.

Spring Shower

How beautiful the rain–
The cool and cleansing rain!
I watch as tiny rivulets
Run down my window pane
And countless glad and golden drops
Renew the earth again.

How tender is the rain!
With what maternal grace
It nourishes the passive earth
And wipes its soiled face,
As any mother feeds and cleans
The child in her embrace.

How sweet the sound of rain,
Cascading all around!
It gurgles in the gutters,
And it splashes on the ground
And patters gently on the roof–
Oh, what a pleasant sound!

How rapidly the rain
Drains off in spinning streams
And gathers into darkened pools
That catch elusive beams.
Each time the bashful sun appears,
The shattered mirror gleams!

.

.

Winter Landscape

How softly fall the flakes of snow
To earth without a sound!
Like dust from angels’ wings, they glow
While gliding to the ground.
From heaven above they freely flow,
Cascading all around,
To settle on the hills below,
With winter’s whiteness crowned.

They float across the frozen lake
Upon a frigid breeze
And rest like icing on a cake
On all the leafless trees.
They gather thickly in the brake
And bury to their knees
The hungry deer, who meekly quake
In silence as they freeze.

Throughout the day, the drifting piles
Turn all the landscape white;
The whiteness stretches miles and miles,
With nothing green in sight.
As people turn with peaceful smiles
To snuff the candlelight,
Outside their cozy domiciles,
The snow falls through the night.

At daylight, people open wide
Their shutters and they see
A dazzling winter countryside
That stretches endlessly;
Its seamless beauty draws outside
The children, who run free
And play throughout the morningtide
Until it’s time for tea.

Through glass, they watch the sunlight gleam
Upon the hoary hay
And drink their cocoa, while they dream
Of games they want to play;
But beauty’s briefer than it seems,
And soon this perfect day
Must disappear in flowing streams
As snowflakes melt away.

.

.

Martin Rizley grew up in Oklahoma and in Texas, and has served in pastoral ministry both in the United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as the pastor of a small evangelical church in the city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Martin has enjoyed writing and reading poetry as a hobby since his early youth.


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19 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    It is good to see the juxtaposition of a spring poem with a winter one. I really like the repetitive use of a rain line to begin each verse. How like the rain to keep pounding down. Both poems have well-chosen and well-crafted words to bring them to life. I enjoyed your nature poems.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      I hadn´t thought about how the repetitive use of the word “rain” underscores the theme of the poem– thanks for pointing that out, and for your other words of appreciation.

      Reply
  2. Norma Pain

    Very beautiful poetry Martin. I loved: “It nourishes the passive earth
    And wipes its soiled face”. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      I am glad you found the tone of the poems “gentle and calming”– I think that is what I find so delightful about a spring shower and a winter snowfall.

      Reply
      • Martin Rizley

        Norma, The foregoing comment was in response to Mary Gardner! Somehow I clicked on the wrong “reply” button. Anyway, thank you for expressing your enjoyment of the poems!

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    “Winter Landscape” is in fourteeners — the same meter as Robert Southwell’s “The Burning Babe.” The basic rhythm is:

    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM
    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM

    with an ABAB rhyme scheme for each quatrain.

    “Spring Shower” has a similar flow, but with reversals:

    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM
    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM
    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM
    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM

    This is like the fourteener, but with only thirteen feet. The poet adds another two lines at the end of each strophe with this beat (the same as in the fourteeners of “Winter Landscape’) —

    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM
    da DUM, da DUM, da DUM.

    These are very old rhythms in English, much used in folk poetry.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      All my life, I have been a fan of folk songs, and have quite a fairly large number of recordings of British and American folk songs in my CD collection, so that has probably inclined me to use the rhythms of folk music in my poems. Thanks for your feedback.

      Reply
  4. Sally Cook

    Martin, in many ways Your poems remind me of the dignified simplicity of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems for children. So good to see the calm, ordered approach has lost none of its ageless appeal. I especially enjoyed the rain poem.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      Thank you, Sally, for your feedback. When I was a child, my mother read to me on many occasions out of Stevenson´s “A Child´s Garden of Verses.” The simplicity of the language and imaginative outlook really impacted me and filled me with a sense of the wonder in everyday things around me. Later in life, I became very familiar with the setting of Stevenson´s “Songs of Travel” by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williamson, I was likewise deeply moved by the poignancy and simplicity of these poems– especially, “Whither Must I Wander?” (check out this beautiful performance of that song by Anthony Reed, with subtitles: https://youtu.be/zCMU0ltq5KE )
      So Stevenson´s poetry has definitely accompanied me during my life, and I´m sure I´ve assimilated his influence.

      Reply
  5. Paul Freeman

    As someone living in a desert, I much appreciated ‘Spring Shower’, Martin.

    Ditto ‘Winter Landscape’. Some excellent, memorable lines. Many poems of this length are let down by the ending, but the second half of the last stanza was both stunning and poignant, I thought.

    One little thing. How about ‘Heaven’s gate’ instead of ‘Heaven above’.

    Thanks for the reads.

    Reply
    • Martin Rizley

      Thank you, Paul. I love your suggestion. “Heaven´s gate” is very visual and goes well with the description of snow as being like “dust from angel´s wings.”

      Reply

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