Tag Archives: poetry

In Flanders Fields – John McRae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNIATIONS.


Dulce et decorum est – Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.


(ed. – DULCE ET DECORUM EST are the first words of a Latin saying taken from an ode by Horace. These words were often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” which is “It is sweet and right to die for your country.”)

Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


It is the Solider! – Charles M Province

It is the Solider! Not the Minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.


Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

For the Fallen – Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

An unforgiving blossom

I leave this out in view for everyone (but mostly me) to take note of.

From a certain angle, with the light reflecting off it in a certain way,

you can see the blossom of an abandoned dream.

It’s wilted and shriveled, yet the vibrancy of the pedals still pricks my conscience.

And it taunts me to carry on and not leave uncultivated

the seeds of my madness.


– Chris George

October 2021

The Arena: a Lens onto Life

I lost and found my son this weekend on the ice

He was there, and then…. he skated into a corner away from sight

I imagined him in the middle of a scrum of bodies and sticks – eyes locked on the puck

Somehow he looks bigger as he wheels around the net, glances past the crease and backhands a pass to his waiting teammate

It is his ease of movement that makes me search for the answers I don’t really want to reflect on – just, how did he grow up so fast? And what’s next?

I blink. He’s gone… then I focus to see that he has gathered in the puck from his opponent’s blade and has nudged it forward;

He spins off his back leg and begins a deliberate, looping stride towards the side boards, flicks the puck against the boards and accelerates over the blue line

It seems he carries the puck in slow motion,

Yet I realize that this game is really in fast-forward

He’s skating too fast, as there’s no stopping his advance

So, I need to ask these questions:

In five years – will he get the shot off – and find his mark?

In ten years, which arena might I find this young man?

I study his moves. I need to burn it all into my memory.

With a burst of energy he cuts around a player, and with shoulder down, stickhandles neatly beyond two defenders and swings in towards the goal – mere seconds of ice time capturing years of development

A whistle, some yelling from the bench and pounding music from the arena’s PA system

He circles around to line up for the faceoff – what’s next?

University courses; wedding receptions; a first day at a new job?

He sets for the drop of the puck – and I’m processing a whirl of freeze-frames:

tugging his sweater on overtop of his shoulder and elbow pads

tightening his laces and clicking the snaps of his helmet

my parting locker room words of endearment: “Skate hard every shift. Have fun.”

then after, his tired, satisfied smile; that smell of sweat from soaked mats of hair

and the car rides to and from the arena; and those questions that start with


Peering through the glass, I’m witness to this game, yet unable to be part of it

I watch his boyhood in flashes now – with our family turning on his every blade stroke

He’s reaching forward, stick extended, body twisted – anticipating a pass

And I’m anxious with hopes and aspirations for his future happiness…

In another instant, he’s stride for stride, leaning in against another body, locked in a match of force and determination

Yet, I remember vividly those precious moments when I held him in my hands, and ran around the house carrying him piggyback

There’s another whistle, he twirls on one skate, right in front of me, and skates away towards the bench – it’s him, yes, I see it is, but only after focusing on our name on the back of the jersey.

There are times I see my own breath rise in the cold of the arena, and our reality is caught up in a few seconds of blurred colours, sticks, a puck – and my son

He’s turning and digs in to push off, the puck dances on his stick in front of him, and he darts ahead to open ice, sure of himself and where he must skate

On the ice, he’s always enjoying the moment, yet I see that he’s stretching, honing skills

He circles, glides with one leg lifted in front of him, lifts his head towards me and grins

I stare upward; the game clock is going too fast for us at this rink. I don’t want to avert my eyes – there is only so much time to etch these glimpses of our lives.


— Chris George 

To bike these days (a poem)

almonte_140722_1The accident has taken an edge off this fun. It’s just become another thing to think about.
These days I carry my knee like some foreign appendage
wincing and praying to myself that it doesn’t explode
There’s that sharp, stabbing in my left knee that reminds me of my vulnerabilities
Yet, thankfully, I can bike through the pain (still) to climb the next hill
and, take the crest, shift my weight, relax, coast, exhale.

