A Poetry Break…

Recently, Krista Tippett, on her podcast On Being, interviewed Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2017-2019. They both agreed that poetry is more important than ever today when our public conversations are often so “fractious and strident.” Why is poetry so vital? Because poetry gets at “undergirding truth,” not just facts. Poetry can lead to the wisdom of the “inner voice” which we all have. Poetry does not rest in what seems to divide us, but goes deeper to those things that unite us.

With those thoughts in mind, I am sharing four short poems today, written by one of my SND friends who wishes to remain anonymous. I find her poems to be simple, prayerful, gentle yet strong. May they help all of us to connect with our own inner voice and bring us peace today. As usual, I suggest you read each poem slowly and aloud, for poetry is meant to be heard. (All pictures are from Pexels.)

“That Farm”

Something there was about that farm

that loved the earth upon which it was born.

That once chased a dream long ago in the dawn

till it found a hill to be upon.

And a restless wind in the old oak tree

seemed anxious to say–

there’s room here for thee.

So day followed day, years sped on,

love grew around, above and within.

Voices roamed along pasture walk,

in and out, down the lane

as far as wood and back again.

But sudden as it saw the light–

the last dawn rose to say goodbye.

And night will bring shade a little too cold…

and lights will go out on a farm that’s

been sold.



As dawn rises lowly,

as blossoms unfold,

as breezes gently whisper,

and rainbows lead to gold—

so gentle was He when He came to stay.

No thought or voice had I

to pray,

but resting silently

in His presence there,

He and I became one prayer.


“Poor Simple Bread”

Poor simple bread,

to eyes unchanged,

but faith—transformed.

“This is my body…”

“This is the cup of my blood…”

Transcendent moment of Calvary’s pain

unwinding into the span of eternity,

glorious fruit of seed-bearing tree

gift of the Trinity

flowing into moments of measured destiny

to lift and heal and make new again.

“And I, if I be lifted up…”

Poor simple bread,

I hold out my hand again to you

not to give, but to receive,

not my life, but yours,

Come, Christ of the Eucharist,

Calvary’s Victor unvanquished,

challenge my life to be “gift” always.



Sing your song

though tears be flowing.

Dream your dreams though

winds wisp them away.

Pray your prayer

in spite of dryness.

My Peace, it will be there.

Look for joy

though pain be wounding.

Search for light

though dark be the way.

Follow my steps

though long be the journey.

My Peace, it will be there.

For reflection:

Did any of these poems speak to you today?

Did any of the pictures speak to you today?

Do you agree that poetry gets at “undergirding truth,” and not just facts?

Do you ever take a poetry book out of the library or even buy a poetry book? If so, what are some poets or poetry books you like?

I chose a poem by Pop Artist Sean Be for our video today. It’s called “Still God.” I would be interested in what you think of his poem… his rap… his words… This poem urges me to ask the question: Who is God for me?

I encourage you to respond below to anything in today’s reflection…


  1. Ellen on June 26, 2023 at 9:35 am

    Good morning, Sr. Melannie! Thank you for these beautiful poems. And please thank your friend for letting you share them. They are strong in their simplicity. The last one, Peace, spoke to me. And I loved the video! It gave me goose bumps!
    I do sometimes buy books of poetry. One of my favorites is called “Darling, I Love You” by Daniel Ladinsky. It is illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, who creates the comic strip “Mutts,” and the poems are all reflections from the perspective of the animals in the strip. It is beautiful!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on June 27, 2023 at 12:57 pm

      Ellen, Thank you for sharing your response to the poems and the video. And thank you too for your book recommendation. I already added it to my list! It’s obvious that you too are a lover of words! Thanks again! Melannie

      • Therese Upperman on September 10, 2023 at 2:25 pm

        I just returned from a strange funeral for my brother. One in which his life with his original
        family was almost completely
        ignored. The video reflection’s message is exactly what i told my sister this morning as we were reflecting on the experience. God is still God and through it all , he continues with his unconditional love for each and everyone of us.

        The poem i liked best was Contemplation
        as I am
        member of the Wirkd Communitynof Mesifsfjk

  2. Joanne Bennardo on June 26, 2023 at 10:15 am

    Greetings on this rainy morning…thankful for it at last!
    I echo Ellen’s words of thankfulness to the anonymous poet, and while all the poems ring very true, I, too, felt “Peace” deep within stirred. We move about our days searching for it, but avoiding the truth that Peace is always within us, if we but acknowledge this awareness.
    I take this opportunity to give a nod to distinguished poet Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, or as she is better known, Jessica Powers.
    Blessings to all.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on June 27, 2023 at 12:58 pm

      Joanne, It’s always good hearing from you. I too especially liked the “Peace” poem… And, yes, Jessica Powers (Sister Miriam) is a favorite poet of mine too! Thanks for writing! Melannie

  3. Celeste on June 26, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    Good morning to everyone. Please thank your friend for her generous sharing of these poems, and thank you, Sr. Melanie, for bringing them to us. I, too, was moved by “Peace”. In my prayers this morning that word came up several times and when I read your post, there it is again. God works in mysterious ways-that poem settled some of my thoughts! So, thanks to both of you. I love how poems and the lyrics to songs can be so powerful. As a former high school English teacher who taught a unit on poetry I can appreciate the beauty of both. I always began the unit with two questions: “How many of you like poetry?” And “How many of you like music and the lyrics?” No the first question and yes to the second. And away we went. 😊. While a struggle to write and interpret poetry, we had some fun.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on June 27, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Celeste, As a former English teacher, I loved the question you asked your students at the beginning of the unit on poetry. And I too used songs and other kinds of music in my classes. I liked your last line–you had FUN with your students! A little bit of fun (and laughter) makes the learning “go down.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today! Melannie

  4. Joe Johnson on June 26, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you again

  5. Sherry on June 27, 2023 at 6:28 am

    I am new here – and have been delighting in the musings of Sister Melanie, and the responses her thoughts ignite.
    Poetry does indeed speak to the soul, and so often articulates what I cannot put into words, and sometimes what I don’t even realize I feel.
    My favourite poet is Mary Oliver, who teaches me to slow down, and pay attention. But like Joanne, above – I also sink into Jessica Powers’ poems, and have recently “discovered” Jeanne Lohmann.
    Sister, your friend’s poem “Contemplation” reminded me of a stanza from the hymn writer (and good hymns are filled with wonderful thoughts/images!) Sylvia Dunstan:
    “Like unseen chimes on moving air, like warm and morning sun,
    Like glad’ning, greening, growing things, like trees with bloom begun,,
    Such is your presence in our lives, you touch without a trace,
    Until we turn and find ourselves held fast in your embrace.”
    (from “Morning Meditation”)
    Peace to all.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on June 27, 2023 at 1:07 pm

      Sherry, Welcome to my blog! I hope this is the first comment of many from you! Yes, Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets too. I’ve posted some of her poems being read on “YouTube.” One a few weeks ago was called “Trees.”… I’ve noted Jeanne Lohmann and Sylvia Dustan too. Thanks for the recommendations. I appreciate your response to these poems! Melannie

  6. Jean Shott on July 5, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Reading “The Farm” I thought it could have been written by you – it really spoke to me.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 6, 2023 at 5:38 am

      Hi, Jean, Yes, as you well know, my parents had to sell our small farm to a nearby airport–an airport that wasn’t even there when my Dad bought the property in 1941. It was a very sad day. How many other families have had to sell a cherished home?…Thanks for writing, Cousin! Melannie

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