Category Archives: Poetry

The music of the universe

Have you ever noticed that when a sports team celebrates a spectacular play or a big win they gather in a group and jump up and down in a rhythm that matches that of every other sports team celebrating a spectacular play or big win, no matter where or when it happens in the world?

Baseball players jumping around the walk-off home run hitter, soccer teams jumping around the penalty shot goal kicker, football linebackers jumping around the winning touchdown receiver—they all jump up and down in the same rhythm.

It’s the Big Win Beat.

April is National Poetry Month so my mind turned to rhythms, and  thinking about rhythm led me to ponder baseball/soccer/football team jumpers, and sports teams made me ponder the music of the universe.

Anna Maria Island beach

The rhythmic sound of ocean waves

Rhythmic vibrations, like chirping crickets, cars travelling on a gravel road, cicadas piping in, cardinals calling to each other, car doors slamming, winds howling . . .

Discordant sounds we want to write out of our daily life symphony—a Sea-Doo on a quiet lake, a frantic child’s cry, bombs . . .

Do we all subconsciously live by this rhythm? Do we all adjust our actions to it? Are we picking up music from the atmosphere like the child in August Rush?

Is that what leads us to poetry?

I don’t know the answer, I’m musing so you can muse along with me—rhythmically, not discordantly.

April 27 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. People are encouraged to pick a poem, carry it with them through the day and share it with others.

Find out more here:

My poem will be one written by my much-missed friend Bruce Henderson, who had to learn how important it is to receive gifts from other graciously.


Bring me your gifts,
I will be strong,
strong enough to take them.
Yes, I have room for your gifts,
in my hands, in my home, in my heart,
I welcome you in—to my infinite yin.
There is a time to give
and a time to get,
and every Giver needs a Good Givee.
I am ready to accept,
to receive your loving kindness;
the warm message of your gifts.
In joy we will celebrate
the power of your act.
When you reach out
I will not try to run away.
Come spirit,
grant me the grace of the Good Givee.

©Bruce Henderson 2010


Writing from the collective consciousness

I am at the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! conference in Orillia, ON, surrounded by writers from every genre. We talk about the joys and trials of writerhood and our varied creative processes. Most of us share guardedly, wary of how others might judge the quirky things we do to get to the heart of our writing. This morning, a poet friend bravely shared the sketch book she uses every morning.


“I am spreading good news.” Jean Kay

First thing in the morning, before she eats or showers or does anything else, she sits down with her sketch book. She writes the date at the top of the left-hand page and then on the top of the right-side page, she writes, “I am . . .” and completes the phrase with how she’s feeling. From a box of coloured crayons, she randomly selects three colours and draws a picture, a symbol, a pattern, or anything that flows from the colours and the phrase. And then (this is the part that boggles) she returns to the left-hand page and writes a poem, from start to finish. Boom, just like that. No stroke-outs or re-considerations. No pondering or hovering of the hand. Just a poem on the page.

She never knows what’s going to happen when she picks up the sketch pad or the colours. She never knows what the poem is going to be when she starts to print the words. She just “tunes in,” lets go and writes.


She receives daily emails from inspirational sources, and in this poetry sample, she writes about how often the topic of her poem and the topic of the emails coincide. (She reads the emails after she writes the poems.)

She calls it “collective consciousness.”

Tuned In
©2015 Jean Kay

After writing my morning poem
I read ‘Daily Word’ & ‘Science of Mind’
And very often the messages
Are of a similar kind

I call that collective consciousness
Some will say it’s coincidence
But whatever power is at work here
The messages are intense

Those articles were written months ago
But thousands are reading today
And I’m on a similar wavelength
To receive what is coming my way

I don’t preconceive morning poetry
I just write what comes into my mind
And yet often a word I seldom use
Will be in ‘Daily Word’ and/or ‘Science of Mind’

It makes me feel the path I’m on
Is the right one for me
I’m on track & tuned in
And living my eternity.


Two sides of one

I prescheduled my post today. I am out of town watching my son ski in an alpine racing event. I thought it a good opportunity to share with you another Dennis Manning poem. This one appeals to my appreciation for science and story, the material and the divine.


Two sides of One

© 2015 Dennis Manning

Sun and moon,
Midnight, noon.
When we’re with one,
The other’s soon.

Light and dark,
Divide apart,
Eternal end,
Eternal start.

Come and go,
Decay and grow.
Life and death
Forever flow.