What had I expected with this climb?
I had felt that jolt as I raised myself from my seat and then I checked
the cantaloupe appeared overtop my knee, my tendon as hard as the Rock of Gilbraltor
The only consolation is the thought that I will not falter, but continue to ride through…
The wind and the hills and that sharp stabbing pain of my leg
all these certainties that make this ride so important – and I can’t help by grin

I check ahead and prepare for the next climb, gearing down
to enter the climb, slow but steady
right, right, right, I pump through
The right leg extended – ignoring my left knee
There is a drop of sweat rolled down onto my nose.
The strain is obviously good for my soul, no?
Honest effort to wash away all the worthless self-inspections
I dig in, shift in the saddle to take weight off my leg

My mind wonders…. biking is therapeutic –
along with exercise there is reflection and self-inquiry
On one level a biker will see the roadside and take in its wonders
Stretches of trail with ever changing horizons
Then on another level, he is dragged through daily encounters, cascading memories and irritants, just to reaffirm a doubtful significance
It’s a mix of physical and mental exercises,
starting with a few easy stretches – pulling back and then pushing forward
to retread ground that just yesterday you had visited
It’s a continual peeling back of thoughts and ideas and reality
underneath the helmet –
Ride after ride, routinely humping your way through the same mental landscape,
annoyed with the inability to produce closure to the nonsense you’ve chosen to recall

Before me is what I have come to know
as my favourite countryside vista
Why does it look so unattractive today?
It seems on days like these
all I do is complain

How’s it that wind can blow two directions at once?
I am pumping hard and my head is down
Leaning against strong, steady gusts of wind
That same wind that greeted me when I was peddling in the opposite direction

Loose gravel gives way to a washboard surface
And I’m uncomfortably bouncing in the saddle
Now, what did I do to deserve this?
Suddenly from out of the curve a car appears
The tires spit up dirt and two stones
It passes, leaving dust and the smell of exhaust to envelop me
I ask again, what did I do….

I know I must fixate on something else: crows
The crows caw at me with amusement, no encouragement,
just an annoying call of delight as they watch me climb the twisting hill,
head turned and shifting back and forth in the saddle.
They seem to herald me to continue around the bend
to more road and another hill.
I relax my left leg and glide through the decline,
praying all the time to be able to survive that next ascent.
All the while, crows fly along beside the road, just above the brush,
so that they can keep an eye on my ride.

I now see the finches dart in and around the cat tails
and coming ever so close to where I can only dream of being
They seem stuck in a pattern of full circles,
repeatedly diving as close to the ground, then turning suddenly;
they glide sideways above the dirt as they have done so many times before.
And just as my legs go full circle, my knee turns over,
and then I see that I have sprouted finch wings.
I am out of the saddle and lean to continue my own turn downward spiral
and pick up speed to feel that rush again, take in the full breath and hold the moment;
not to let it escape as it had when I was younger and not smart enough to feel anything.
It’s a complete moment. It’s absolutely why I carry my knee out to bike these hills.


– Chris George

(ed. – This poem is from the collection entitled Midstep – a dozen poems towards where I want to be. The collection can be obtained without cost by contacting myself at chrisg.george@gmail.com )

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Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte

A Ride at Dawn


Sunday morning traction

my soul skimming

over the front tire

nothing but a clear road

and the rising sun and

clarity with each breath

digging into each hill

warm beads of sweat  

drop off my forehead

somewhere from above

and I catch myself smiling

knowing this is a start

of a beautiful day

Chris George

June 2013

To see more on cycling, pedal through the By George Journal menu.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. And yes, Chris also would rather be cycling… #bikealmonte


Dionysios Solomos and the Hymn to Liberty

Dionysios Solomos is commonly referred to as the “national poet” of Greece. He is best known for writing the inspirational Hymn to Liberty that recounts Hellenes dream of freedom.

In 1863 he wrote this poem of the bloody beginnings of the war, the patriots’ Christian character, and of the struggle.

The poem is a significant legacy of the War of Greek Independence. Nikolaos Mantzaros put the first two stanzas of the verse to music in 1828 and, decades later in 1865, this war-time ballad became the Greek national anthem.

