Why do the bagpipes stir our soul?

Photo: Karen Cox (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Photo: Karen Cox (CC BY-ND 2.0)

As we commemorate ANZAC Day, Good Samaritan Sister Pam Grey shares one of her poems. The daughter of a World War II veteran, Pam says “it is a day with very mixed and alternating emotions for returned service people”.

BY Pam Grey SGS*

The bagpipes – those weapons of war
killed naught,
but roused the trembling hearts
of the strong, the brave –
those Brothers in arms.

The solitary piper on the hill
halts us in our stride this day,
with sense of awe
not fear
setting a pounding in our hearts.

Deep down harmonics
of skipping, leaping chanter’s pleasure
catch our beat of love and living,
while the baleful sound of the drone
draws forth our full ripe feeling.

A shade of longing,
a hint of sadness,
a sense of excitement,
a touch of the sublime
doing justice both to the dark and bright.

Reflect on memories so vividly real.
Then when moved to silence,
listen …
… for that Divine in-breathing …
for fallen friends
who rise again.

* Melbourne-based Good Samaritan Sister Pam Grey is a writer and poet. She also volunteers as a home tutor for newcomers to Australia who need language and resettlement support.

Photo: “Bagpipes at Dawn” by Karen Cox CC BY-ND 2.0

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The Good Oil, April 21, 2015. If you would like to republish this article, please contact the editor.

2 Responses to “Why do the bagpipes stir our soul?”

  1. Marie Casamento says:

    I just love your choice of imagery of the bagpipes to capture the aspect of the March juxtaposed with the melancholic ‘drone’ of the loss of the fallen. A touching poignant reminder of futility of war. Marie Casamento

  2. Pat Lavercombe says:

    Thanks Pam for this wonderful poem. My daughter plays in the UQ Emmanuel College Pipe Band and they have played for the Brisbane Anzac March for many years. She loves the poem and has shared it with her band.

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