Invitation to Poetry: Celebrate the Gifts of Being

Poetry Party Number Nineteen! 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!)

Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog and encourage others to come join the party! (a blog is definitely not required to participate!)

The photo below is of course of my beloved Abbess Petunia.  This is the first time she stars as the prompt for a Poetry Party.  She teaches me many things, but her total abandon when it comes to rest is one of the most precious gifts she offers.  I have been thinking a lot about Sabbath these days because summer is coming when my husband’s and my schedule slow quite down a bit and we make time to relish relationship, to linger, to make discoveries in the sacred space of being rather than doing.  So my invitation to you for this week’s Poetry Party is to celebrate the gifts of being — what do you discover in those still spaces and holy pauses?  Where are you invited to release the hold of doing and surrender to something much bigger?


Come on, come on, come on
beg limpid eyes and a streaming banner of a tail
run with me
play with me
be with me

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
outside the fence, beyond the borders where we’re free
live with me
dance with me

fly with me

Just be, just be, just be
flopped in the grass, panting and grinning, lord of all he sees
rest with me
watch with me
roll with me

Live now, live now, live now
be here, be present, be alive in this exact moment
no worries
no cares
no fears

Come on
Let’s go
Just be
Live now

-Anne Sims at Stories and Faith


Ito, Hirom1 (b. 1955)
(translation. from “Other Side River:
Contemporary Japanese Women’s Poetry”)

(Part II) from THE COYOTE

My two-month-old daughter
Just started talking
The coyote speaks to her
When it speaks she just smiles
On and on and on
When the coyote says a dry plain
My daughter says plain, plain, plain
If the coyote says I’m hungry
My daughter says I’m hungry too
When the coyote laughs
My daughter says huh-ugh

My daughter’s father said:
I want to concentrate on the coyote. I want to isolate myself
See nothing other than the coyote
I want to be the coyote
My own father said the same thing.

(submitted by kigen)

Taking a Nap in the Afternoon with my Schnauzers

It is Tuesday.
We have just finished our lunch
And retired to the purple sectional sofa.
Some people are at work; others are out walking —
Both people and dogs — but we are not concerned.
We are going to sleep.

My dogs rest more easily than I:
They don’t appear to weather any guilt at all
For the birds that will not be chased,
The passers-by who will not be scolded,
The toilet paper that will go unshredded
While they slumber in the middle of the day.

Phoebe lies with her head hidden behind a throw pillow
As if she is whispering secrets,
Or she stretches out on her back,
All four feet flying in the air,
As though the purple couch were a magic carpet,
Or a river, a slow moving river of dreams.

Lola climbs on top of the cushions,
Like a little night watchman taking her station,
Not wanting to miss a thing.
Later, when I have settled,
She will move right next to me,
Spine against thigh, and snore.

Once I have dozed off, I wonder
If they wake each other up and watch
To see if my leg twitches, or my arm jerks.
When I start making small sound effects
They will look at each another and say, “People dream,”
And then slowly close their eyes.

-Milton Brasher-Cunningham at Don’t Eat Alone


Sabbath Moment

Why is it so much more
For me with my over-developed
To slow down, stop all that

How can I learn this elusive
Of being present in the
Of surrender to the precious

Perhaps the need to learn is
Part of the overwhelmingly cerebral
I release the need to learn how to
let go.

Flop down, roll over, be.

-Tess at Anchors and Masts


Across the meadow
of wildflowers and sweetgrass.
a doe runs free;
the girl at the forest edge
with her sketchbook and brush.




Salt on my lips
sand washes away underfoot
female without follower
no longer feeding my young

I hear seals–
left by elephant mothers
now journeying deep,
rolling in mating dances
beyond baby’s blurry eyes–

Gather in a wet rocky cradle
like a lap their mothers didn’t offer
Curl confident on kelp pillows
Play wargames, croak, open mouths

Show short sharp teeth
Hold back, not breaking the skin,
Still fat with milk,
hunting far in the future,

Dark water a playground
before school begins,
where teens shrouded in black
curse and spit–

My aging eyes can’t tell
male or female, as they shift
together, then part, beneath
the clatter of wings.

I watch gulls–
gray oars against gray sky,
lights on, race from this cove
beyond cow-trodden hillsides,
an arc away from now–

Circle turned back to times
I’ve heard them scream and drop,
called to a schoolyard harvest
of careless litter, land’s riches

offered by our overfilled children,
their sated appetites nothing like birds,
forever hungry, rushing on wings
held aloft by the breath of the sea.

-Catherine at clwriter



the day folds into itself
like small hands
praying at the side of the bed.

we are done
for now
with the trembling world
of necessary and unnecessary things.

we begin
to settle into ourselves,
into the undivided, unhurried place
that waited faithfully and with enduring patience
for our homecoming.

in this place
we are more near the Hope
which daily saves us –
closer to what language does not touch.

a thousand cares fall from us,
so that we are emptied of striving
and our binding self consciousness.

inside this vacancy we become less demanding,
more accepting
so that all our beautiful, empty hands will hold
is this one poem and contentment.

