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


My Poppy Laden

11:11 11/11/11

A poem for the tear that trickled down Sydney Smith’s face when he remembered his best friend, Archie Geddes, killed in WWII; for Uncle Jack Smith who brought home a British war bride; for Uncle Bruce Doyle who served with the Canadian navy in the North Atlantic; for my brother, Graham Peever, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War; and for all those who know the hurt and hope of war.

Those are the people I know, but Remembrance Day is about more than I know. It is about every man or woman who served, every loss, and every lesson learned. I cannot know every soldier, every conflict or every horror, but my poppy does; it represents all of it. The tiny red flower is heavy with the weight of all it knows. I wear it in hopes that it won’t have to get any heavier.

My Poppy Laden

© 2011 Arlene Somerton Smith

Tho’ whisper-light, the flower over my heart weighs heavy,
laden with its symbolism.

My poppy laden with shell blasts and shivering bodies,
mouldy boots in sucking mud,
wars created by a greedy, power-hungry, vengeful few and
fought by the brave, patriotic, rights-driven many.

Tho’ gently plush, the flower over my heart bears unyielding,
memories of the damage.

My poppy laden with sunlit shrapnel and whistling bombs,
tanks that became iron coffins,
friendships forged and lost in foxholes and
relentless terror masked as jocular camaraderie.

Tho’ blood red, the flower over my heart represents a wartime palette,
colours of pitted landscape.

My poppy laden with yellow-brown mustard gas and tan Afghan dust,
gun-metal skies over rows of white crosses,
bloodied soldiers who shot because they believed it to be right and
ashen soldiers who didn’t shoot for the same reason.

Lightly, softly, colourfully, the flower over my heart carries forward,
prayers of hope.

My poppy laden with solemn ceremonies and whispered prayers,
moments of silence in the dying tones of “The Last Post”,
seeds churned up in turmoil to become symbols of hope and rebirth and
a new day cherished in the bugle call of “Reveille”.