Once felled, he left it there.
The axe head in oak stump,

A late gleam of sun lit
the blade for a moment

to burn a cold edge half sunk
and gift to time and rust.

A little experiment. I’ve been thinking about the use of syllables in poetry. Single syllable words can emphasise a fast pace and make choppy sentences. Seamus Heaney did this in conjunction with onomatopoeic words. They can be aggressive, punchy, and when read aloud, as you can find with Heaney’s poetry, they really make your mouth work. A bit like those exercises, tongue twisters, that help you pronounce before a speech.

This poem was an attempt to use a multi-syllable word amongst shorter words for emphasis. In this case, ‘moment’, which suggests a brief passing of time. I’m not sure how well it worked or stood out but I hope you enjoy it.

It must be Heaney who started this (I’ve been reading Wintering Out); I can’t stop thinking about how syllables work in poetry, amongst all the other techniques. I think I just had to get this one out and leave it be!

2 thoughts on “Gift

  1. Glad you got this one out. I didn’t notice the fact of the syllable count, but I definitely noticed the flow. Given the subject matter, it had that old time fable, like Old Henry and that steam engine train.

    Rereading it, I can see just what you were talking about. “Moment” does have that slowing down to good (subconscious) effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was itching to be written! One of those ideas. In this context, I was glad to have found ‘moment’ to be the vehicle for the idea. Those long ‘M’s and the spacious ‘o’ elongate the word more so. Thanks for the comments =)


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