Afton's Ridge

By mountainwriter49

Afton’s Ridge
Blank Verse Shakespearean Crown of Sonnets

A long read, but thank you for hanging in there with this one! :-) 

1:  Twilight
‘Twas twilight when I crested Afton’s Ridge,
and stopped to gaze upon the reddened sky’s
last wink before night’s dark ascent became
complete.  I was transfixed by stunning view
     of shifting clouds as dimming light engaged
     in lovers’ dance while winsome westward winds’
     soft aria began to sweetly sing. 
      I wept as Afton's winds caressed my face.
Despite the splendor of this grand display,
I knew the night would bring forth much delight.
My home atop the ridge was near, so I
resumed my drive along the winding road.
      The beauty of the evening set the tone
      to hold the one I love by crackling fire.
Afton’s Ridge
2:  Night
To hold the one I love by crackling fire
doth bring me joy and happiness tonight.
Oh how I’ve longed to look into your eyes
and taste your lips so sweet.  I’ve missed your touch
     and long for your embrace as we make love
     by oil lamp’s dancing shadows on the wall.
     I need no words, as thoughts will softly speak
     as only they can ‘til our moments’ rush.
Yet in the afterglow I ponder us
and revel with delight how each time with
you is as fresh as is the morning dew.
The moonless night’s aglow as we entwine.
     Illumination comes in many forms,
     ‘tis ours to grasp and savor with great verve.

Afton’s Ridge
3:  Midnight
‘Tis ours to grasp and savor with great verve,
while gazing on His brilliant astral light.
The moonless night enhances grand display
of twinkling stars so far beyond our reach.
     We lie on bald’s expanse beyond our home
     and ponder constellations’ artistry.
     A shooting star streaks ‘cross night’s grand facade
     reminding us the Master is at work.
We are thus awed by His magnificence,
but sandman sprinkles sands of sleep upon
our eyes and night’s display begins to fade
as dreams o’er take us ‘neath night’s starry show.
     The night sky’s awed mankind throughout the years,
     assuring His light will forever shine.
Afton’s Ridge
4:  Dawn
Assuring His light will forever shine,
dawn’s faint magenta glow outlines the ridge
as brilliant orb ascends with new day’s birth.
The sky transitions with most splendorous
     of shifting hues as softest morning light
     makes land and sky appear as though Monet
     had painted them in soft vignettes so long
     ago.  I love the morning light and how
it casts your face so very beautif'lly.
Yet morning’s bliss has faded and you pull
me close and whisper time has come for us
to douse the fire and leave the bald for home.
     Each day’s a renaissance for one to live,
     and every hour’s a chance to kiss the day.

Afton’s Ridge
5:  Noon
And every hour’s a chance to kiss the day,
especially when Saturday arrives.
‘Tis then when we can free our minds of work.
So off to Otter Creek ‘neath ancient trees

     we planned to go as fragrant java brewed.
     We played in creek’s cool rushing stream amidst
     the laughter of our girl's delight as she’d
     skim rocks across the Otter’s flowing face.

Such wondrous glee and love abounded as
we savored grand oasis hidden there.
But noon’s sun struck my face and I awoke
and realized I’d been lost in my dreams.

     And though the creek flows o’er the rocks so slow,
     I know life moves much faster than light speed.

Afton’s Ridge
6:  Afternoon
I know life moves much faster than light speed.
and gasp at the reality of how
time’s passed me by as though I don’t exist.
My child’s now grown and living far away

     and Otter Creek’s reprise brings forth sweet thoughts
     of yesterday’s delightful charm when we
     were young and life was wonderfully fresh.
     I lay across broad rock within creek’s stream

and close my eyes once more to ponder life.
In midst of dreams renewed I feel your touch
and whisper reassuring me all’s well.
And then you softly kiss my lips and smile.
     Life’s mem’ries are a treasure to behold
     as life and time begin to pass us by.

