Our 12th Poetry Party! I select an image and suggest a title and invite you to respond with your poems, words, reflections, quotes, song lyrics, etc. Leave them in the comments or email me and I’ll add them to the body of the post as they come in along with a link back to your blog if you have one (not required to participate!) I’ll add your contributions all week and then I will draw a name at random on Saturday from everyone who participates and will send the winner their choice of either a set of Discernment Prayer Cards or Grief Prayer Cards.
Feel free to post the poem along with my image below on your blog with a link back to this post. Please invite your readers to come join the party too!
This week's Poetry Party is dedicated to Pam McCauley who is a regular reader of this blog and an active poet and contributor to these Parties. I also had the honor of getting to know her when she participated in our Awakening the Creative Spirit intensive last November. Pam is a beautiful and strong woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is having surgery today and begins a long journey ahead of healing. She told me she feels quite connected to everyone who participates in the Poetry Party and so this feels like a good place to invite others to hold her in prayer.
This is also the week in Christian tradition where we enter the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, that most earthy of rituals where we are marked with ashes and reminded of our finite nature. It is out of that confrontation with limits and mortality that we are invited to live life as deeply and richly as we can. I know Pam has a journey ahead filled with love and blessing as well as pain and difficulty. We all do really, but certain events in our lives can make us more aware of the graced rhythms of being human.
So as you consider your practice for Lent (if you are taking one on), please don't make this about a second try at New Year's Resolutions. Consider ways you might begin a journey of deeper intimacy with the Sacred Source of all that is. Consider stepping on a path that shimmers with the blessings of both beauty and sorrow.
The photo below was taken on the shores of the Hood Canal. Take your poem in any direction you feel drawn!
Lurking Beneath the Barren Surface
Dedicated to Pam
signs of waves long past,
stripped of all that is not deeply grounded.
Lurking beneath the surface
unseen Life teams.
Reminding me that the surface
is merely a transitory illusion.
And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.
(submitted by Suz Reaney, for Pam)
There were waves here,
driven by the hound cry
of a hunting storm
in the bitter salt-surf.
The hunt moved on,
and fear ran with it,
bound up in leaping foam.
Behind, tracks cross
my soul. Holding with memory
and glistening light.
Do you see scars,
and feel sorrow?
I see a storm survived
and feel joy.
The black hard memory,
and velvet soft,
storm worn edges
let go for compassion
of shared pain
and hope for Light
that never leaves us
as the hunt comes round
-Tandaina from Snow on Roses
The child in me:
The child in me
of magic snakes
come out at night
under the moonlit sky,
slithering and rolling
their joyful bodies
into the hard sand.
The child in me
bathe in the salty dips,
while others lounge
on the sandy ridges,
combing out their
tangled turquoise hair.
The child in me
is possible if you
squeeze your eyes
almost shut and tilt
your head at just the right
angle to hear the sea
booming in your heart.
-Tess at Anchors and Masts dedicates this poem to Pam and all those in pain and fear today
THE PATH SHIMMERS
Then He said, "Do not come near here;
remove your sandals from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing
is holy ground." – Exodus 3:5
Otherworldy, the ground appears not of this earth.
Footprints are easily left behind to mark our presence
for the pilgrims who will follow. But bare feet speak up;
neither tread, nor sole nor straps instead, the glorious
bottoms of our feet letting those who come after us know
we danced a shimmering path on holy ground.
-Rich Murray at Pilgrim Path
Dusk stays longer now;
there are shimmers of light
on the water – the mountains are reflected
and the clouds have momentarily lightened
with rays of a setting sun.
The dark shore is ragged with ice –
splinters of frozen lake have been scattered,
thrown about by harsh waves and wind.
A brisk breeze tosses blue through the tree tops,
skipping shadows across the path.
Next to the ice we carefully choose our way
and the soft noises of winter waves,
muffled and ordered by the cold,
hums and murmurs along with us.
The air moves with the weight of the day
and in the strength of the moment
hard choices linger.
I send out a whisper of a prayer
for someone far away
and know one glad reminder that
in this way all things
shall be well.
-Christine at Quiet Paths
The silly sea
It chases me
The tracks you see
Are parts of me
Exposed and hoping
Someone will see
All the life
Inside of me
All that I am
Meant to be
In the sea
Do you see?
The path lies beneath
the snow and ice
too thin to navigate,
too dark, too cold.
The coldness leaves me
I'll find a path
as clear as ice
but warm enough
for my bare feet.
I'll sense the earth.
will center me.
For my sweet and playful sister, Pam, with all of my love.
