The Great War

The world abruptly shattered
Colossal was the war
And of it’s better victims
The gentler arts of yore.
Such shards of glass, well scattered,
Across the global floor
As rhyming verse in meter
To coalesce no more.
Yet now and then a fragment
May briefly glint and soar
To heights today forbidden
Of beauty at its core.
Alas, its climb soon falters
As modern currents roar
Until it is extinguished
By the winners of that war.


Some Dance on Shallow Waves

Deep woods surround an ebon lake
Where moonlight casts their silhouette
Embracing flecks of echoed stars,
That dance on shallow waves.

A fair, light breeze breaths now and then
And liberates a leaf or two
They float upon the water’s skin
Tattoo-like they behave.

A stone tossed by an impish hand
Casts rings of ever wider girth
In undulating blurry curves
That seek to disarrange

But soon the turbid rhythmic din
Becalmed relaxes, melts, dissolves
Into that shadow ring embrace.
The dance begins again.

So play the minutes, hours and days
For those indifferent to the depths
Content to ride the elements
And dance on shallow waves.


Janice Thompson has been writing poetry for more than fifty years.  She composes tightly woven, unforced, metered verse. The influence of the British Lake District poets on her work is apparent in her contemporized writing style. Samples of her work have been posted to her blog at:



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5 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    It never fails to amaze me how ordinary words placed in a certain order transcend language, conjure memory, induce tangible tactile feeling of place and presence, and become the music of their own accompaniment. Dear Janice, your second poem accomplished all this and more. Thank you for serenading me awake so gently, peacefully, thoughtfully into Boxing Day. I hope your Christmas was as beautiful, serene, and lovely as your poem.

  2. Mark Stone

    Janice, Hello.

    1. I think the first poem is well written. I have two thoughts. The first is that “it’s” should be “its.” Second, I get stuck on the phrase “better victims.” I just did an internet search on WWI, and it says that the total number of civilian and military casualties is estimated at about 37 million. This includes two of my ancestors on my mother’s side. I visited their graves in France many years ago. So saying that some victims are better than other victims, and that “rhyming verse in meter” is one of the “better victims” doesn’t really work for me.

    2. When I read the second poem, I immediately thought to myself: this is the type of fresh, colorful and vivid language that poets like. The first and third stanzas are particularly strong, in my opinion. I have two specific comments. The first is that “breeze breathes” is kind of a tongue twister and those two words together slow my reading of that line just a bit. The second is that if you changed “They” to “That” in line 7, I think that stanza would flow a little more smoothly.

    • James A. Tweedie

      Mark, unless I misread the first poem, the “Great War” being described is that between classical poetry and its modernist nemesis, free verse. Please, someone correct me if I am wrong in this.

      • Gregory Spicer

        Initially, my mind raced to make WW1 associations due to the title just as Mr. Stone’s did, but then I saw your post and felt that you had the interpretation in the bag since the poem certainly works very adroitly when read in that light. A marvelous poem indeed!

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