-Laure at Selah



Living in the eternal now
Fully engaged
in the activity of the moment

Letting go fully
When what needs to be done
Has been done

Responding with focus
Bringing energy and passion
To the work of the day

Is this what it means
To enjoy life in fullness?
Let it be

-Mavis at set the bird free



Brother Benedict hunches over his desk,
scribing 73 rules for his monks,
beginning with the word,

The Abbess Petunia rolls over,
reclines and dreams the word,

When we grant ourselves holy rest,
wisdom settles on us like dust between breezes.
The stillness that lies between our breaths,
gives our oblate hearts precious time to love.

-Rich at Pilgrim Path


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

She snoozes in a comfy spot
At peace. At rest. A-dreamin’…
Her paws chase after rabbits.
Her nose twitches as she mumbles a “woof”
And I smile.

She is. She knows.
At peace. At rest. A-dreamin’…
And yet not.
The first jingle of a leash and collar
And she’s up with a shake and wag.

:What’s next? Where we goin’?:
She wrinkles her brows with question marks dancing over her head.
:Who’s here? Time to play?:
Her tail wags, she smiles at me.

“No, silly dog. Go back to sleep. I’m just cleaning off the counter.”

She slumps back on the bed.
Blinks twice and yawns.
Her tail thumps a wag. Once or twice.
She drifts back to the rabbits…

At peace. At rest. A-dreamin’…

-Deb at An Unfinished Symphony


nirvana ecstasy 7th heaven
zen meditation mystic contemplation
slain in the spirit
resting in God
what dog knows

-Diane at Faith in Community


Empty is the hollow of a bowl
Empty are the spaces in a melody
Empty is a Sabbath of our work

Peaceful Sabbath we say,
“Come in peace, angels of peace”

Perhaps peace
is an emptying
after all…

The “Come in peace, angels of peace” is paraphrased from the traditional Shabbat song Shalom Aleichem:

Peace be with you, ministering angels
Messengers from the Most High
Who come from the King, the King of Kings
The Holy One, Blessed be He.

Enter in peace, angels of peace
Messengers from the Most High
Who come from the King, the King of Kings
The Holy One, Blessed be He.

Bless me with peace, angels of peace
Messengers from the Most High
Who come from the King, the King of Kings
The Holy One, Blessed be He.

May you go in peace, angels of peace
Messengers from the Most High
Who come from the King, the King of Kings
The Holy One, Blessed be He.)

-submitted by Wendy at The Healing Table


I Am
isn’t only
for the bush,
I Am
as I Am,
but am I
as I will be?
There is
left to be
for I Am
altogether different
than who
I Am was
Do not try
to nail down
I am-ness
for like
a bush, burning
I Am
was only
a dry weed
until I Am
consumed me.

-Tandaina at Snow on Roses

Time suspended in space, or maybe ‘pause’ refers to immeasurable minutes. Still but never ever static ways of just being and receptive, too…Abbess Petunia has the amazing gift of abandoning herself to the moment, in the moment, and I need the same ability to release the nearly compulsive “hold of doing.” Christine mentioned Sabbath, and we read in Genesis 2:3

So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

a few blogs ago I quoted

…and the forgetfulness of our sleep is strange and beautiful in itself–and what would you rather have than sleep?

multiple searches have failed to yield its origin, though I do not believe those were my original words (but maybe I did write it)… However, the ability of someone like Petunia to rest without guilt, the talent my cats – like PumpkinMarigold in my featured pic – possess and happily own to fall asleep in a heartbeat are gifts most humanoids would welcome and could use, but what I’d “rather have than sleep” would be even more precious than restful, dream-filled sleep: it’s the *where* of place and the *who* of people safe enough for me to dare abandon my worries, fears and anxieties, whether I’m waking, sleeping or inbetween.

-Leah Sophia at This Far by Faith



Martha is alive
and well in America.
My To Do list
consumed me.

First, it was
“My life is a To Do list.”
Then, it became
“I am a To Do list.”

Often, as my To Do list
sat glaring at me on my desk,
I would get phone call
after phone call.

Nothing crossed off.
The edge in my voice.
Glancing at the clock.
Frustration building.

The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha,
you are anxious and worried
about many things..”

Finally, I realized
that God had his own
To Be list for me.
Be open to what will come.

Really Be with people
in their lives.
When paper lists
try to taunt me,

I laugh and
remind them
that ”Mary has chosen
the better part.”

-Pam McCauley



the floor,
in the air—


we love,

-Martha Louise Harkness


-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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