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The Poets

November 17, 2010

Memphis

Memphis

A Childhood Memory of Light and Heat over Snow Prevailing

I walked (eleven-ish or so)
A kid amid blue snow and slush,
When lo! that golden orb aglow
Ascending made the blue-air blush!

A sense of summer lingered there
Where light and heat on snow prevailed,
And in the drainage waters clear
A thousand tiny glaciers sailed.

I walked on water (melted snow),
Seen sunlight shimm'ring at my feet-
A million glinting diamonds glowed
Like Pleiades upon the street.

And high above, beyond my view,
Benevolence was glowing bright-
It bid the winter fair adieu
And clad the world in summer light.

O would that I could there return
And wade those gutter-waters fair,
Tread snow and slush where sunbeams burn
And clear by Love the chilly air.

Until then, ah, and truth be told,
Let cold and winter here descend-
For that young boy, who now is old,
Has in that golden orb a friend.

-jwm



Of the Poem:

Really, I was a young boy just outside playing by myself ... it had just snowed, but the sun came out casting heat everywhere- everything was melting (it was gorgeous). Something that day triggered in me a sort of mystical relation to the experience- I've never forgotten that beautiful day or the details therein.

The title to the poem derives from the cross streets where this memory occurred, the cross streets where I lived as a boy: South Memphis and Colorado Avenue.

Poetic Parameters:

Stanza: Quatrain (6 total)
Meter: Tetrameter (i.e. 8 syllables per line)
Rhyme Scheme: a.b.a.b. (per stanza)

Note:

I especially wanted to interlock the lines in some of these stanzas so that the working rhythm would flow smoother. Here's an example:

I walked (eleven-ish or so)
A kid amid blue snow and slush,
When lo! that golden orb aglow
Ascending made the blue-air blush!


Even within the same line, employing something akin to alliteration, there are interlockings:
-A kid
-
Amid

Again, an example of interlocking:

Until then, ah, and truth be told,
Let cold and winter here descend-
For that young boy, who now is old,
Has in that golden orb a friend.

Or (the same stanza even) ...

Until then, ah, and truth be told,
Let cold and winter here descend-
For that young boy, who now is old,
Has in that golden orb a friend.

The beauty of doing this is that it embellishes the rhythm and flow of the poem- it's a poetic devise that I must say not only contributes to the subtle details of the poem, but is also fun to figure out. Try it sometime.

6 comments:

Obiterspeak said...

indeed, that boy did not grow old! forsooth, the youth has been preserved – suspended ‘tween the warmth and cold and held by friendship well-deserved!

John W. May said...

Obiterspeak .. you are too cool. Thanks- very poetic, my poetic friend.

SOFIA said...

love you blog

Nancy said...

Another completely lovely work with beautiful imagery, embracing the passion and innocence of childhood.

To pick my favorites pieces of this one would be to repeat the entire poem... "blue-air blush"... "a thousand tiny glaciers"... "like Pleiades upon the street" (if I had to pick one phrase this would be it)... and on and on. And as always I love and appreciate the spiritual undertones (Benevolence, Love)

Obiterspeak: Perfect response. I couldn't agree more.

VERY WELL DONE, John!

cheryl said...

Wow. I wish I had your talent for words. Another great masterpiece from the master himself.

Happy Thanksgiving btw. --to everyone!

PJ said...

Wow, great as usual.

As of April 9th, 2010