Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Toads In Tandem: The Oak in Autumn

I could have never imagined even in my wildest dreams to be paired with Fireblossom! I still remember our conversation where the two of us decided to collaborate next year; and then Kerry discovering our shared enthusiasm and giving us the opportunity to appear in October! Needless to say we were absolutely delighted! 

We decided to let our love of nature guide us through our collaborative effort and here is what we came up with. Hope you guys like our poem.

The Oak in Autumn

Lovers and lunatics favor the oak.
Say anything--the oak will still be there,
With its odd-shaped leaves, inconstant as smoke
At their edge, but shy to leave the branch bare.
The thing that enchants, is what’s not shown there,
The mystery of a season--or a smile;
Madly bold or nightjar soft--autumn’s wile.

Oh how can I sleep with leaves all around, 
Wavering to gold from adumbral red.
Your touch imprinted on sensual ground, 
As lips opened amorously and pledged--
Of love being gentle and yet strongest thread. 
At length you had observed most conscious flame,
Erratic and bright as I called your name.

The oak is always last to lose its leaves,
Standing unchanged as if it didn't know
Of nature altered in you and in me;
Disbelieving of first November snow.
And so, I wonder if you really know
How hard it is for me to understand
Why you still smile but then withdraw your hand.

It’s undoubtedly an autumnal day, 
As moody-sweet as words we scarcely spoke. 
Can you feel sombre wind and twilight grey
Round and round the irrepressible oak--
As such reminiscence from slumber woke
Your resolve unchanging has deeper pierced 
A reckless heart hidden in rhyme and verse.

The form we chose is called Rhyme Royal which is a stanza of seven 10-syllable lines. It was popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer and termed as 'royal' because of its imitator, James I of Scotland, who had employed the form in his own verse. The rhyme scheme is: ababbcc

I remember feeling both nervous and excited as the weeks passed by, and how Shay's fiery attitude and good humor led us along the way. Thank you Shay for being such a wonderful writing partner and Kerry once again, for assigning such a lovely project to us.



  1. Well-paired and expertly done, Sanaa and Shay! I love the first line and the confident rhymes, reflecting the staunchness of the oak!

  2. Oh! Sanaa,you have added so much sweetness and flavour to this poem and it is totally awesome!!

  3. @Kim; Aww thank you!πŸ’ž We enjoyed composing this!πŸ’ž

    @Vandana; Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

  4. I love how Sanaa stuck the landing. That last line is hers and I love it every time I read it.

  5. Lovely poem. You two work so well together and the last line...gorgeoys.

  6. So much to love about this - the melancholy sweetness throughout was stunning, and I love the way you guys worked observances of nature to really pair up with the mood of the protagonist. Hella good stuff.

  7. @Fireblossom; Aww shucks!πŸ’ž I love your gorgeous opening line!πŸ’ž

    @Toni Spencer; Thank you! We enjoyed composing this together!πŸ’ž

    @Rommy; Thank you! We love Autumn and the poem just flowed!πŸ’ž

  8. I was looking forward to reading this collaboration poem! Of course you chose the mighty oak tree, which begins from a little nut (gotta love that)! Strong branches and erratic leaves are its calling card. It's so much more interesting to go 'round and 'round the Oak than a mulberry or say, spruce. Rhymes cannot be dreary here with Shay's opening line of fire, and Sanaa's finishing touch of glory. Such is a beautiful love you've carved into this tree.

  9. two distinct voices singing in harmony with the season - some fabulous lines - too many to pick!

  10. @Angie; It was Shay's opening 'line of fire' that led me to accomplish my finishing 'touch of glory'πŸ’ž Thank YOU for your kind and loving words!πŸ’ž

    @Laura; Thank you so much!πŸ’ž So glad you enjoyed it!

  11. So much wonderfulness here and I just love the rhymes. But you totally had me with that first line, and again with the last. Greatness!

  12. Like Nature's seasons, your poetry is balanced delight. I love the the way the gloom and the bright dance together to weave a mood that feels... just right.

  13. @Marian; Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

    @Magaly; That's soo sweet! Thanks gorgeous!πŸ’ž

  14. I knew this pairing would yield stellar work and read with such anticipation and pleasure. A deight to read. I am impressed with your execution of the form, too, which sounds complicated, yet you made it look easy. Fabulous work, Shay and Sanaa. Wow.

  15. A beautifully crafted rhyme royal. You both brought the oak to life in this one. What a pleasure!

  16. Like two leaves on the branch. Each with it's own beauty and character and yet a part of the Oak. I can hear the distinct voices here but the blend is gentle and works so well although Sanaa, I really think you should have pushed Shay for a Tanka ;)

  17. @Sherry; Thank you so much, SherryπŸ’ž It was Shay who suggested we do this form!πŸ’ž

    @Vivian; Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed itπŸ’ž

    @Paul; LOL push? Who me? haha no but thanks anywayπŸ’ž

  18. Always interesting to see what comes of a pairing of poets. This has a true autumn feel, and the form is one I have always liked. Thank you for bringing this season alive for us, Shay and Sanaa.

  19. @Hedgewitch; Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

  20. I cannot imagine a better way to draw our collaborative poems of 2017 to a conclusion than with this poem's magical artistry in drawing the November skies closer, and leaving us all with a touch of winter on the skin.

    Thank you so much to all who participated. Hey-ho for the wonderful Toads!!

  21. @Kerry; Oh gosh!πŸ’ž Thank you soo much! We really enjoyed working together as a team and were grateful for the opportunity to appear twice. Looking forward to next year. Cheers!πŸ’ž

  22. "Your touch imprinted on sensual ground,
    As lips opened amorously and pledged--
    Of love being gentle and yet strongest thread."

    Oh the oak, mythic and more. You two did her royal!

  23. @Susan; Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

  24. Yes, hooray for ALL the "in tandem" poets of 2017!

  25. Such a beautiful poem written by two poets, meshed seamlessly. I love you chose an oak tree to be your autumn tree. I grew up surrounded by them. I had had a magical, spiritual connection with them. What a wonderful way to close this year's "in tandem" poetry!

  26. @Susie; Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

  27. "Of love being gentle and yet strongest thread. " Just a gorgeous description of an oak - and of a relationship.

    The oak for we was almost reinvented for me when I moved south. I always loved the big tree up North - but there is a mystery about the Live Oaks here in the south - Their elegant limbs and draping moss create a different mood altogether.

    The strong opening line to the amazing closing line - all sandwiched in between with words that sing. Great collaboration.

  28. @Margaret; Thank you so much, so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž

  29. seamless, evocative, and sharp. ~

  30. @grapeling; Thank you so much, so nice to see you!πŸ’ž

  31. This is absolutely stellar. With each reread I'm more impressed.

    The tone, the mood, the words and images - so very well done.


  32. @Jazzbumpa; Thank you so much, so glad you liked it!πŸ’ž


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