Waves come and go
Carrying away as much as they leave.
What is solid shifts beneath my feet,
That which held me called to other shores.
I stand in unfamiliar terrain,
An invitation to find new balance.
The great ocean breathes me in and out
As I reclaim my most sacred name
The Path Shimmers
The snow wave's crest catches The Beloved's ever changing light urging me to get on my knees and look deeper.
All is not what it looks like on the surface…
Rather underneath the waves of snow are the Mother's stones waiting patiently to be jostled by the Spring tide.
With each ebb and flow of ice or water, the stone becomes smoother
until her hand reaches down and notices
how completely and perfectly the Mother's stone fits in her very palm.
Just as The Beloved intended.
-Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Sitka, AK
Were you there when the sea rolled up just enough to wrinkle the sand?
Were you there when the scallop lost its shell….its life?
How about the blow holes of the oysters, did you spend time removing sand, and not
the urge to catch that sly razor?
Noah, who stood on the beach said no, but smiled knowing he had two of each.
-Tom Delmore at Crow's Perch
For Pam, even though she accused me of cheating for my mom!
One grain of sand
on an ever extending beach.
that many experience.
But the sea
the beautiful sea
washes you around it.
You are not alone.
-Annie Thordike (age 10)
It isn't so much
the shimmering, virgin sand
yearning for new paths–
we both long to be discovered
between the ripples and rare shells.
time crashes behind me
washing away where I’ve been
i dive in and grab it
it runs through my fingers
time can not be held
i look back on the shore of my life
lying scattered are memories
different shapes, sizes, and colors
some broken some whole
these i can hold
i collect them and carry them
some i’ll put in a jar for all to see
others will stay locked away
in front of me the faint trail of those before me
will i follow or make my own trail
the choice is mine
A POETRY PATH FOR PAMELA
P Precious, Perfect, Patient, Poet
A Amazing, Astounding, Adventurous
M Marvellous Mother, Musical, Miracle
E Enthusiastic, Energetic, Embracing, Excitement
L Lovely, Lively, Lightly
A Awesome, Adorable, Aware
I hold my hands together,
cupped in prayer,
waiting to hold a silent breath,
a puff of hope, Spirit’s gentle breeze along a shore…
I inhale, exhale life in the Now.
I cup my hands together
open, lifted up to the One who knows,
and lifted up I know
the indentations on the sand
that once held stones and shells
are prayers too, breaking through
both linear and horizontal time,
time that molds all
On Ash Wednesday we begin
a new indentation of time
open to knowing again
that we are loved
and we must love
in return, with open hands.
Our lives will hold and offer the water,
the eternal water of Christ.
From ashes we are created
In ashes we shimmer and live
To ashes we shall return
From Glorious Mother we are birthed
In the sacrifice of Her Son we are saved
In Abba Father we rest in glory at His side
The shimmer of this world
Begets a light we can not comprehend
The shimmer of this world
Point to the dark ridges between
Loving, living, hoping, praying
Singing, dancing, crying, paining
These are all a part of the shimmer
Though the shimmer of hope
Shines brightly in our hearts
For this dear sister
This one in our circle
Who needs our strength, our love, our care
May you be blessed with all that you need in these coming days. May you feel our
arms surrounding you, holding you up. And may you know that in this journey, you
are not abandoned. Some of us have walked closer to your path than others…but we
all care! -Karla
getting ashed on the first day of lent!
remembering to dust I'll return?
no, not this time!
reminding me just as
every time wildfires sear the earth
wildflowers freely abound in their wake
I need to be dead before
the spirit will birth my new world
and new life cascades from ashes of old
-Leah Sophia at This Far By Faith
sands were pebblestones
before winds and sands and salt
ate their skin 'til dust
now they are fresh cuddling bed
to clean newborn themselves
this is "my seashore" on a spring dawn…let me offer you it, as my own seagull's
For Pam: "Interstitial Spaces"
itchy, sticky sand
in my hair
in my lunch
in my book
in between my toes
And yet, there's life
tiny holes tell
of tiny animals
breathing trapped air
making a life
in that pesky sand
Making life in the in-between spaces
in the interstices
in the unfavorable
in the nuisance sand
in the obvious
in the mystery
Like a Love story
a Grace story
a God story
written in the interstitial spaces
of our hearts
of our minds
of our world
-Anne Sims at Stories and Faith
My Heart from Afar….
Is it viewed right up close
or far from above
Are its shadows of fear
or its highlights of love
Does the water mean tears
or merely the rain
Will the sun warm my soul
and bring healing again
Waves wash this shore
twice a day…
Covering and uncovering.
