Thursday, December 17, 2009


inspired by Kipling

When summer turns to autumn, then to winter,
And life dissolves to death and gloomy gray,
When months have passed and solitude still lingers,
But hands are folded for another day;
When weddings, birthdays, grant you celebration,
Yet years reveal what truly lies beneath,
Your patience dies and leaves you no ambition,
And sorrow quickly calls out unbelief;

When wars break out and safety seems elusive,
Or terror leaves a chilling sense of fear,
When earth is shaken, damage so extensive,
And what will happen next does not appear;
When safe and sound become distress and hunger,
What comforts small and few are left to see!
You might do nothing more than sit and wonder
If time will be your friend or enemy.

When plans are thwarted, absent rhyme or reason,
Or so it seems the hand of fate is cruel,
And obstacles begin to mount unbeaten
By sheer determination and renewal;
When every critic finds a chance to slander,
To bring your heart way down into your boots,
The strength of your resolve so frail and tender,
Your hope of harvest shrivels to the roots.

And when at last you sense the sad abandon,
That lowly mood where no one seems to care,
You’re all alone and friends seem somewhat random
When stakes are high, the cost too much to bear.
But fear not, for another day is coming,
When mercies fall like manna from the sky.
The disappointments soon will fade to nothing,
And comforts will be yours in full supply.

For Prompt #105 at Read Write Poem, I am posting a revision of my poem "When". Inspired by Kipling's "If", I used the same meter and structure. The content is of a different sort, more somber, but leaving a tunnel of light at the end.


  1. The final line provides a wonderful buoyancy. Excellent work.

  2. I admire your skill in maintaining both the iambic pentameter and the ABABCDCD... rhyme scheme in this formal pattern!

  3. Jerry,

    You do a great job with the formal qualities of this poem, hard to do and consistent throughout. Also the smoothness of the meter you chose really fits with the tone of the speaker's voice, one of strength and reassurance. The words say reassuring things, but the music in the poem adds something that makes the final effect much more emotional and thus convincing.

  4. I really like it too. I always feel the rhyming is good when I find it emphasizes the words instead of distracting from them, like in this poem. I've never read "If" but I'll be certain to seek it out now.