Afton’s Ridge
7:  Evening
As life and time begin to pass us by
you pull me forth and hold me close tonight.
I am affirmed in who and what I am
and all that has made us as family.
     You whisper that our time is not yet done
      as you renew your love despite the time
      and my transgressions that have caused you hurt.
      I’m swamped with thoughts I have not felt in years.
Yet sun shall rise and new day’s dawn despite
my fears and tribulations that abound.
‘Tis faith in love and fam’ly that affirms
our path for time that’s left for us to thrive.
      Life comes full circle when our hearts allow,
      ‘Twas twilight when I crested Afton’s Ridge.

8 December 2013


Author Notes Poetic Form:
Blank Verse Shakespearean Crown of Sonnets:
The Crown of Sonnets (Crown) is usually written in the Italian (Petrarcian) form; however, I've chosen to write it in Shakespearean format in blank verse. It is written in iambic pentameter. This decision mirrors my life in this time--blank and not in rhyme. Thus, with blank verse, the poems are written in iambic pentameter with no end rhyme. With that said, there may be end rhyme between the seven sonnets, but not within an individual sonnet. Additionally, the last line of the first stanza forms the first line of the second, and so forth, thus unifying the sonnets. Thus the last line of the previous sonnet may have a different meaning or connotation than the first line of the succeeding sonnet.

Afton's Ridge = a crossing of the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Charlottesville, VA

Bald = a natural phenominum occurring on the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mostly in North Carolina. The balds are grassy areas usually above 5200 feet mdl. They are treasures to behold and enjoy.

Otter Creek = a delightful wayside along the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Lynchburg, VA

Digital Imagery:
I believe poetry should be able to stand on its own; therefore, I have chosen to not append artwork. It is my hope the reader will be able to create his/her own imagery as the poem is read both silently and aloud.

An unsolicited and unpaid advertisement:
Consider signing up for Alvin Ethington's Blank Verse class to learn how to write in blank verse, and
consider signing up in Brooke Baldwin's Sonnet class to learn how to write in sonnet form. They are both experts in the mentioned fields

Thank you, Brooke, for your patience while I've worked on this Crown. You're a great teacher and mentor. :-)

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 1
For Sarah

By mountainwriter49

For Sarah
A Wedding Suite
On the Occasion of Her Wedding Day

I   Dawn’s Light Pierces
dawn’s light pierces
night’s veil with radiance
new beginnings
as you venture forth with Hunt
on this your wedding day
II   Remembering
Remembering when you were born o’ercomes
me now, and takes me back to bright spring day
when life was fresh and I was very young.
You were so beautiful, and life’s bouquet
thus flourished with such wonderful ballet
before my eyes as you grew into you.
O, I remember how we would delay
the Sandman as we’d read a book or two,
and play in autumn’s colorful leaves strewn
and piled high ‘neath the ancient Chestnut tree.
Do you recall when we bid home adieu
to visit Mickey Mouse?  You screamed with glee!

Such memories now fill your father’s heart
with joy as your new married life embarks.
III   Moon and Sun
moon and sun
tango in dawn’s embrace
in life’s balance of love
that will carry you forth

IV   ‘neath Astral Light
As I stand ‘neath the astral light and gaze
upon you sitting there by your sweet knight,
I cannot help but think and be amazed
at how fast you’ve grown into beauty’s light.
It was but yesterday we played the court
and watched the Open at  grand Flushing’s green,
and dined atop the Center now aborted;
its stark memorial is e’er serene.
But now you’re married to a man named Hunt,
one whom I do respect and trust to love,
protect and care for you and ne’er affront
with actions that will harm your love now wove.
            A daughter’s marriage to a worthy man
            results in such rejoicing of God’s plan.
V   Astral Light Shines
astral light shines
bright in heaven’s canopy
is a father’s love
for his daughter throughout all time
VI   A Father’s Dance
O, how I think upon the times when you
were young and life was simple and carefree.
You are the apple of my eye and times
we shared were filled with fun and such delight.

You were a debutante so beautiful
and graceful back in two thousand and five.
I was so very proud to dance with you
that night and gaze upon the beautiful

young woman you’d become.  But now I dance
with you as father of the bride and you as wife
of Norman Hunter Wysche, a goodly man
of virtue that will care for you henceforth.
            A father’s dance with daughter, then and now,
            is sacred as he ponders time’s ellipse.