Here is a rough translation of the leading stanzas of the verse.

I recognize you by the fearsome sharpness,
of the sword,
I recognize you by your face
that hastefully defines the land (the borders)

From the sacred bones,
of the Hellenes arisen,

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

and valiant again as you once were,
Hail, o hail, Liberty!

Here is a rendition of the Greek National Anthem.

In 1918 poet Rudyard Kipling translated the ballad to become familiar to English speaking peoples around the world.

We knew thee of old,
Oh, divinely restored,
By the lights of thine eyes,
And the light of thy Sword,
From the graves of our slain,
Shall thy valour prevail,
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!
As we greet thee again-
Hail, Liberty! Hail!

For more information from Wikipedia:

Dionysios Solomos

Hymn to Liberty

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

If: A Father’s Advice to His Son

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~ Rudyard Kipling

Staring into a Summer Day

appletonbike_3Another timeless, hazy day lakeside

so much of so very little on my mind.

The opposite shore is a curtain of beech and pines,

their tips jut out against a pale blue canvass.

There is no pattern; yet with every scan of the tree-line

there’s a comfort in seeing how earth meets heavenly skies.

I’m lulled by sounds of a continuous lapping against a rocky edge,

a soft melody passed on through the ages. Slaps of water, time and time again…

carrying all things to this place; and, from this place…

I gaze, then peer deep into the water beside the dock,

only catching mosaic reflections of cloud and green darkness.

Dancing ripples advance across the surface of the water;

it’s the single chaotic motion on this still day.

and my attempts to follow one proves pointless – as each ripple will rise to fall,

and, then, seemingly rise again.

IMG_2866A sighting:  a solitary loon stretches out its wings

then folds them neatly back in before it tucks and dives –

a sideways descent into eternity.

Just how long might I hold my breath

so I may be graced with this day forever?


Chris George

July 2012


(ed. – This poem first appeared in By George Journal in July 2012.)

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

A Dozen Poems by Chris George

Here are a dozen that have received the greatest amount of response through the years. I am pleased my words are enjoyed. – cg

The Arena: a Lens onto Life

To bike these days

The fiddler’s smile

Almonte’s Riverview

Looking to not drop the ball

The Move

The smell of a newborn

The repeated cawing of the crow

All wound up like a toy soldier

A Knave


A Sisyphean Refrain

For more poems by Chris George please click here.

Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

A Timely Self-Reflection

the hands of time are not meant to be tampered with

clocks are meant to be on the wall — out of reach

yesterday is yesterday; today, today; and,

tomorrow is tomorrow.

it is as it should be and

it is easy if you accept it.

frustrations are measured in minutes —

unhappiness in epochs.


– Chris George 

January 1991

A rather pointless ride

In a matter of months our world has skidded sideways and

we are being carried away on a rather pointless ride


a failed attempt to topple the regime

accidentally shot down plane carrying humanitarian aid

killed when a fuel lorry rigged with explosives exploded

encouraged police to use “lethal force” on criminals

broke a peace deal and declared military rule

banned flogging as a punishment

warned that coronavirus “doesn’t take weekends off”

filing bankruptcy protection

now lifting lockdown restrictions

call for mandatory testing

return to a “new normality”


It’s too much, and enough to have you bury your head into

your hands if you could only make it all go away


– Chris George

June 2020 


Incomprehensibility: stepping from room to room 

at the National Art Gallery 

Vatican Spender

thru a blender

Volia: Dali…

spaced dimensions

contorted distortions

with a slice and a smile,

courage and guile…

from the entrails of St. Erasmus

to hidden crevices of consciousness

all in twenty paces and a blink.


– Chris George 

April 1986

Winged Deliverance

I never quite remember what I’m doing when I catch the black swirls out of the corner of my

eye; but I have come to appreciate how crows have always demanded my attention.

For as long as I can recall crows have captivated my imagination

All-seeing swarthy figures flitting into my consciousness and

Dark brown eyes staring through me, seizing my thoughts, causing me pause,

to take stalk of what I have been doing, and whether I should continue.

