Winter River Wither

Traffic on river
wants ice to wither,
then they’ll deliver
wonderful trips.
For, once it is gone,
they’ll send who gets on
to hither and yon,
right from these slips.

Along the St Croix,
you’ll hear, “Ships ahoy!”
as sailors employ
nautical crafts.
Then whistles will blow,
while tugs give a tow,
and smokestack steams flow
in windy drafts.

As the coal fires burn
to make engines turn,
the paddle wheels churn
at vessel’s aft.
But those at the rail
would gasp and exhale,
they suddenly sail,
as children laughed.

We’re not there quite yet.
The ice, still a threat.
So, don’t be upset,
because it drips
as temperature warms.
Then river transforms
and covers with swarms
of all these ships.

Author Notes:

My wife and I took a walk along the St. Croix river at Stillwater, Minnesota, on Saturday. There were all kinds of river boats waiting for the season to start. The ice was not off everywhere along the river, but it won’t be long now. Many of the boats were colorful paddle-wheelers. It got me imagining the bustle that is about to begin. The St. Croix is a beautiful river that flows into the Mississippi just below St. Paul. The west side of the river is Minnesota, while the east side is Wisconsin.

This poem is a Cyhydedd Hir.
A Cyhydedd Hir is a form of Welsh poetry composed of Octaves (8 Line Stanzas). I was attracted to it because I love poems that carry 3 consecutive rhymes, and this one carries two sets and two other rhymed lines, with one between the two sets in tri-rhyme (called Hir, because they mono-rhyme), and the other at the end. Each quatrain has three lines of five syllables that carry the ‘”a” rhyme.The fourth line is of four syllables and carries the main rhyme of “b”. Then three lines of 5 syllables with a “c” rhyme, but the last line reverts to the “b” rhyme again. So the rhyme scheme of each stanza is:
The syllable count is: 5,5,5,4,5,5,5,4.
There can be as many stanzas as the author chooses.

If desired each quatrain can be written as a single 19 – syllable line. Each stanza would then revert back to a series of 19 – syllable couplets. I chose not to do that here.

Below is an example of a two stanza Cyhydedd Hir, where the Xs represent syllables, and the letters represent the rhymes. In mine, I varied it a bit. For the forth and eighth lines of stanzas 1 & 4, I matched the “b” rhymes (trips, slips, drips, ships), but for stanzas 2 & 3, I matched to a new rhyme set (crafts, drafts, aft, laughed). This is known as pairing stanzas. The other option is to hold the “b” rhyme throughout every stanza.

x x x x a
x x x x a
x x x x a
x x x B
x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x B

x x x x d
x x x x d
x x x x d
x x x B
x x x x e
x x x x e
x x x x e
x x x B


These photos were taken by the author himself on March 12, 2016. Then compiled into this collage.

Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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