Hailed like a returning hero yet in itself
Spring suffuses shyly. No ballyhoo debut but wave
on showering wave  it leaves the winter shelf
revealing to our naked eyes, as lamplight in a cave

And long before the vert outburst
a movement so discreet, so nearly still
we almost always miss the switch. First
seen when brown departs below the distant hill

for only later does the Spring make haste.
The sauntering child of April starts its run
the winter dead are weighed and laid  to waste
and sole survivors suckle on the sow of sun

The sea runs back against itself
With scarcely time for breaking wave
To cannonade a slatey shelf
And thunder under in a cave.

Before the next can fully burst
The headwind, blowing harder still,
Smooths it to what it was at first –
A slowly rolling water-hill.

Against the breeze the breakers haste,
Against the tide their ridges run
And all the sea’s a dappled waste
Criss-crossing underneath the sun….

John Betjeman – extract of “Winter Seascape

For my MTB Critique and Craft prompt “Take a four line alternate rhyme scheme– it’s a steal” we are lifting alternate end rhymes (ABAB,CDCD,EFEF etc) from a published poet (or an earlier one of our own) and recreating a poem that breaks the predictable rhythm of rhyme. I took John Betjeman’s “Winter Seascape
Poetry styles Ae Freslighe and The Russell also use this rhyme formation and are a further optional challenge.

18 thoughts on “Springscape

  1. This is absolutely gorgeous!! Wow! 😍 The poem in its entirety has such a classic feel to it. I especially love; “First seen when brown departs below the distant hill/for only later does the Spring make haste.” 💜💜💜💜

  2. What a lovely springscape, Laura! I love where Betjeman’s rhymes took you and those lovely sibilant sounds and internal rhyme in ‘Spring suffuses shyly. ‘No ballyhoo debut‘. I also really like the lines:
    The sauntering child of April starts its run
    the winter dead are weighed and laid to waste’.
    It was also a pleasure to read Betjeman’s ‘Winter Seascape’ again – I haven’t done so for a long time.

    1. Its never easy writing about Spring for fear of being hackneyed or cliched so Betjeman helped! I chose him because he is a master rhymer though did not know the poem before (and think its one of his best so have now linked to the full version)

  3. Laura, this bowls me over in goodness of composition and how it describes this time of year. “Spring … leaves the winter shelf” is so beautiful!

  4. I like how your April showers of spring echoed the sea of the original poem, and how you expressed the slow-quickness of the change from winter, that seems to linger yet suddenly blooms.

  5. There’s a lot to love here, Laura. The sauntering child of April – know it well – and that almost missing the switch. The overall feel is great – you really capture that transition well.

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