Janis Freegard Click to

FreegardJanis Freegard is the author of the poetry collection Kingdom Animalia: The Escapades of Linnaeus (Auckland University Press, 2011) and co-author of AUP New Poets 3 (2008). A chapbook, The Continuing Adventures of Alice Spider: A Selection, is forthcoming from Anomalous Press. Janis also writes fiction and is a past winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award.  She was born in South Shields, England and lived in South Africa and Australia before her family settled in New Zealand.  She lives in Wellington and she writes a blog about poetry.

Janis Freegard – Avalanche
She was made of rock,
had a massive stride,
a stone ship lurching into dock,
lumbering down the mountainside.

She had a massive stride:
showers of pebbles flew up as she went,
lumbering down the mountainside
on her unstoppable descent.

Showers of pebbles flew up as she went
unseeing – blinded by rage, I thought,
on her unstoppable descent
– or was she just distraught?

That was it, not anger, as I’d thought.
I could see, by the shaking of her shoulders
she was blinded by tears, distraught.
She came to rest by a boulder;

I saw, by the shaking of her shoulders
how easily rock can stumble.
She came to rest by a boulder.
Love leads us all to crumble.

How easily rock can stumble!
And she was made of rock.
Love caused her to crumble,
a stone ship lurching into dock.


6 Responses to Avalanche

  1. Pingback: Shenandoah | Janis Freegard's Weblog

  2. Rachel Warrick says:

    I love how the author so deeply personifies the avalanche in this poem. The comparison between an Avalanche and the breaking point of emotion–whether angry or distraught–is very accurate, and the enormous amount of sensory detail she uses communicates both the emotion of the avalanche and the author’s personal emotions very well.

  3. Sam O'Dell says:

    I love the way the writer has a changing refrain that ties each stanza together by repeating a piece from the previous stanza. It is particularly effective in causing an “avalanche” effect inside the poem: the rhythm rolls steadily faster because of the way each stanza is connected. The way the last line is a throw back to the first stanza causes this rhythm to grind to an abrupt halt, just as a rock falling down a cliff eventually comes to rest at the bottom.

  4. Drew says:

    Like Rachel I also really enjoyed the personification of the avalanche in this poem. I was also pretty surprised that a poem about an avalanche could get away with not incorporating snow. Lastly, I enjoyed the rhyme scheme.

  5. Francesca Wilson says:

    I think that this is a great poem with a moral teaching. All humans have their weaknesses. We are not invincible. I think that this poem shows me that despite the fact that I would like to think of myself as entirely resolute, in my life, I will encounter people and things that cause me to falter in my convictions and perceived strength. What isn’t included in “Avalanche,” is that after we fall to pieces from weakness or desire, humans all have the strength to mend themselves and persevere despite momentary setbacks.

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