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"Tintern Abbey" Revisited

Updated on November 14, 2011

With Apologies and Thanks To Mr. Wordsworth


Five weeks have passed, a drop of time that seems

To pass before eternity and weep.

I hear the echo of those promises

As benediction for a blessing past.

Now I reflect upon the hallowed heights

We scaled, attempting to connect the heavens

With harsh reality of Earth below.

Today frames my return, ah, but alone,

To this, once emerald pasture, turned to weed,

With eyes that view no more and lips that close,

Which at another season spoke of much,

As youth doth share insanity and thrives

‘Mid clouds and snowflakes. Once again I see

Those mountains, barely hillocks, merely mounds

Of smoke-filled air and dreams; those valleys veiled

In vapors of remorse, the mist of hope,

Slow-rising, then condensing with the clouds,

Unnoticed by the gods, who see them not

As falling leaves of chldhood in decay,

But as the seeds of yesterday gone home.


The woods are silent once again. The night

Is blowing shadows, ghosts that dance and smile,

As dreams tempt just beyond the tangible,

Some shrouded in desire too old to grow,

Too young to die. The night is cold, and frost

Surrounds the moon, encasing all its light

In clouds and stopping all its rays by force...

Cold force, not cruel... just cold and damp

And apathetic towards a waft of air.

The shadows stop their sultry dance and lie

In graves dug long ago but filled too late.

The trees that blew in silence lose their leaves

And stand bare-chested, tortured by a wind

That blows in gusts untempered by the night.

An icy wall appears around the past,

And all that came before is closed within

A fairy castle left to stagnate now,

A smoke-filled, empty stage of yesterdays,

Illusion fractured by a night of frost,

A day of hope, an afternoon of dreams.

The woods are silent once again. The night

Is dark, and cold, and clothed in "could have been."


This is the season when the moon becomes

A beckoning plaything for each lonely child

Who silently has sat and sadly wept

For all that she has seen and could not have,

With only memory to serve as salve

To cool her heart, afire with fruitless prayer.

This is the dream which grows again each year,

When gray clouds turn to white and stars are dim.

The smoke is slowly filtered from he sky,

A smoldering ash which emphasized a lie,

Attempt to reach a moon that didn’t shine

For children who refused to see its light

Uncovered in a rude and wordly glare.

This is the day which follows all the nights

Of apathetic stars and alien lights,

Of tides which never whispered to the beach,

Of hopes that wrote a lovely story book,

And drreams that built their castles in the sand

To crumble from the crude light of the moon

Which bared itself too late, but much too soon

For children who had never walked outside

A home of paradox and fairy tales.

This is the here, this is the now, of time,

Anachronistic clock of yeterday.

The hands begin to move; they cannot stay

Beneath a sun burned out by too much

Force, an ugly ball formed from a lovely dream.

This is the season when the moon becomes

An ink blot on a night of chill and sorrow.

This is today, the half-moon of tomorrow.

I admired William Wordsworth’s effective use of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) in his poem “Tintern Abbey” and decided to try my hand at the technique, with some rhyme added to my version where I felt it would be appropriate.


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