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Norway Maples, Spring


A. Baez
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These boughs, new-flushed in April air,

Never looked more fresh or fair,

Proclaiming hopes unhinged from harm

A triumph etched in every arm.

Yet last July still sears my mind:

For weeks, a drought and heat combined,

Singeing leaves on every limb;

Insulting summer’s gentle stems!

Their pretty purples browned and fell,

Littering the ground pell-mell

And nothing I, a friend, might do

Could help these maples muddle through.

 

To April’s eyes, such thoughts much seem

The efflux of a bitter dream

Except that dried stems, here and there,

Rise now by lush ones—wholly bare.

 

 

 

Revision: L10 was "Scorched as if by breaths of hell"

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11 hours ago, A. Baez said:

 

 

These boughs, new-flushed in April air,

Never looked more fresh or fair,

Proclaiming hopes unhinged from harm

A triumph etched in every arm.

Yet last July still sears my mind:

For weeks, a drought and heat combined,

Singeing leaves on every limb;

Insulting summer’s gentle stems!

Their pretty purples browned and fell,

Scorched as if by breaths of hell

And nothing I, a friend, might do

Could help these maples muddle through.

 

To April’s eyes, such thoughts much seem

The efflux of a bitter dream

Except that dried stems, here and there,

Rise now by lush ones—wholly bare.

 

 

 

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A. Baez:

It's great to hear or read a poem of such thoughtfulness as this one portrays. Mother Nature has much to be appreciated, and yet so many of us seem to let her pass by unheeded. You did well explaining your personal thoughts with this poem.

R. G. Jerore

A trade of poems if you will...

NO ONE WAS THERE TO HEAR

During hundreds of years 
The tree grew to a mighty size.
As it aged, it would sigh softly 
Teasing breezes as they
Passed through its boughs 

No one was there to hear. 

Winters and Summers 
Took a toll on its strength. 
Gradually, it relented 
To a storm of storms 
Pressing it to its limits 

No one was there to hear 

Deep within its base 
Something drastic occurred. 
Damage was far too great ;
It could no longer recover; 
It died on the forest floor 

No one was there to hear 

Robert G. Jerore
 

 

Edited by bob
Spelling correction of Bows to boughs. Suggestion to correct offered by A. Baez... Thank you. R.G.J.
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Oh, Bob, I'm so happy you have showed up! Just a couple weeks ago, I was looking in the Promotions section and came across your poem "Snow Storm" and its accompanying musical recording. I was deeply moved and I wanted to comment, but comments are disabled in that forum to preserve the time continuity of posts. Anyway, that poem has a really authentic folk feel and gave me such pangs for the lot of truckers in general--I have often pondered their difficult lives when I see a truck passing by on the highway--and, too, throughout my own life, I have often found myself in different underdog situations that are largely invisible to society.

What a lovely response you have given me here--a trade! In fact, it's a sort of flip side to mine--you speak of the ravages of winter on a tree, and I speak of the ravages of summer on some of our stalwart friends. Your poem certainly has a similar (though more drastic!) spirit to mine, and also, interestingly, quite a similar tenor and theme to your snowstorm poem. In both your poems, snow is the villain, the hero is an unacknowledged victim, and I am left with a sense of forsakenness and tragedy. The refrain "No one was there to hear" is poignant! 

(Just a small note--"bows" should be spelled "boughs," and it looks like you have an "it" in front of this word where you meant "its.")

Thank you for your sensitive and appreciative response. It is good to meet you and I hope I'll be seeing more of you soon.

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I like your choice of meter, the two-stanza composition, and how the speaker refers to herself as "a friend." Are Norway maples, native to Eurasia, common on the eastern seaboard?

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Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Thank you, Tony! Between its meter and its sentimental tones, I feel like this borders tenuously on a nursery rhyme in quality, but I'm hoping it is redeemed at least by its second stanza. One occasionally sees Norway maples planted ornamentally around here; the distinctive attraction of the cultivar described in this poem is its dark purplish leaves. The planting that inspired this was in the parking lot at the Navy Federal Credit Union Headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, which used to be one of many places I worked as an interior plant technician. I largely had control of all the hundreds of plants inside the building, so it especially pained me to be helpless when it came to the campus' outdoor specimens. 

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21 hours ago, A. Baez said:

Between its meter and its sentimental tones, I feel like this borders tenuously on a nursery rhyme in quality, but I'm hoping it is redeemed at least by its second stanza.

Nah, it's not a nursery rhyme. It's by no means worse than Blake's "The Tyger"; it's at least as good (or at least as bad) just like tonyv's "The Coast" is not worse than Frost's "The Pasture," rather it's as least as good (or at least as bad). 😏

 

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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All right, I can take that; "The Tyger" was one of the first poems presented to my elective student poetry group by our wonderful volunteer teacher, probably in third grade. It was held up as a role model poem, and we all seemed to concur!

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I wonder how Blake would have reacted if he'd heard someone refer to that poem as "world class"! Lol

That sure is some funky punctuation in the original--makes my original "Feather"'s look downright conventional!

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I like a tree poem, the title would grab my attention, and I enjoyed your tree poem AB. There's a light breeze in the poem - air/fair/there/bare and softening m's in some of the word choices. I particularly liked the helping hand of

Quote

And nothing I, a friend, might do

Could help these maples muddle through.

Of course, across this gentleness cuts lingering realities...

Quote

The efflux of a bitter dream—

Like the use of efflux, the science, a word unknown to me - the sonics of the harsh f's enforcing the 'bitterness'.

Quote

Scorched as if by breaths of hell—

That line took me out of the nature poem and felt hackneyed.

A tree poem to share...

best

Phil

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@badger11 Phil, thank you for your interesting comments. I don't think I'd consciously noticed before that I ended with the same rhyme that I began with, so I'm grateful you pointed that out. It's not a bad feature for conveying the superficial continuity of the trees' experience over time, behind which lie extremes of ease (poem's beginning) and hardship (poem's end). I also hadn't realized how many "m"'s I'd used till you noted it!

I agree, I'd felt uncomfortable about the "breaths of hell" line as well. I hope that "Littering the ground pell-mell" works better.

Good point about "efflux" here; I'm quite enamored of the word, too.

An interesting poem you posted. I like the concept of a tree's "inside" being inside itself. I wonder what the "oh my God" at the heart is!

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Hi AB,  This is simpler than some of your others, and I enjoyed the easy read.   The rhymed couplets are almost invisible in the flow of the content that seems so natural.  I am not familiar with the tree but I am familiar with the damage of drought and it looks like we are heading into another one, which on the coattail of horrific fires last October is not good.  Referring to the narrator as a friend was touching and took me, the reader, more intimately into empathy with the tree.  As usual your work is a pleasure to read. 

~~Tink

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~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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@badger11 But that would break up the meter!

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Judi, thank you for your comments! Sometimes I enjoy a breather from more complicated poems. I reckon that the spirit of the nursery rhyme lingers within all of us somewhere! I'm always happy when I can make a rhyme (or meter) flow feel natural--sometimes it comes right away and sometimes it requires prolonged pounding! Rhymed couplets seem the easiest to me. I'm struck by how so many commenters so far have resonated especially with the "friend" reference. I do feel a friendship with the nature that surrounds me, and it pains me keenly to see plants suffering from drought, as well as other woes. Wow, you are probably headed into a drought right now? That never happens at this time of year where I live...actually, we had a flood warning just yesterday.

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Phil, I do too! Maybe in another poem!

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