My first poem for April’s poetry month. I decided to do an Ottava rima because it sounded like Ottawa, where I live, even though Ottawa has nothing to do with the number 8. (Ottawa is derived from the Algonquin word “adawe”, which means “to trade.”)

The poem has eight lines with an abababcc rhyming scheme. Inspired by the photo below.


An ash where deer once roamed in sombre shade,
  Returned to ash by lighting strike — one flash,
Nature's lumberjack felled this spine so splayed,
  With a forked bolt, one cracking, wicked lash,
Defiant though blackened, stripped and decayed,
  It will birth new life from the V-shaped slash,
Out of mottled dust and ashes of death, 
Life ruptures forth, emerges, takes first breath. 

© 2021 Arlene Smith

12 thoughts on “Riven

  1. marianbeaman

    This is PRIMO poetry, Arlene. Writing poetry is a challenge at best, and especially if a specific rhyme scheme is called for! My favorite lines: “Nature’s lumberjack felled this spine so splayed,
    With a forked bolt, one cracking, wicked lash,”

    Brava, my friend!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Thank you! I love the word primo, and I will take it. I don’t consider myself a poet on your average day, but I’m having fun with this April challenge I have set for myself. I found it interesting to work within the parameters of the poetry form too.

  2. karen

    “With a forked bolt, one cracking, wicked lash” – outstanding Arlene! Love the feel of this in particular – the awesome energy encapsulated in simple, well-placed words.

  3. Pingback: ABC dialogue poetry | Somerton Smith

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