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Alpenglow

 A poem by Chase Ambler

ChaseAlpenglow

~ Reflection ~

In this love poem to my wife, I compare her to the only thing that comes close: nature. The poem follows the four seasons of the planet in four stanzas. But the theme of four doesn’t stop there. Every fourth line rhymes, and each line has four syllables. The stanzas are also set at four times of the day: dawn, noon, dusk, and night. “The four is strong with this one,” a Star Wars fan might say.

This poem started out as free form, but when I came back to it the next day I realized that the second stanza has a different feeling altogether. I found that the first stanza was almost entirely written with four syllables per line. I liked that rhythm better, so the poem began to take shape with those restrictions instead.

I began with the idea of the most beautiful awakening, like the orange of sunrise upon mountain faces (known as alpenglow), because that’s how my wife looks when she sees me in the morning. But to stop at just any morning would not be enough. What about the morning of the planet? Spring. The sun melts the snow which turns into streams which in turn combine into rivers which fly off cliffs in dazzling displays of waterfalls.  This is what it’s like to wake next to the love of your life.

The noon/summer stanza offers respite from the baking sun. The relief is the breeze which I compare to my wife’s voice. There’s nothing more soothing than to hear her tones. At the end of the stanza I use “applauding leaves” which I thought was a great way to really hear the wind. In aspen groves, a breeze sets all the branches quaking and their leaves clapping against each other. When you’re hiking and all of a sudden the world around you is making noise that wasn’t there a second ago, it’s somewhat magical. Wind though aspen is one of my favorite sounds (luckily we have some aspen in our back yard).

The sunset/autumn stanza is all about color. The twilight season is home to the most brilliant displays of color. Though the world is dying—just as the day is— and descending into winter, it leaves with new beauty. My wife and I have been together for over a decade. As we age and change and the stages of our lives pass away, all I can see in her is new beauty. Just as the setting sun lights up the sky and darkens the mountains sharpening their ridgelines, I seem to be able to see my wife with increasing clarity as we grow older.

The night/winter stanza reveals a new kind of splendor. The dark night sky is personified in my wife’s dark hair, and her stunning eyes shine out like the Milky Way in clear skies. Though winter is the death of many things its landscapes hold the same forms in new, gorgeous monochromatic color schemes, and a lot of life survives winter to begin the cycle of rebirth in spring all over again. Though times may get harsh there’s something to be said about weathering them. When you emerge on the other side of whatever hardship you’re facing you cling to life and love so much more dearly; you see the alpenglow and know the warmth of the sun is coming.

I hope you enjoyed the poem. It’s my most recently completed work.


Chase Ambelr - Headshot Chase Ambler is an American writer who spent his childhood in South and Southeast Asia. His life has been shaped by strange obsessions: heavy metal music, mountains, travel, and soccer. These subjects have all molded his poetry and prose in some way, but the birth of his daughter may have the greatest impact yet. He lives with his wife, baby daughter, and dog in Colorado. If one went looking for Chase, they could find him anywhere from changing diapers to summiting 14,000 foot mountains, but odds are he’s in front of the computer working on his next novel. Visit the FB page for his Novel: Snowsong

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