Dark time before the spring

Ellen Best has written a cleave poem on a subject close to my heart. You can read it here. She has prompted me to try to write another one.

The idea of a cleave is to write three poems in one. One half telling one story, the other telling its opposite, and the whole making the complete poem. The two halves ought to be separated physically on the page, but tell that to WP. You’ll have to pretend that the bolded part is on the other side of the page.

It’s something I haven’t done in a long time. Certainly not since the new editor makes formatting it impossible for anyone without a degree in computer technology.

Dark time before the spring

The dark time has come
though sun still pierces briefly autumn soft
and all the leaves are falling
the tree song is changing
no summer birds sing sweet from shady trees
flashing bright with fire-garb bright as laughter
the stream’s voice is loud
remembering spring torrents
where rain has swollen the cords and chords
and the rush of new life
of watervoice coursing to the sea
leaf-dance on meadows red now and wild
the wind has risen in the east, feather-ruffled, ragged-clawed
sweeping like swallows across the rain-damp green
and in the watchful hedge the wild things wait, sniffing
the tang of spring rising from deep roots
the dark night about to fall
gathering all in its eternal arms.


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.

12 thoughts on “Dark time before the spring”

  1. Each part works so well here, Jane, and it’s a beautiful poem. “The tree song is changing”
    I was surprised last week by all the tree song from robins here, but there definitely is not that predawn chorus of songbirds.
    I haven’t written a cleave in forever either, but what a pain that you can’t format them easily on WP. At least the bold is clear here.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you think it works. This one wasn’t too hard in the end, but they’re like that, you get one then can’t write another for months!
      The birds chirrup here more than sing, but I heard the first thrush this morning.

  2. Two intersecting circles that play their songs alone and then chorded in harmony. The way this form should work. I actually like this formatting too. (K)

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