Holy Wind

The prompt for today is to write a poem that uses a line from a poem I wrote earlier in the month.

This spiritwind, this holy breeze blows through
the hollow places of my spine,
the hallowed spaces of my bones,
through the stones of heart and kidney,
through the separated ribs,
through each molecule of blood like stars,
sparkling through the hallways
of the body, blowing down the strands
of DNA, of memory, of life force.

The Beloved blows through
with a shriving wind,
clearing the pathways
clogged by the debris
of addiction and twisted truths,
of laziness and wasted moments,
to free the caged, starving soul.

Gratitude List:
1. Earth Day chapel–everybody outside, looking at flowers and watching Mr. Sprunger fish, and petting the sheep, and making bird feeders, and listening to psalms and poetry, and learning to split wood.
2. Five deer appeared as we went outside for chapel, and ran across the hillside behind us.
3. Two phoebes were flitting in the saplings at the edge of the River.
4. This evening, playing Kube with the family as the sun began to go down.
5. The mockingbird is back and in full mockingbird mode.

May we ever walk in Beauty!

Searching for the Beloved

Today’s prompt is to write a metaphor poem. I have been contemplating the Sufi concept of the Divine Beloved, so a metaphorical search for the nature of the Beloved seemed apt.

The Beloved

She is a whisper
in the breeze,
‎calling you
‎into the wilderness,
‎reminding you
‎of your true name.

She is a crocus
in the wild wood,
‎escaping the borders
‎of the gardens,
‎catching the gaze
‎of your downcast eye.

She is three crows
casting themselves
‎into the tempest,
‎claiming the sky,
‎inviting you
‎to take wing.

Gratitude List:
1. Perhaps it’s the increased exercise, but I am getting better sleep again after about a week of ache-filled nights.
2. How people look out for each other. The three grandsons looking out for their grandma as she’s moving out of her cottage and into personal care.
3. The singing in church this morning. It’s always good, but it’s just so lovely to lead singing and stand in front and hear everyone making music together. Sacred and holy.
4. Pink trees. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pink.
5. Yesterday’s weather. (There’s a hidden grumble in that one, I think, but there’s definitely a promise of warmth to come, even if it takes another week.)

May we walk in Beauty!

The Song of the Dawning Day

Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.
–Reinhold Niebuhr
“The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self–to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.” –Barbara Brown Taylor
“As long as I live,
I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.
I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood,
storm, and the avalanche.
I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens,
and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
–John Muir
“The world is our Mother. If we destroy her, where will we live?”
–Kogi Mama
“It helps to think of our swamps of despair as the necessary muddle before clarity. Actually, swamps are incredibly fertile places full of life. In mythology the heroine must cross such a place in her darkest hour, where she comes to face her unlived life – meeting each of the divine allies disguised as regret, doubt, and insufficiency which swell up from the mud of her despondency. If she is willing to consummate the full encounter, they will reveal themselves in service to the vitality of her true being.” –Toko-pa Turner
“I know our forefathers said you could own a gun, but they also said you could own people.” –Michael Che

Gratitude List:
1. The Earthkeepers and Waterprotectors. More than twenty courageous and determined people were arrested today in Lancaster County, protesting a pipeline that is being built through the outdoor chapel of the Adorers of the Precious Blood. You can support their legal defense fund here: LAP.
2. The songs of dawn
3. How the cats always seem to be hanging out wherever we are.
4. Chicken corn soup for supper
5. Invigorating breezes

May we walk in Beauty!


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ―Vincent Van Gogh
“Change is continuous on the seamless web,
Yet moments come like this one, when you feel
Upon your heart a signal to attend
The definite announcement of an end
Where one thing ceases and another starts; 
When like the spider waiting on the web
You know the intricate dependencies
Spreading in secret through the fabric vast
Of heaven and earth, sending their messages
Ciphered in chemistry to all the kinds,
The whisper down the bloodstream: it is time.”
―Howard Nemerov

“One of the most exciting things for me about being in the freedom movement was discovering other people who were compelled by the Spirit at the heart of our organizing work, and who were also interested in the mysticism that can be nurtured in social justice activism. We experienced something extraordinary in the freedom movement, something that hinted at a tremendous potential for love and community and transformation that exists here in this scarred, spectacular country. For many of us, that “something” touched us in the deepest part of our selves and challenged us in ways both personal and political.”  ―Rosemarie Freeney Harding, in “Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering”
“I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.”
―Desmond Tutu
“Would you come if someone called you
by the wrong name?
I wept, because for years He did not enter my arms:
then one night I was told a 
Perhaps the name you call God is
not really His, maybe it
is just an
I thought about this, and came up with a pet name
for my Beloved I never mention
to others.
All I can say is―
it works.”
―Rabia of Batista
“The aim of education is to reveal an attainable image of self that is lovelier than that manifested in his or her present acts.” ―Nel Noddings

Gratitude List:
1. Rain
2. The medicine that is under our feet and all around us: plantain, jewelweed, nettle, chamomile
3. Cool breeze
4. Rest
5. The way the wren’s voice fills the hollow. There’s the message: Find the space where your voice is clearest. Practice your words, over and over again.