VII   The Father Adores
the father adores
and protects his child
is always yours
and I shall always love you
VIII   Night Succumbs to Dawn
night succumbs to dawn
as sunrise cast brilliant colours
is this wond’rous evening
of love and union e’er divine

Author Notes Contest Results:
This poem placed third in the Poem of the Month Contest, 26 October 2013.

This wedding suite was written for a friend's youngest daughter's wedding. The poetic forms of tanka and sonnet are perfect to express human emotion and write of love and life. Thus, this wedding suite blends these poetic forms.

Chapter 2
I Promise You

By mountainwriter49

I Promise You

I promise you
my love forever more.
When spring's fresh flowers bloom
or winter's frigid breath encases everything
in ice and snow's embrace,
'tis you I'll always love.

I promise you,
my love, these many years with you
have been the best times of my life.
Oh, how I love to wake to morning's light
by your soft, tender side.

I promise you
my love shall never fade
as has the table scarf of crimson red and cobalt blue
by brilliant sun rays cast upon our hearth
throughout the years,
or as have all the color photographs from long ago.

I promise you,
my love, just as the morning light
evolves into the night's ethereal light,
I'll love you more tomorrow than today.
O, how I love to kiss your lips and join with you
'neath Luna's ivory glow.

I promise you
my love endures forevermore.

17 August 2013

Author Notes Thanks so much for reading my poetry.

Chapter 3
Life's Love and Laughter

By mountainwriter49

Life’s Love and Laughter
For Cindy
On the occasion of celebrating her sixtieth birthday

Life’s love and laughter’s ours to seize
as we walk on time’s wand’ring path.
We know not where the path will lead,
yet we go forth to find our destiny.
As we walk on time’s meand'ring path
we find true love and happiness
that fill our hearts with wond’rous joy
and  strength to face life’s harshest wrath.
We know not where the path will lead,
but faith in God and fellow man
assures we will get through the night,
and from our fears our hearts are freed.
Yet we go forth to find our destiny
and celebrate each year with joy.
Oh, sixty is so very young because
life’s love and laughter’s ours to seize.

10 August 2013.............................................

Author Notes Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 4
This Evening Song

By mountainwriter49

This Evening Song
‘Twas five by Valley’s languid clock and I
was ready to relax with a cool one
on porch’s broad expanse o’er looking oak’s
grand majesty  in my back yard.  Soft winds
            and gentle rain that sifted through its leaves
            as evening melded into night with its
            soft pianissimo score lured me back
            to times when we’d make love ‘neath Luna’s rise.
Oh, how this evening song enchanted my
e’er lonesome heart!  But as the score progressed,
soft rain and breezes stilled and I was left
alone within the stark of starless night.
            Lone flick’ring flame from grandma’s lamp dost burn
            as does my heart’s e’erlasting love for you.
3 August 2013
Staunton, VA

Author Notes Poetic Form: Blank verse Shakespearean Sonnet.
No end rhyme; iambic pentameter.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 5
The Ligurian Sea

