Photo by Barbara Anstie
Snow Dog Nelly
The depth of it exceptional, and all
at once she lies and sits and stands below.
She smiles, then in her mind she skips, her paws
tread deeply in the soft white powdered snow.
An icy East wind hails from far away,
intemperate continental clime it brings,
that covers food so blackbirds cannot find
sufficient energy to brace their wings.
Out there, beyond the hill, the homeless lie,
reciting tunelessly an unheard poem,
they fight an urge to yield to hopelessness,
and longing for a crackling log-fired home.
We look in warmth, contentment unalloyed,
at children with their snow dog, overjoyed.
© 2013 John Anstie
[Poetic notes: This poem looks like a sonnet, in that it has fourteen lines, arranged into four quatrains and a concluding couplet, and it is written in iambic pentameter. But that is where the similarity ends. The rhyming scheme is confined to alternate (second and fourth) rhyming lines and a rhyming couplet at its end. So it is different from either Petrarchan or Shakespearean forms. Crucially, though, the classic structure, in which the first eight lines present an issue or problem, and the last six lines, particularly the finishing couplet, present a resolution, is absent. Instead, the opening quatrain portrays a pleasant scene, the second and third stanzas move to present the problems created by cold winter weather for wildlife and the homeless, but then the final couplet seems to try and put blinkers on the reader; blotting out, as it were, the harsh reality of life’s injustice. It depends on your mindset, as to which sentiment the poem leaves you with…]
“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult”
As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life.
His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream!
His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man.
What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle.
His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
Pingback: I wonder
While I enjoyed the poem, the reason for my comment is to show appreciation for your poetic notes. I appreciate the knowledge you given to people who are ignorant of the technical in’s and out’s of writing poetry. At this point in my writing, I am looking for these little bits of knowledge to use in my personal attempt to improve my writing skill. In conclusion, I wanted to thank you for following my newly started blog and invite you to stop by if you want to take a look at what I have to offer.
Thanks for your comment and your appreciation of the poetic notes. I don’t always include prosodic notes, but feel it is helpful, as much to me as it is to anyone, like you, interested enough. As for your blog, I shall visit is often as I can.
Lovely photo & wonderful, meaningful words ~ synergy! 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Synergy is synonymous with success for me. Thanks Peter.
Reblogged this on yasniger and commented:
My pleasure…. Great work
Very great post and love the photo.
Thank you for your kind comment. My wife takes the credit for this particular photo.