May we walk in Beauty!

Castle in the Sand

Castle in the sand.

“If your religion requires you to hate someone, you need a new religion.” ―Glennon Doyle
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Dreamwork with Toko-pa: In the Quechua tradition, when you feel grateful, you say, “There is a small bird in my heart.”
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
―W. B. Yeats
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
― Sue Monk Kidd

Gratitude List:
1. One cool, breezy day at the beach
2. Feeling ready to resume life at home
3. Winds of change
4. All the longing, wishing, dreaming that draws us onward. Humans are such fanciful creatures, aren’t we?
5. Road Trip

May we walk in Beauty!

O Beautiful

Gathering the last of the summer’s pollen.

The sun rises over the purple mountains
and the amber grains are waving in the autumn morning mist.
Herds of buffalo roam across the grasslands
and a line of tanks and armored trucks
tops the rise like a robot snake,
vanguard of the black snake
that slithers beneath those spacious skies
toward the waters where the People pray and watch.

(This is a quick sketch, a draft. I have been wanting to work on a longer piece that weaves together bits and pieces of our songs and statements on liberty and freedom with the story of what is happening on the plains today in North Dakota. Perhaps that will come, too.)

Gratitude List:
1. The delightful performance of “Peter and the Starcatcher” last night. The wordplay is hilarious. The students were incredible, and really rose to the challenge of making the verbal jousting understandable.
2. Waking up to read with the kids this morning.
3. Fall sun and breezes.
4. The Water Protectors.
5. Truth tellers.

May we walk in Beauty!

Reading Redwall

I have been second-guessing myself a little.  I decided to read Redwall to the boys, without remembering how violent it can get.  It’s pretty intense stuff for bedtime reading.  I love the peaceful realm of Redwall and Mossflower, but the warring bits are intense, and there’s that whole holy defense bit that makes me nervous in its approximation of a just war philosophy.  On the other hand, for small children who are trying to learn to face their fears and anxieties, a tiny mouse facing up to a bully of a rat might be a good metaphor.  This afternoon, One Small Boy said, “Hey Mom.  If a Badguy came into our house, this is what I would do to it.”  And he ran forward with a series of karate-like moves.  He might bowl a Badguy over with pure cuteness, I’m thinking.  Still, I found it interesting that Badguy is “it,” like a monster or a phantom, or a floating anxiety.  I think we’ll keep reading the book, remembering to reflect on the way Matthias cares for his friends, on the Abbot’s refusal to mistreat even his enemies, on the way the mice work together.

Gratitude List:
1. Cool breeze
2. Constructing meaning
3. Reading with the boys
4. Getting to be the scholar
5. Zinnias

May we walk in Beauty!


Gratitude List:
1.  Cracking black walnuts with my little buddy: “You be the nut cracker.  I’ll be the nut eater.”  And, “I’m going inside for a moment.  Fill that bin up with the big pieces while I’m gone.  You can have the little pieces.”  Well, thank you very much.
2. Tidy work spaces.  My studio room is again clean and tidy and ready to be my office.  While I was cleaning, I found the beginnings of a children’s story that I started about 15 years ago–I might have to turn it into something now.  And tidiness makes me want to work on projects.  Plus, now I have a space to keep my supplies for teaching, and a quiet place to work.
3.  The little red Japanese maple tree out back is almost big enough now for a child or two to hide beneath.  Like the one at Grandma’s house, which is no more.
4. How one thing leads to another.  This can be bad when the one thing is a negative thought that breeds another negative thought.  But it can also be forcefully good when one finished project leads to another finished project, when one positive idea leads to another positive idea.
5.  Summer morning breezes.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Truth about the Tree Poem

Poem-A-Day Day 24 Prompt:  The title begins, “The Truth About ______”

When I said that I was transformed into a tree
perhaps it would have been more accurate
to say that I became a raven
my roots curling into claws
my branches melting into blackness
the rush of the dawn wind in my ears.

Did I say “roots” again?  Pardon me.
My feet are roots, of course, when I am a tree,
but also when I am a rainbow.
Did you know?  A rainbow has roots too
great arcing roots that mirror and reflect
their sky-form.  The earth spectrum of the underworld.
When I am a rainbow, I am a perfect circle
holding the world in my colors.

It may be closer to the truth were I to say
that one fateful day I became a stone
and sank deeply into a stillness so profound
I could not hear even my jeweled heart
burning with the brilliant fire of the Earth.
I cannot recall what happened to my night-black wings
on the day I turned into a stone.

You may think it is not possible, not true,
that right now I am actually hearing you say, “But
a person does not simply turn into a tree
or a stone, into a rainbow or a bird.”
Now, see, I have told you your own thoughts
and you can feel free to be amazed.

But how can I not hear you
when you have become
the gentlest of breezes
and whispered your protest
with a smile
into my ear?