Invitation to Poetry: Waiting, Watching

Invitation to Poetry

Our 9th Poetry Party — what fun!  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 on Friday again from everyone who participates and will send the winner a copy of my newest zine Callings.

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 will be the last party until the new year.

I created the image below with photos of some of my female ancestors.**  I imagine them as a part of the “cloud of witnesses” in my life and often have an image of them watching and waiting to see how I will honor their memory in the way I live my own life.  In Christian tradition this is the season of Advent, a season of waiting and watching. I invite you to write your own celebration or lament about the process of waiting and watching. 

*****

Love All

She thought that
the first time she knew
she really loved him was when

he walked past as she
sat with pad and pen
waiting, watching for the first
half-formed crumb that would
lead her out of the block and
into the forest
and he didn’t ask
“What are you writing?”
even though his eyes wanted to.

Then she thought that
it was the first time she knew
that he really loved her
too.

-Sue at Discombobula

*****

Watching.

Listening

Sometimes straining.

Waiting.

Waiting for a sign.

A sign?

What sort of sign?

Why a sign?

I have direct communication with the All That Is.

I have only to stop all my watching and straining.

Stop my waiting.

Listen now.

Be now.

Being.

-Lisa Poole at Groggy Froggy

*****

Eyes Wide Open!

Happy Birthday Emily Dickinson!  born 12/10/1830

The following is a short excerpt from a much longer reflection by Emily Fowler Ford
(1826-1893) on what it was like growing up with Emily Dickinson in Amherst,
Massachusetts:

“Our parents were friends, and we knew each other from childhood, but she was
several years younger, and how and when we drew together I cannot recall, but I
think the friendship was based on certain sympathies and mutual admirations of
beauty in nature and ideas. She loved the great aspects of nature and yet was full
of interest and affection for its smaller details. We often walked together over the
lovely hills of Amherst, and I remember especially two excursions to Mount
Norwottock, five miles away, where we found the climbing fern, and came home laden
with pink and white trilliums, and later, yellow lady’s-slippers. She knew the
wood-lore of the region round about, and could name the haunts and the habits of
every wild or garden growth within her reach. Her eyes were wide open to nature’s
sights, and her ears to nature’s voices.”

-shared by kigen

*****

Royal and regal
Grandmother ruled the house,
my mother’s mother.
She ruled the family, and the church,
iron fist in velvet glove,
and heart of pure gold.
Her love was fierce
and sometimes frightening.
And yet, I miss her.

My father’s mother is with us still,
In body but not in mind.
She was the indulgent one,
the tender one,
the easy one.
Now I do not know her.
I have missed her for years.

Mother, aunt, sister, friends,
I treasure you now
with gold and purple memories,
special days and laughter,
kind words and comfort.
Too soon I will miss you too…
and keep alive your memory
Gold and purple for the royalty you are,
for the place you hold in my heart.

-Anne Sims at Stories and Faith

***** 

A mandala glows
through the studio window–
December sun;
this blank canvas is complete
enveloped with your presence.

b’oki

*****

Two Mothers

I wait with her
practicing patience
nurturing hope
asking my questions
facing my doubts
my expectations growing
as her body swells with life.

And then

        BIRTH!

A bursting into the world!
Angels! Singing!
Stars and Light
The Christ has come to earth!
Silently, say the songs
but I would suppose
a lusty, robust, vigorous wail
To announce such new life
                Such good news
                        Such possibility. 

I wait too with the other
as she descends into darkness
stilling , quieting.
Life stirs in her
deeply and unseen.
Beneath the frozen ground
        heartbeats slow
        seeds wait
        sap thickens and ceases to flow
        creatures huddle in their dens
        sleepy with the lullaby of winter.

And then

        birth.

Quietly, almost imperceptibly
the light comes for the briefest of moments.
Only one moment more than yesterday
but She is relentless in her
determination to return,
to increase in strength each day
to draw out the spirit
that will quicken all life.

