In a Spenserian Stanza each verse contains nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single ‘alexandrine’ line in iambic hexameter. The rhyme scheme of these lines is “ababbcbcc.” Somewhat morbid, but my own composition in this form is offered below . . .
Burne-Jones – ‘Merlin & Nimue’ – detail
Death’s Calling Card
In summer time when light is long to last And evening stretches far into the night, Then I am wont to think of times gone past When life was dear and death was out of sight; But autumn has arrived and dimmed the light, That short time left to me now presses hard; Have I done all the planning that I might, Allowed myself my faults to disregard, Updated my résumé, my next life’s calling card?
I would say that this is it now As far as we can go There never was a future in our love. I needed you so deeply; it was not the same for you; With half a heart did you your love bestow.
When I reach out to hold you Do you welcome my advance? Do you give to me a sign you understand How much I need your presence to accept me as I am? Oh, no! You judge me with that withering glance?
When I say I want you Do you offer up to me Your honest love and deepest feelings too? No, you falter once again in opening up your heart You hesitate, and claim you must be free?
So with all our quarrels over Instead of settling down To that ever loving state that we once shared We will never have a future when there is no give and take It’s not worth it just for your enduring frown.
‘The Beguiling Of Merlin’ by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones … painted 1872-1877 … now in the Lady Lever At Gallery, Liverpool. The scene is from Arthurian legend, depicting the infatuation of Merlin with Nimue, the Lady of the Lake.