By mountainwriter49

The Ligurian Sea

Oh, such were days when I was in full hue
with flowing hair swept by sea breezes swift
while sitting on the rocky cliffs above
Ligurian sea’s broad expanse where we first met.
We were so young and you so beautiful
with hair of Irish red and deep blue eyes.
You caused men to take pause with longing eyes
and gaze upon your gracious form and hue
that glowed like morning sun so beautiful.
With elegant repose, and movements none too swift,
you’d gracefully turn ‘til your eyes had met.
‘Twas then they knew they’d seen an angel from above.
I’d pulled you close and then we walked above
the fray across the bridge away from preying eyes.
‘Twas when the setting sun and Earth’s rim met 
that our lips kissed and sweet new love’s full hue  
exploded as our passions rippled ever swift  
throughout our bodies.  Oh, you were so beautiful!
As Sandro’s Venus is most beautiful
while gliding onto shore from angel’s breath above, 
so too were you.  My heart did beat so swift
whene’er I’d gaze upon your sparkling eyes
as they reflected evening’s golden hue.
To honor all the years since we first met,
we traveled once again to see where constellations met
the ancient poets who’ve inspired us with their beautiful
poetic lore.  We loved to read their verse by fire’s soft flick’ring hue;
then gaze upon the astral light above
and contemplate Andromeda’s  bright eyes.
As night grew cold and northwest winds blew swift,
we held each other close as yarn on weaver’s swift.
‘Twas near magenta’s dawn our lips last met,
and then you went away with angel’s eyes.
My memories of you are full and beautiful,
and everyday I thank my gracious Lord above
for you.  But now my life’s no longer in full hue,
and so I pray for Grace above to be e’er swift 
each day when walking on the beautiful cliff paths where we first met.
I close my eyes and see your face in love’s romantic hue.
5 March 2013


Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Sestina. This most complicated form poetry consists of 39 lines written in six stanzas and one closing tercet. The initial end words in the first stanza are repeated in a certain rotation in the subsequent 5 stanzas and then repeated in the tercet. The thrust of the rotation of the end words is to make subtle changes to the meaning of the word and direction in which it is taking. I won't describe the sequence of the end words' repetition sequence requirement, but just trust me, this is it. I had to graph it out in order to get it correct.

In a Sestina, the lines can be of any length and a metrical pattern is not required. With that said, I have written this Sestina in iambic meter with lines of varying length.

Ligurian Sea = located off the northwest Italian coast near Genoa
Sandro = Sandro Botticelli; Italian Renaissance painter, ca 1444-1510, and painter of "Birth of Venus".
Swift = also an adjustable device upon which a hank of yarn is placed in order to wind off skeins or balls.
Well met = welcome; archaic English form dating to 900 AD.

Many thanks to Brooke Baldwin (adewpearl) who taught me this form in her Sonnets and Other Poetic Forms Class. I highly recommend her class to anyone desiring to learn more about the sonnet and other Western poetic forms.

Thank you for reading my poetry,

Chapter 6
The Morning Sun

By mountainwriter49

 The Morning Sun
Rondeau Redouble

The morning sun recasts the ancient stones
     in softest hues of marble, gold and gray. 
By Neptune’s fountain’s edge I sit alone,
     and wait for sol to crown another day.

Oh, how I love the solace of this place
     as new day’s light doth bathe the square in tones
poetic and sublime. Whilst shadows fray,
     the morning sun recasts the ancient stones.

And thus with lapis threads of life well sewn
     within love’s fabric from my yesterdays,
I'll scribe of you as once the Masters hewed
     in softest hues of marble, gold and gray.

I close my eyes and think when times were gay
     before the bitter seeds of loss were sown.
Today I cry, for our long lost ballet,
     by Neptune’s fountain’s edge. I sit alone

and sip red Tuscan wine beside your stone.
     I know I’ll find some peace when time to pray
and gaze upon the stars near Heaven’s throne.
     I’ll wait for sol to crown another day

with azure skies unblemished by clouds' play,
     and then I’ll pledge to not be sad and moan
of things that cannot change.  I shall allay
     my pain by waiting by the ancient stones
for morning sun…

3 February 2013

Author Notes Poetic Form:
Rondeau Redouble. This poetic form is a modification of the classic French Rondeau. It consists of 25 lines and features a four-line refrain which forms the first quatrain. These four lines are then used successively as the last lines of the following four quatrains. The sixth and final stanza is a quintrain which contains no repetition of previous lines; it does, however, include a 'tail (T)' which is the beginning clause or phrase from line one. The same two rhymes are used throughout and the rhyming scheme is as follows: A1B1A2B2 babA1 abaB1 babA2 abaB2 babaT. I have made minor modifications to the form in my poem in stanzas 5 & 6, last line, changing the first word to enhance readability and sensibility.

A Word About Rhymes:
This poem utilizes both true rhymes (pray / play) and slant/proximate rhymes (place / fray). In the case of the example proximate rhymes, they share the same long "a" vowel sound.