Light and dark.
Moon and sun.
Life and death,
Two sides of One


I’m not complaining: Rudy Francisco

I have a bit of a headache this morning—a rare event for me. But I’m not complaining.

My house is overdue for a good scrub, and I really don’t like cleaning. But I’m not complaining.

Yesterday I had to pick my son up early from his school alpine ski team practice. The timing of the pick-up put us in rush-hour traffic. We snailed from one end of the city of Ottawa to the other at the paint-drying-watching speed of 20 kilometers per hour. But I’m not complaining.

Rudy Francisco set me straight. His poetry slam performance gives all of us first-world, privileged, spoiled folks a timely tongue lashing. I won’t complain because my inconveniences are not even tragedies. I don’t even need the tip of my tongue to accommodate them.

He fired me up for my day. I hope he does the same for you. Few, if any, of us will crumble at the corner of tragedy and silence today.

A good time of year to dance: Hafiz

At this time of year, many people for many different reasons contemplate God or the God-ness in our world. These two poems by Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Masterreminded my that, more than anything, for whatever reason, this time of year is good for dancing. And better dancing than fussing about details or interpretations.

The God Who Only Knows Four Words



Has known God.

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don’ts,

Not the God who ever does

Anything weird,

But the God who only knows four words

And keeps repeating them, saying:

“Come dance with Me.”




What Should We Do About That Moon?

A wine bottle fell from a wagon
And broke open in a field.

That night one hundred beetles and all their cousins

And did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
And began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the “night candle” rose into the sky
And one drunk creature, laying down his instrument,
Said to his friend—for no apparent

“What should we do about that moon?”

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless


Arlene, dancing like nobody is watching.

Arlene, dancing.

6 fun words to say and think about


When I was a kid, everyone wore thongs in the summer: to the beach, to school, even to church sometimes. Mind you, thongs then looked like the picture to the left.

Over time words change in meaning. “We had a gay time on our cruise” had a different meaning in 1950 than it does today. Thong is one of those words. Today, thong means something completely different (no, I’m not putting in a picture) and people under a certain age have never heard the previous meaning. My husband still hasn’t adapted to the new use of thong, and often uses it to refer to flip-flops. This prompts looks of astonishment on the faces of my kids’ friends when he roams around the house looking for his footwear and calling out, “Has anyone seen my thongs?” Hilarious.


I was an exchange student in Mexico when I was a teenager. One day the Spanish-speaking girls in my class pointed to a picture of an inflatable raft and asked me what the word for it was in English. “Rubberboat,” I said. They burst into laughter. “What?” they said. “Rubberboat,” I repeated. They fell apart all over again. “Say it again,” they said. “Say it again.” Every time I said “rubberboat,” they could not contain their laughter.

Think about it. Say it out loud to yourself. You can see how it would sound ridiculous to someone unfamiliar with our language. Rubberboat. It’s funny.


I love this word. It’s so visual and carries such clear meaning. When someone uses this word, you can visualize the recoil reaction to shocking news. The gob of shocking news hurls through the air and, smack, hits the person. Recoil. Love that.


My daughter offered this one, and I agree. Lollipop is just fun to say. The “lolli” loiters on the tongue in a rolling ell kind of way, and then you pop the last syllable. You could say lollipop, but why would you when you could say lolliPOP.


I read somewhere that comedians use words with a “k” sound, because they are funnier than other words. The word pickle makes me laugh, and maybe the “k” has something to do with it. The pop of the “p” followed by the “k” just sounds funny. Also, when someone is “in a pickle” it usually means a person has put themselves in an awkward situation because of a poor choice. Usually we (a) have made the same mistake ourselves, or (b) we imagine we would make the same mistake under similar circumstances, so we empathize.  “Oh, that person is in a pickle,” we say, shaking our heads.  We chuckle.


I wonder who the first person was to use the word “ruffle.” What prompted the word, and did he/she immediately realize it was the perfect word? It so aptly suits what it describes. Again, it’s visual. You see the flounciness of whatever it describes. It’s auditory, too. When feathers ruffle, you hear the disturbance.

This word sticks with me, too, because of Margaret Laurence. In her great book, The Stone Angel, she describes a character named Arlene as being “all ruffles.” Arlene is not a common name, so when I come across a character with it, I take it rather personally. Arlene, all ruffles? I’ll tell you, my feathers ruffled over that.

Those are my fun words. What are yours?