Then there is the clarion caw, snapping me back to reality

In a matter of seconds this bird has again delivered me from my mindlessness.


– Chris George

June 2020 





Dreams of Will

out of this whirlwind of indecision

I plan to institute order.

I plan to march through the chaos

and plant my flag triumphantly.

to struggle into, topple over, move aside

with cries of victory and then peaceful songs

fistful of flowers to be replanted.

smiles and wisps of laughter, a dance of joy

and all from the pushing, the serious intent

the inspired labour – the sweat, the explosions of energy

the clearing of all hurdles / obstacles / enemies

the trudging over bodies

to establish an order and find a peace of mind.

I’ll be filling the hallowed holes reserved for faith

with might, discipline and

a powerful display of intellect, of will, of power

I will triumph with cannons, flags and trumpets blaring

bells of joy and freedom and victory

and then rest, a peaceful rest.

so, out of this whirlwind of indecision

I envision I will institute order.


– Chris George 

December 1985 


Our Promise

2:10 a.m.

It’s a constant preoccupation: whether we’re living up to our promise

Those middle-of-the-night reflective assessments of the promises you made to yourself

And wondering, perhaps praying for the promise of another day

Why do we celebrate those who succeed, yet we look over those who continue to try,

those who continue to believe in their promise?


4:30 a.m.

What’s the difference between a salty mariner and a dung beetle?

An adventuresome hero or the toiling Everyman?

Both roles suitably casted for me (really, for everyone)

And the seconds and minutes and hours of the day

are counted off to give meaning as I make a stand and

shoulder the weight of those promises I have whispered to myself

nearly each and every night


Sisyphus is a hero because he readily shoulders his burden each day

knowing he will not fulfill his promise by sunset; and so,

I’m trying to determine whether I’m tossing on open seas or sifting in a sandbox

Whether I’m smiling at a foreboding horizon or obsessively rolling my shit?


6:50 a.m.

Which is it: a tragic figure

Or the hero of my own comedy?

Is it steely determination

Or quiet desperation

that overwhelms me at sunrise?


– Chris George

May 2020 

A Sisyphean Refrain

It’s okay to lay here and not want to open my eyes

To listen to my heartbeat and feel blood pumping through my legs

It’s okay to admit that I don’t what to be here

At the side of the mountain, in the early pre-dawn stillness


What if I got up and ran through the fields – as fast and for as far as I could go in a day?

Where would I be? (I doubt I could outdistance this mountain.)

It would block out the sunset. And then I would feel the tug of the weight of the task

that I had run from, crushing any satisfaction about the field in which I have laid.


It is true that hope is but the dream of those who wake.

Yet, running is hopeless. It’s an abdication of duty.

And, now, it is time again to open my eyes and rise.


– Chris George

May 2020 

The repeated cawing of the crow

Was that a warning of some sort
when that crow swooped low, inches above my head to let out a shriek?
Just how did I get to this spot,
on this straight road leading me onto the hazy, distant horizon?
There’s 12 black birds glaring down from the wire,
and another solemnly sitting atop a fence post;
all observing my every move with quiet, mocked disdain.
I can only stare back in silence at my judge and jury for
is there any point in shaking a fist into the air, or hanging my head to avert my eyes?
The early afternoon sun hangs high in the sky
I’ve broken into a warm, dripping sweat
and turning my face to the light, gentle breeze, it carries nothing but
whispers of doubt and unanswered propositions from my past.
No solace. No relief. No comfort on this road, in coming to terms with my inquisitors.
The repeated cawing of the crow is unnerving; so too the black birds’ unrelenting stare.
If only this high wire act would share their insight:
what is it that they see on the horizon, and why do they glare at me so?


– Chris George

July 2013

Chris George has released “Almonte and the summer of 2013 that was”, a compilation of 10 poems. The verses capture the expectations raised in moving into a new community and making a new start. They also include personal reflections of a writer’s challenges to begin again, afresh. If you are interested in receiving “Almonte and the summer of 2013 that was” – write chrisg.george@gmail.com – and provide your e-mail.