Neptune's Fountain = found in Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy
The square = Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy

The manner in which the morning sun colours the buildings in the Piazza della Signoria is nothing short of awesome. The ancient stones used to build the buildings, fountains, statuary and walls take on wond'rous hues as the morning light shifts.

Thank you, Brooke, for teaching me how to understand and write in this wonderful poetic form.

Thanks for reading my poem.

Chapter 7
Aileen (part 1 of 3)

By mountainwriter49

(part 1 of 3)
blank verse quatret
It was your time to go back home
and be with God in Heaven’s glove.
‘Tis there you’ll see your mom and dad
and loved ones that have gone before.
            I was so blessed throughout my life
            with love and grace and joy each day.
You were so good to husband Bill,
and shared his love for many years.
Across the globe you traveled well;
such wond’rous lasting memories.
          My passions kept me going strong
          and kept me focused on good things.
Your daughters thrived because of love
you generously gave each day,
and teaching them to give and share
with those who are less fortunate.
            I am so proud of both my girls
            and truly love them endlessly.
Though now you’re gone from earthly plain,
in our hearts you’ll forever be.
Old letters, recipes and notes
remain as touchstones of your love.
            I fought the fight but time was nigh
            when angels came to take me home.
            My dearest Bill and darling girls
            are in my heart eternally.
28 December 2012

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Modified Blank Verse Quatret. A Quatret consists of four quatrains and five couplets. Meter is iambic tetrameter or pentameter. Quatrains in a quatret are followed by couplets (in italics). The couplets form their own poem within the poem (two additional quatrains) and are written in the same chosen meter in which the quatrains are written. The final couplet should be two lines that can conclude either and both poems. This quartet is written in blank verse, thus there are no end rhymes within each quatrain or couplet.

The Quatret poetic form was created by fellow Fanstorian, sgalletti (Sue Campion). In the original poetic form created by her, the quatrains and couplets are written in a specified rhyming pattern. Sue, I hope I've done your poetic form justice with this blank verse version.

Aileen, part 2 of 3 has been previously published and may be found in my portfolio.

Thank you for reading my poem.

Chapter 8
Sonnets From the Soul: XXIII

By mountainwriter49

 Eighty Nine
The time has slipped away so very fast
since you left earthly plain for heaven’s gate.
It seems like yesterday when stone was cast
and God's sweet seraph took you to your fate.
Today’s your birthday; you’d be eighty-nine,
and I lament time’s passage without you.
Oh, how my life has needed new design,
and say things not said ‘fore our last adieu.
But somehow I know you’re still here with me
and quietly you whisper in my ear
to help me understand things I don’t see,
assuaging trepidation and my fears.
A father’s love and counsel is sublime,
and in my heart you’re with me through all time.

9 January 2013

Author Notes POETIC FORM:
Shakespearean Sonnet

My late father's birthday on 9 January. Were he in his living years, he'd be 89. I lost him back in '99.

Thank you for reading my poetry.

Chapter 9
Aileen (part 2 of 3)

By mountainwriter49

(Part 2 of 3)
free verse
Life is beautiful and full of wonders,
and captivates and mystifies us
as we walk its journey.
Life’s full of ups and downs, and
happiness and sadness too.
Life.  It just is, isn’t it?
I met you when you were forty-something;
way back in the ‘70’s.
You were wearing tennis shorts and carrying a racket,
fresh off the court behind your home.
I was amazed at how an old person
could be so young!
And then you taught me
that age is a number and not a lifestyle,
and one must be young of mind
to be young in body and spirit.
You taught one must practice good health,
have a strong ethos and love life.
And live it to the fullest.
But most importantly, you taught me
that one must love and serve his fellow person.

28 December 2012                                                      

Author Notes Dedicated to the mother of a dear friend, both of whom I've known since 1971. Aileen was the quintessential mother, friend and the type of person most people admire and seek to imitate. Aileen passed away in December 2011, but it's taken me so long to finally get these words, feelings and emotions on paper.

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