossom, bud and blow
In Springtime’s light and airy breeze,
Which ruffles softly new sprung leaves.

What tongue there be to justly praise
The wonders wrought by Vernal days?
These beauties bright which turn, indeed,
Each frozen heart to flaming glede.

O Daffodil! O Daffodil!
That covers well each downy hill—
E’en Solomon was not arrayed
In splendour such as you displayed.

Ah! Lovely Tulip, what to you
Is all the wealth of Timbuktu?
What, then, the gain of dye from Tyre—
When Gladdons blaze with purple fire?

Thou Cowslip and thou Daisy fair—
Thou Foxglove, Rose, and Lily rare—
Much more is your surpassing worth
Than all the gems throughout the earth!

Consider well what ecstasy
Lies cloistered in each Peony—
That dormant wait until the hour
Their chains are loosed, then start to flow’r.

Oh Spring, indeed, thou teachest well
That man, though wise, knoweth not the spell
Which makes all things by beauty bound—
____That Mystery which none hath found.

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Memory

Why do the gulls haunt me so—
Who hath ne’er been to sea?
Their plaintive cries tell a tale
Suffuse with agony.

I cannot say what moves me so
Except I share their grief
For things long gone and out of reach
And lands beyond belief.

But what ship now can take me there
Unto those hither shores
Where walk unstained the memories
Of Mighty Men of yore

Where Pergama stands, fair and strong,
And Priam’s mighty son
Defends her from the ravages
Of Achilles’ Myrmidons.

Oh! is there hope—Canst I return
To Virgil’s vaunted Rome?
Whence rise the walls of Latium
That Caesars call their home

Where now the bark to bear me back
Unto Albion isles?
Where Arthur and his doughty knights
Pursue the Grail for miles

Alas! Alas! There is no hope
To reach that blesséd shore
Nor stop the course of Time’s swift flow
That sunders evermore

So I must wait here—with the gulls—
Heeding their stricken cries,
And try to capture—if I may—
The echoings of Time.

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Andrew Elliott is a resident of Franklin, TN


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2 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    I, too, can’t wait for spring to return, but there are a few things in your first poem I would like to address.

    In stanza 1, line 2, you list a sequence of events pertaining to flowering plants, but since burgeon primarily means to set buds, your sequence is repetitious and out of order.

    In stanza 2, line 1, the phrase “there be” is not English. You might simply write: What tongue is there …. Alternatively, if you want to maintain the subjunctive mood, you might write “What tongue be there …”

    At the end of the second stanza you use the word “glede.” According to my lexical sources, this means a predatory bird, which makes no sense. I think you meant “gleed,” which is a regional British word that denotes a glowing ember.

    In stanza 6 you wrote “flow’r,” which is totally unnecessary and ugly on the page, which you would already know if you had been following the recent comments on this site.

    The last stanza is a disaster of archaic English verb forms. In the second line, “knows” rather than “knoweth” would actually have preserved the meter which your version ruineth. Don’t go there. It’s not helpful, and if not done accurately, it’s not even quaint. Keep things simple. Write in the language to which you are accustomed.

    Reply

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