Gently they come,
Always they come…
Whatever life brings,
Wherever life leads,
We can know ourselves
Always they come…
Always they come…
-Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Journey to Wonder
The wonders of Love instill light,
It skims through vessels and soul.
It laughs its way down my spine,
Shimmering, glowing, to its goal.
Then as it sits there fully complete,
It offers me such an abundant grace.
I leave filled up again, freed of pain,
Settle again to tasks, of keeping pace.
We meet again the Cross and the Rising,
Walk its journey through sun and thunder.
Joy in the fullness; the One that knew us,
Whole once more in the Rising's wonder.
the path shimmers
the path shimmers with hearts covered in frost
frozen in regret and resentment
dipping. rising. threading in and out.
I long to feel the warm sand beneath my feet
to dip my toes in water fresh
to move past the frozenness of heartache
thaw my heart, oh Lord
I know there is warmth beneath the snow
the shimmering flakes give me hope
the patterns speak of birds in flight
waves of snow covering grains of infinity
each as unique as the snowflake
shimmering. shaking. crying. weeping.
covering the warmth
waiting for the heart to thaw
-Kayce Hughlett at Diamonds in the Sky with Lucy
Dedicated to my mother (who is Pamela McCauley)
She wants me to say that the surgery was successful, she is recuperating at home now, and she really is deeply touched at all of your poems. She wants to thank each one of you personally, but the computer is too far away for her to do it. So… she enlisted me. But she really does thank you all from the bottom of her heart for all your love, prayers, hope and support that you gave her. So, from my mother…. THANK YOU!!!!
A poem is filled with many things,
seen and unforeseen.
It shows how the author feels
by what the poem might mean.
The beautiful stanzas and words,
the way the writing is leaning.
Everything is a clue,
That has a deeper meaning.
For the poet writes what is dwelled upon,
and all inside their life.
The trial and joys they face,
The contest and open strife.
It is very hard to explain
But this is what poets do,
They will write what is in their being,
And give it up to you
In every poem it is the same,
The message lies deep within.
The poet's heart is put on paper,
And lets everyone enter in.
the path holds no pockets of promise
nor does it rise up to touch the light.
It is just smooth.
the path's pits hold wisdom safely
and the mounds above greet the sun
in healed joy.
water stays on the worn path
reflecting it's joy in the shimmers
Only when the flouncy sea has hiked her
skirts up high and left to meet her lover
in the daily deeps,
only then can we see on the beach,
what’s left behind.
Only when our buzzing lives are sidetracked
by the weather, death, some accident
of time that leaves us stranded, makes the
only then can we hear, in the pause,
what’s possible inside.
Wren at The Winding Mind
For Pam: may you be as resilient as a grain of sand.
Grain of sand
in my hand
Tell me your story.
"Born in fire
Thrust up as magma
I spread slowly along the ocean's floor
Sliding, splitting, shoving
Cooling to a crust.
When tectonic plates collided
I reached for the sky
and became the crystalline face of a mountain peak,
that nature's elements sculpted.
The world turned cold.
Ice carved, sheared and fractured my form.
I became rubble,
Locked in a frozen lake.
When the sun's warm touch returned
and released me from my glacial prison,
I tumbled down ridges and trenches, streams and rivers,
Carried by currents of water and air
That dropped me at the ocean's shore.
Now I follow the tide's ebb and flow,
Dancing with the waves,
Resting in shallow pools,
Creating whorls and ripples of beachscape,
on warm skin,
one thing I know for sure:
We are from dust
and to dust we shall return.
-Elaine at Closely Observed
Ripples,catching the light,
drawing me in.
Gritty sandy waves of grief rise and fall.
drawing me deeper
into well worn grooves of pain.
Let go, let go my soul cries.
Salty streams of water gush into every wounded place.
All is released to the tides ebb
Leaving only new ripples to shimmer in the light.
I walked along the beach.
It was cold and grey.
I missed you.
If you had been there
we could have looked for shells
or picked up seaweed
We could have run together
when it rained.
Ghostly whispers carve their words across the sand,
a poem written for the soul. The reader walks and breathes
the salty air, as words dissolve beneath the waves.
The spirits call to him, but he cannot read
their silent stories as he walks. He seeks
answers, but finds only shapes that change.
With eyes closed, he stoops to touch the grains
and lets them fall away. And then he sees, with fingers
warmed by truth, the spirit words that speak.
Scroll down or click here to read about my new prayer card sets!
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts