While Unheard Anthems Raise

Nature has a panoply
__Of instruments it plays.
The forests form the canopy
__Uplifting arms in praise.

Woodwinds play the melody
__Blowing on the reeds.
Cold sleet plays the timpani
__While thunder shakes the trees.

Icicles are tinkling bells
__As winter keeps the pace.
A dirge is playing in the dells
__With bullfrogs on the bass.

Somber wolves are on the prowl
__Searching for their game;
They join the winds in savage howl,
__Singing of their claim.

Stars are sparkling in the ice;
__The strobe lights of life’s praise.
Nature is alive and dead
__While unheard anthems raise.



Whistling Wistful Winter Winds

Whistling wistful winter winds
Tussling through the trembling trees
Tell a torrid tale of time
Lifting little lovelorn leaves.



LTC Roy E. Peterson is a writer, retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer, Foreign Area Officer, and Foreign Commercial Officer who currently resides in Texas.

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14 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Two nice poems, and I especially like the second one with its conscious and expert alliteration.

    About the first poem: there is a problem with the fourth quatrain, which does not maintain the metrical flow of all the others. It happens because you close lines 1 and 3 with a feminine ending, which doesn’t occur in the other quatrains. As a result line 3 (“They join the wood in howling”) is not a proper tetrameter.

    I’d suggest the following change:

    Somber wolves are on the prowl
    Searching for their game;
    The join the winds in savage howl,
    Singing of their claim.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Joseph, Thank you! I appreciate the suggested quatrain edit and will make the change with “They” to begin the penultimate line.

  2. Sally Cook

    Dear Roy,
    I always appreciate the subtlety of your work. I do agree with Dr. Salemi about the “wolf” stanza, and would have mentioned it, I defer to his knowledge and simply say yes, he is correct.
    While the smaller poem is the one I prefer (for its tight-knit perfection), still, “While Unheard Anthems Raise” is the more ambitious of the two. I love your understanding of the crossover of the senses. You are a true poet,

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Wonderful comments and encouragement, Sally. I am like you in deferring to Dr. Salemi and his knowledge. I always appreciate your poetry, as well, as a true poet!

  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Roy, this seems to be a different poetic direction for you and I love it. Nature is my salvation and the song of nature, the skill of the orchestra you depict in “While Unheard Anthems Raise” is magnificent. When I am troubled and cannot sleep, I always listen to British birdsong and light rain… its melody calms and soothes. I love the way the wolves “join the winds in savage howl”… I would much rather hear the howl of a wolf than the foxes that screamed like banshees at the end of my UK garden.

    Like Joe, I love the expert alliteration in “Whistling Wistful Winter Winds”. I particularly like the closing line. Great stuff! Thank you!

    • Roy E. Peterson

      I love your personal connection with nature and enjoyment of the sounds that soothe. I can only imagine the foxes screaming like banshees and disturbing you. I greatly appreciate your encouraging and insightful comments!

  4. Yael

    Very nice and enjoyable poems! I love that the nature scenes focus on the sounds instead of the sights, which is less common.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Fascinating thought about the focus on nature sounds versus scenes. Thank you for your kind comments!

  5. Peter Hartley

    Roy – These two poems are stunningly atmospheric and are perfectly headed by a wonderful painting I’ve not seen before and feel that I should have. As Yael writes above it is unusual to concentrate on the sounds of winter over what we can see. These poems demonstrate everything that makes poetry better to read aloud than prose.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      I am doubly blessed and honored by the wonderful comments you made. I consider you one of the great living poets.

  6. Cynthia Erlandson

    “Lifting little lovelorn leaves” is marvelous, for both its sound and its imagery.

  7. David Watt

    These are two very nice poems Roy. I particularly like the alliteration in your second piece. Sometimes, alliteration can come across as forced. Your use of alliteration is unforced and effective.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Those are special comments, David. I did not start out to write with alliteration, but realized after writing the verse that most of the words already were alliterative.


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