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Learn all about the fascinating world of figure skating history with Skate Guard Blog. Explore a treasure trove of articles on the history of figure skating, highlighting Olympic Medallists, World and National Champions and dazzling competitions, shows and tours. Written by former skater and judge Ryan Stevens, Skate Guard Blog also offers intriguing insights into the evolution of the sport over the decades. Delve into Stevens' five books for even more riveting stories and information about the history of everyone's favourite winter Olympic sport.

Patinage Poetry: The Language Of The Ice (Part Cinq)

How doth I love skating? Let me count the ways... Just prior to the Sochi Olympics, I put together the blog's first collection of poetry about skating called "Patinage Poetry: The Language Of The Ice". The topic of skating poetry has recurred often on the blog, in "Georg Heym: The Skating Prophet" and "Canada's Valentine" and the second, third and fourth editions of "Patinage Poetry". Guess what? I just can't get enough! The fifth part of this collection is jam packed full of wonderful gems from Williams Haynes and Joseph LeRoy Harrison's 1919 collection "Winter Sports Verse". Put on your beret and get ready to snap afterwards for another fabulous collection of historical skating poetry.


Above the frozen floods
Gay feet keep time,
Steel-shod, their measures beat
Insistent rhyme.
No cares oppress the hearts,
Glad youth makes light;
The winter skies and happy eyes
Alike are bright.

Shores where the summer waves
Have whispered low,
Echo the skaters' song,
As to and fro
Glide flitting forms,
And watch-fires glow
Leaps into frosty air
And crimsons snow.

Fly, skaters, with wing'd feet!
The night wears on;
Be your stroke ne'er so fleet,
Night soon is gone.
With morning's dawn, the fires
In ashes lie,
And mountains keep their ward
Silently by.


When the wan white moon in the skies feels chilly,
And wraps her round with a rifting cloud;
When the poplar stands like a monster lily,
That swings and sways in a silvern shroud;
When you don't get up with the lark at dawning,
But snooze and slumber till twelve instead,
And vow by the fire in the evening yawning,
'Tis really too chilly to go to bed;
Sing Tan-tarra-ti,
A-skating we hie,
Where good ice bends 'neath a frosty sky.

There are tiny waists you may put your arm round
(Don't attempt it on land that 's all!),
And white warm hands you may clasp till charm-bound,
(Just in case they should chance to fall);
There are tresses trailing and bright eyes glowing,
Lips that laugh when you lend a hand,
And dainty ankles they can't help showing
(Quite by accident understand!),
Sing Tan-tarra-ti,
A-skating we hie,
The jolliest sport in the world, say I!

As a yacht that bends with the wind's wild wooing,
And dips white wings in the waves that swirl,
We bound and bend with a glad hallooing,
We curve and circle and wheel and whirl:
As a ship that sweeps with her wet sail swinging
When storms are spent past the harbor bar,
We glide erect then, with good steel ringing,
We skim like swallow or shoot like star.
Sing Tan-tarra-ti,
A-skating we hie,
Like curlew winging we wheel or fly.

You may chant of cricket and tell of tennis,
Or yarn of yachts, till you both get warm;
You may talk of travel, and Borne and Venice,
And brag of boating or croquet's charm;
But summer has gone, and, with all your prating,
The grapes are sour, for they hang too high:
So hurrah for winter, hurrah for skating,
The jolliest sport in the world, say I!
Sing Tan-tarra-ti,
A-skating we hie,
With the good steel ringing like wind we fly.


Along the ice I see her fly
With moonlight tresses blown awry
And floating from her twinkling feet
Are wafted sounds as silvery sweet
As April winds when May is nigh.

Is it a Naiad coy and shy?
Or can it be the Lorelei
Who lures me with her rare deceit?
Is it the hour for magic meet;
Resist the spell, 'twere vain to try.

Her beauty thrills the earth and sky
From glowing cheek and flashing eye;
And so she wanders fair and fleet
The spangled branches bend to greet
And wave a kiss as she goes by.


Myriads of icy diamonds flash
In the air so bright and pure,
Quivering and dancing in cold Luna's beams,
Floating and rushing In miniature streams,
In the air so bright and pure.

The glittering ice is a silvery sheet;
Arched by the star-sprinkled sky;
And over the crystalline surface we glide
With a proud, manly figure close by our side,
Arched by the star-sprinkled sky.

The river winds past dense-wooded hills,
On which the moonbeams glimmer;
And, waved aloft by the evening breeze,
Are the boughs of the grey and leafless trees,
" On which the moonbeams glimmer.

Skating o'er adamantine ice,
While fingers so warm clasp our hands,
We heed not tho chill, dark waves beneath,
Nor shiver with vague horrors of death,
While fingers so warm clasp our hands.


Beneath her skates the curved steel bars
Seemed like two naked scimitars
That gleam about the sandals in
The sword dance of the Bedouin.
And all around her flying feet
The ice mist flew uncreasingly,
As free she was and full of fleet
As sea-gulls skimming o'er the sea.
It was the sea in different guise.
Like Mercury she wore her wings,
And deep within her fearless eyes,
There lived the soul of flying things.


What if the air has a nipping tooth!
Our hearts beat high with the blood of youth,
And a crystal sheet, unmarred, awaits
The silver ring of our flashing skates.
The peaks are white; the sky is blue;
All that the landscape lacks is YOU!

The ice is clear; the winds are still;
So if you'll come, as I pray you will,
The frosted pines of the mountainside
Shall watch us swing and dart and glide
Over the lake with the moon above,
Your small hand warm in my big brown glove!

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":