These two Mothers,
Giving birth in me.
At times with fanfare
        And celebration
But most often
        In darkness,
                Quietly,
Thawing the tiny seeds of possibility
Awakening me to what will be.

-Rebecca Johnson

*****

“the eyes of my ancestry”

the eyes of my ancestry. 
hollow & vacant.  cold & elusive.  barren of love. 
are they my eyes?  my fate?

do those eyes still watch & judge? 
or do they weep for their veiled dreams?

might I be their eyes today?
might I see things differently & shed grace where once was derision?
might their eyes be washed clear by my tears?

the eyes of my ancestry. 
are they watching now?
were they ever?

-Kayce Hughlett at Diamonds in the Sky with Lucy

*****

From clouded silence their
sharp eyes see too far. Judging.

Does death wipe out all the
mistakes those living eyes made?

Am I to be allowed no excuse
for my human inadequacies?

I will not wait for death to
give me frozen, far-seeing eyes.

I will rejoice in my stumbling
jerky progress, here, now.

I will hold high my lamp.
I will not be afraid. No!

-Tess Marshall at Anchors and Masts

*****

The eyes in the car window gaze back at me
They’re my mother’s eyes
No, they’re my eyes!

I feel old
I feel sad
I look away

I look back yearning for more
I see eyes in the car window gaze back at me
They’re my daughter’s eyes
No, they’re my eyes!

I feel renewed and so grateful…..

Sunrise Sister
*****

Grandma Eyes

That’s my Nana Carol at the top.
She looks at me with eyes that are clever and conniving.
Episcopalian eyes that look at my Grandpa with silent nagging.
Eyes that, in this generation, would have glanced critically over her large staff of 
   underlings.

My Nana Helen is at the bottom.
She watches me with dancing brown eyes that once captured the hearts of many young
   men.
University of Michigan eyes that once held promise and earned A’s.
Eyes that, in this generation, would have later been deadened by drugs and shock
   treatment.

Me, I am in the middle.
I watch you with eyes that are big and bold, far-away and focused.
Psychology eyes that sneak past your skin to find the reasons you do what you do.
Eyes that, in this generation, supervise workers, smile at her baby, gaze longingly
at her
   husband.
Eyes that finally perceive the whole world, feel fully fulfilled and fully alive.

-Suz Reaney

*****

I have beautiful eyes
and a face full
of love for you.
I have secrets
becoming gentler
for you.
I have sweetness
in a hidden heart
for you.
My eyes are open
for you
and my soul
sees you
knows you
holds you
again
and again
and again.

-Theresa Walker

*****

Women of yesterday

you watch
with love and expectation.
The threads you gave,
we’ve woven into a golden tapestry
of knowing love.

Each step I take,
a shower of blessings.
Each mistake I’ve made,
you soothe my ragged heart
with silent witness
and acceptance

for all I’ve tried to be,
all I’ve become,
and all you’ve bequeathed to me…

Your lives woven with mine,
unseen hands holding my heart
breathing yes to eternity…

-Kathy Flugel Stone

*****

Their eyes –
peering out of our souls,
mothers and grandmothers.

Having left their
hand prints in our lives
in many ways, unknown.

Secrets of life struggles
still hidden deeply,
not to be discovered

Only sensed through
the echoes of our yearnings.
Their stories in our dreams
and hopes and fears.

Our spirits, like rivers,
intermingle with theirs
flowing as one to the sea.

-Pamela McCauley
*****

Sad eyes (with no faces) could be a daughter’s eyes: 
with a troubled son, her blurred eyes full of pain;
could be her mother’s eyes: a lonely, disappointed wife; 
could be her mother’s eyes: confined to her bed, 
sensing she would die without ever seeing her baby.

Sad eyes (with no faces; no smiles, no rosy cheeks)
just sad, soulful eyes that conceal the secrets 
of a mother, longing; 
belie the tale of her mother dying; 
a daughter crying when all hope has gone, 
but left its imprint in the tear-soaked earth. 
There a seed will grow 
and the hidden faces will be seen.

