Robin and the frost

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt and for dverse, a poem written in quatrains using the rhyming scheme of one of my favourite poems, Yeats’s When you are old and grey.

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When crisp snaps frost at fall of winter night,

The trees fill with the sound of restless birds

That cannot put into our human words

Their anguish at the fading of the light.


For winter creeps the dark boughs and the fields

With slender fingers, knife-sharp, cold as steel,

And snaps the thread of life, winds up the reel,

While some small, tender-beating bird heart yields.


I heard you, robin sing, my heart was drawn

To the sweet liquid stream of crystal notes,

As delicate as feather down that floats

on sea-windโ€”robin, will you see the dawn?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

51 thoughts on “Robin and the frost”

  1. I liked the notion that you were “dancing with Yeats”. Your last stanza was very strong. I don’t know if robins fly south for the winter–I think they do.

    1. Thanks Lisa. I haven’t heard anything out of our established pheasant population since they released a load of gun-bait birds to play with a couple of weeks ago. Men and guns. It’s a genetic flaw I think.

      1. You’re welcome. I think it is also. One of those two pheasants from last winter has been back to visit. Now I’ve got a baby (but growing) possum living under the shrubs. I never see hunters around here, but there is a shooting range within earshot where they practice.

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