Ruba’i: If wishes were horses

There is a horse for me to ride
Out there, my brand burned on his hide
His bay coat shining in the sun
With all the country open wide

Before us, and we’re free to run:
We’ve paid our dues, the work’s all done.
And so we’ll roam the smiling land
Our minds in tune, our wills as one.

This horse of mine’s a real hand;
He knows his stuff, and has the sand
To go all day, then go some more.
We need no words: we understand

Each other perfectly. I’m sure
He reads my thoughts: even before
I’ve asked, he’ll speed up, turn or slow
Then bring me safely to my door.

He is not real, of course. I know
He’s just a crazy dream, and so
I guess I should just let him go.
But it’s so hard to let him go.

Ruba’i: Kite-flying

Rain’s coming. Soon the day will die:
Before the weather hits, we’re high
On this steep slope, to catch a sight
Of kites against the scowling sky.

One pink-and-purple-quartered, bright
And tugging playfully, held tight
By my small girl on wind-taut string.
The other at a watchful height –

A russet silhouette – the king
Of these green hills. With copper wing
And deep-notched tail he tames the breeze;
His hunter’s eye sees everything.

One kite knows only certainties
Control, restraint and boundaries:
One has the freedom of the air
And all its possibilities.

I watch my daughter standing there,
Her laughing face upturned, aware
The moment will soon come when she
Will wish to fly, and I must dare

To let the string run long. Now, we
Are here together – happy, free.
And that means most of all to me
For she means most of all to me.

 

Ruba’i: Footprint

I found her footmark in the snow;
Though there were many, I would know
My lover’s imprint anywhere,
And where she wanders, I would go.

Beneath the birches winter-bare,
I walk alone. The clouding air
Is silent; birds are heard no more
Along the path we used to share.

And soon that single sign I saw
Will be erased; now comes the thaw.
That final trace will disappear
When Spring reclaims the forest floor.

But I will seek her, far and near
Through every season of the year.
For what is life when she’s not here?
It is no life when she’s not here.

Ruba’i: Thaw

The snow and ice are in retreat;
Clear water sparkles in the street
And my mind turns once more to Spring
When Winter finally knows defeat.

Dank days and endless evenings bring
Bleak, melancholy thoughts that ring
Like curfew bells inside my head
And set the darkness echoing.

Long months the woods and fields lie dead
And, with them, joy. An aching dread
Of all the life I’ve left undone
Leaves me unsleeping in my bed.

But soon the battle will be won:
The ground will warm, the sap will run,
And hope will rise up with the sun.
And hope will rise up with the sun.

 

This is my first-ever attempt at the ruba’i, but I already know it won’t be my last (you have been warned!) It’s a very humble homage to one of my poet-heroes, Robert Frost, who adopted the same form for his incomparable ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.