The Willow

O weeping woman veiled in green
What secrets hide beneath your shroud
That fall as tears into the stream
O’er which your verdant head is bowed?

These tears, are they for seedling sons
Long scattered by impartial breeze
Or are they for the lucky ones
Whose roots are sunken overseas?

Or do you weep for times long gone
Of greener leaf and bluer sky
Before your grief was written on
By prying poets such as I?

O ancient mother, though you weep
Your secrets are but yours to keep.



Hubris Dispelled

I found myself within a vale,
Where ran a glacial stream.
The water murmured o’er the rocks,
Like voices from a dream.

And all along the riverbanks,
There rose great tow’ring trees;
The scent of pine and spruce did rise
So fragrant on the breeze.

The morning sun was climbing
And burning off the mists,
Shining light on Nature’s wares,
Proffering me her gifts.

I felt this was my valley,
For me the birds did sing!
Until I raised my eyes up high—
And met the Mountain King.

His face was carved from rocky crags,
The snow cap was his crown.
His arms, stretched wide, were covered by
A rich and verdant gown.

His strong embrace encircled all,
His head was wreathed by cloud.
And heedless of the years long past,
He stood so strong and proud.

He seemed to me surrounded all
By golden light divine—
And it was then I realized that
This valley was not mine.

Although I had appraised it well
And deemed it all sublime,
What judgment has a man to make
On wonders wrought by Time?



Shannon Lodoen is an English doctoral student at the University of Waterloo, where her dissertation explores the relationship between digital technology and identity formation. 

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13 Responses

  1. jd

    Beautiful, both, as well as the accompanying graphic.
    Thank you for a lovely beginning to the day.

  2. Rohini

    Absolutely, utterly wonderful. The poetry is pure romantic poet style. William Wordsworth would be happy.

  3. Shaun C. Duncan

    These are both wonderful, Shannon and they work well together as a set, suggesting that we can see something of ourselves in nature even as we are confronted by the vastness and indifference of the aeonic forces which shape it.

    • Shannon Lodoen

      Thank you, Shaun! Your comment describes exactly what I had been hoping to convey with these two poems. The desire to find (or attribute) our own likeness in nature runs deep; there is something comforting about looking out into the vast world and seeing something like ourselves looking back.


    We all can share these sentiments Shannon as responses to your poems already show. Well done indeed!

    May I dare to say that the CPS has now a new voice to listen to?

    I am also very curious to learn a little more re; your doctoral thesis (¨the relationship between digital technology and identity formation). It seems a million miles from the study of poetry, verse, metrification etc but how so very interesting to have both deep interests. Keep writing!

    • Shannon Lodoen

      Thank you for your kind words and interest in my work, Donald! I am so happy to have joined the ranks of CPS poets, as I strongly believe in sustaining the tradition of classical poetry and am grateful to be able to contribute.

      You are right that my doctoral thesis couldn’t be farther from my poetic interests! To briefly explain my research: my main area of study is rhetoric (as opposed to literature, as with most English programs), and so I’m looking at how digital communications technologies, especially smartphones, persuade and influence users. I investigate how smartphones are designed to “address” us, and how this address shapes the ways people think about themselves (the identity part), their communities, and their place in the world more broadly.

      Despite my longtime interest in language, literature, history, etc., I am a relative newcomer to poetry. I began writing last summer as an outlet and alternative to all my academic writing! “Hubris Dispelled” was actually one of my first serious attempts at poetry (written while gazing up at Blanshard Peak in British Columbia), so for it to now be published with the CPS is a great honour.

      Thanks again for your encouragement!



        An afterthought. I recently read a work of QUINTILLIAN (master of rhetoric and his quest for the perfect orator. I´m sure you know of it, if not let it be a lovely surprise for it may give you a few ideas to follow etc. From what you said about your current research you are, it seems to me, also bordering on AI and Robotics. Are you based now in London or in Canada or?
        This comment is sent to you from a sunny Alicante where I currently live
        and now study Eastern Langs, Religions and Philosophies ( Advaita Vedanta, Sanskrit and Buddhism.
        I write (and revise) poems and I also write novels for Y/A and for the Mind, Body and Spirit readership.

        Keep writing poetry!

        Check out Quintillian!

        Best, Donald.

    • Shannon Lodoen

      Hi Donald, it appears I cannot find the “Reply” button to your last comment so I will just respond here. I am indeed familiar with Quintilian; thank you for the recommendation! It will be interesting to reread his work with a poetic audience in mind.

      Alicante sounds absolutely lovely, and your projects very intriguing. I will plan to look into more of your work very soon. I am based in Canada, where I split time between Vancouver BC and Waterloo ON. Vancouver certainly isn’t as sunny as Alicante, but the summers here are quite nice nonetheless. Certainly inspiring in terms of poetry-writing due to the abundance of natural beauty all around!

      Take care and all the best,

  5. Norma Pain

    Two really beautiful poems Shannon. Thank you for these. And the picture of the willow tree is a perfect accompaniment.

  6. Talbot

    “These tears, are they for seedling sons
    Long scattered by impartial breeze
    Or are they for the lucky ones
    Whose roots are sunken overseas?”

    This is a lovely little meditation for the morning. (Perhaps very suitable for Mother’s Day?)

    A question: did you explore punctuation options for your first piece, and decide against anything but question marks in the first three stanzas? (I only ask, because my soul cries out for a comma after “breeze” in the above stanza.

    • Shannon Lodoen

      Thanks for your comment, Talbot. As someone who has spent the past several years correcting students’ grammar (as a teaching assistant), I know the feeling of a soul crying over punctuation! I did try out several options, but decided in the end that I wanted to emphasize the questions, specifically. But perhaps the sparseness works against me here; something to think about in future pieces, in any case.


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