-Martha Louise Harkness

*****
we wait,
peering out from
behind hats and scarves
amid the multitude
hidden among
plain and poor
adorned and rich
eyes that speak of royalty
their greatest majesty that
which they watch
patiently waiting for fulfillment
teasing us with past deeds
waiting in response
waiting for response to
their challenge to do better still

Ymp 

*****

Windows, tiny panes of glass;
clear, hard, shining crystal. You there, without
and I, within. What see you, peering in,
through panes of leaded glass
in blue, or brown, or foggy grey.
Do you see me, living here,
within a house that guards a soul,
a precious burning, fiery ache
to look out and see you, truly
seeking for the truth that hides, within.

Come, and lean your head in close
till veils, our mingled hair fall round,
hiding secret sacred words;
and clasp my fingers, burning now
an eager fire banked within.
For in the dark, cold winter of my soul
He came in silence and begged a place,
within. And I opened, dear beloved, space.
Now look again, through
clear bright glass and see,
that in this holy temple grows a life anew,
and I breath divinity to birth.

Tandaina at Snow on Roses 

*****

Deb Vaughn shares this image she discovered upon waking to represent her need to be watchful this season:

*****

Robin in the Orchard

I feel my mate stir next to me and I uncover.
Brightness beyond the tallest trees
tells me when to drop below,
down where the light
will touch the wet and shine, shine with cold.

Cold flows over my feet,
silent, still,
only the earliest voices sound,
crows marking location. High in the needle trees
they wait, hoping
something they can eat will be careless and linger too long
as the light grows.

We stay together,
not far above the fallen fruit and leaves,
warm decay rising all around.

We listen,
warm light will wake what we eat,
its eagerness to move in the dead growth will
betray it,
we will drop upon it.

Our voices will rise in the still air,
lift above the bare branches,
song,
fulfillment of desire,
awaken to flight.

Again and again we rise, we fall.
Living food
calls us to the steaming earth,
light stirs us higher and higher
into the sky.

by Catherine Montague
December 21, 2006
Winter Solstice

*****

Eyes in the Dark

Eyes that glow in the dark,
Two moons circling. What do
They want? Why do
They invade my dreams
And call my name?

Not dreams. There are
No more dreams save this one.
If eyes are the window
To the soul, are these souls
Damned for all time?

Like us, are they trapped?
Where is their home?
I must try to understand,
To help them. In freeing them,
We free ourselves.
Eyes that glow in the dark.

Kievas Fargo (inspired by an episode of Star Trek-TNG) 

*****

MARY’S LAMENT

When the women first heard
the news, they turned away,
unwilling to hear the truth,
fearing my dear Joseph
would run. But then,
when he stayed
and my belly swelled,
they fought one another
for a chance to touch me.
As my hopes grew stronger,
I eagerly dreamed of birthing
this Child. Soon, as always,
the women grew bored
as I became just another
young girl with child. If only
they’d looked in my eyes.

-Rich Murray at Pilgrim Path

*****
in winters past
in winters past

aching for heaven’s descent to the earth
yearning for justice to reign
a new-minted year at the end of an old
as advent blue darkens into winter solstice and
epiphany light!
world in snow bright!
then hibernate to heal.
into a cool calm blue chill.
waiting for easter dawn
new life at the end of the cold: the winter’s passed!

-Leah Sophia at This Far by Faith

*****
*****

When you’re done writing your poetry and submitting it to me, click over to see what adorable things chartreuse ova is creating for her own Art for Advent commitment. 

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

**Technical Details: Base is a 10×10 inch wooden board covered with glass bead medium and gold acrylic paint; vintage photos scanned, cropped, printed, and mounted with gel medium; yellow tissue paper adhered with gel medium; light molding paste added around some of the photo edges; purple liquid acrylic paint drizzled and some of it brushed to blend with the molding paste.  

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