Our Twenty-Ninth 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!)
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!
The feast of Epiphany was celebrated yesterday in the Christian tradition. It was traditionally held on January 6th but moved a few years ago to the nearest Sunday. Epiphany essentially means a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something. It is those moments when in a flash we have insight into something we did not see before. This week is also the beginning of a new year, that time when we make resolutions and are filled with the hope that this year will be different. What if this year one of your resolutions was to create enough space for epiphanies to happen? What if you made a commitment to slow down enough to see the shimmering web of connections that exists everywhere, just waiting for us to notice?
I invite you to write a poem this week in celebration of epiphanies, of new beginnings, of new ways of seeing. You can write directly from the image below, which was taken on a very foggy morning in Seattle, or let it simply allow intuitive connections to stir.
The fire consumes and hardens
Dissolves and diverges
Whirling me through and around
leaving me unsteady and breathless
alone in the midst of a vast empty dance floor
Awkwardly awaiting my next partner.
A thin, straight young man
Wearing a soft face
And scuffed brown shoes
Steps out from my shadows
Approaching me with tender body.
“To whom do you belong?”
And I wish that I knew.
He extends his closed right hand
And then opens it with deliberate slowness
Until his palm lies perfectly flat and open
Wide open to life
Offering in that exposed grasp
The key to my past and my future
Bound up in just this moment.
I fall into his blue eyes and slow smile when he asks
May I have this dance?
The moment is mine for the taking,
Always has been.
I resist his embrace no longer.
The music begins
And begins again.
Here we go again
Lights! Camera! Action!
Time to get off your butt!
Lose weight! Start your exercise plan!
Become the new you.
The person that you wish you had been
In 2008, in 1996, in 1982.
But the truth is
I don’t want to lose weight. And
the walk along the country roads
with the family dog is enough.
And at the heart of it
who I really want to be is
someone I wouldn’t recognize anyway.
So this year
To gaze out the window
And sip my tea.
COMMENT ON A WAKA BY PRINCESS SHIKISHI
Although she says:
Like the evening dew
soaking a spider’s web,
I only wonder
will I last?
Princess Shikishi is not pointing here to the supposed fleeting nature of reality, or to the transiency of dews or spider webs, or to human mortality. Like the photo, this shimmering waka is about one crystal moment – a poignant joy – when Shikishi, the. poet, BECAME the dew covered web.
It all seemed so fast:
The angel spoke,
the Baby came.
Time to catch her breath!
Then foreign magi
flight to Egypt.
The child grew
and grew strange.
“My Father’s House”?
Three years of wandering
Then the Cross and the Tomb.
How time must have flown for Mary.
Where was her baby boy?
Where was the young man,
speaking in the temple?
What would become of God’s Promise?
How could he be dead?
The longest weekend, ever,
until Sabbath ended
and new life began.
Mary pondered to herself:
“I knew it all along.”
-RevAnne at Stories and Faith
I wager my life on the shells of Epiphanies
Skipping oysters’ homes into belly of a restless sea
I dance amidst the raining stars of Epiphany
Plotting my course on wishes and whims and hunches too deep to ignore
I promise to speak the wandering words of Epiphany
The shifting sands and running waters of revelation ever will be my home
It is late, and my mind is as thick as a foggy morning in Seattle but this photograph intrigues me: the water drops shimmering like jewels, strung together on threads of glitter.
Settled deep within my belly a phantom note begins to stir, pushing gently, at first. Then like a melody known by heart, Its beauty rises through me-
Imagine: a red balloon expanding wide, then even wider, until: POP! [exhale…] It splatters wide, then open-
So glittering vocal and terrifically alive: it expands into and then empties me out.
Lizabeth at Whisperings of Motherhood
After a long hard path,
a sudden shift
and the way opens up.
dazzling before you.
Like a spiders web
shimmering with light.
After holding on to
the tiniest of hope
against all odds
with no explanation.
awash in wonder
each second it gets closer
is it strange that i feel each beat?
is it wrong that it annoys me?
like a dripping faucet,
a constant reminder.
change is needed.
is it worth it?
will i finally be me?
and who will that be?
new year dreams
fragile as the silk of a spider’s web
yet glistening as if jeweled
in the golden light of dawn
-Rebecca at Difference a Year Makes
Crystals glazed on windowpane,
Queen Anne’s lace sprinkling fields,
dew-wet diamond spider’s web
barely able to withstand a puff of breath –
extravagant, gratuitous beauty.
God did not have to take such exquisite care
over every detail, over gossamer death traps
and things so delicate that with a touch
we bruise them, lose them.
-Evelyn Frank Hanna
This Epiphany more than 3 gifts
were brought to the Child of Light.
Of course gold, frankincense, and myrrh
made their way to the center in fine wraps and glittering bows.
In more humble attire diapers and blankets,
and more diapers and bathing accessories
were brought with the tender love and care of mothers
who knew firsthand of the need.
There was food for every meal, for snacks between meals,
for the “get-me-through-the-wee-hours” snacks,
all brought by fathers who had been recipients themselves of these same gifts.
But this Light, born into the center of the web of life,
called forth others, some perceived as more desirable than others.
Music ~ with voice, drum, flute and lyres,
filled the air with celebration and adoration.
Prayers ~ offered from children and elders,
sages and skeptics, common folk and royalty.
Dreams and prophecies ~ from the sparks at the beginning of thyme
and from the recent days as the star shone brightly,
all filled with hope of what was yet to be.
Fears ~ sitting on the edges, unsure if they’re included,
though clearly aware of how connected they are to everyone present.
Doubt ~ also hanging on the edges,
casting shadows in unwanted places.
And this tiny Child, this Center of Light, called out,
“Come, all are welcome:
You who are filled with life and you who are weary.
Come, all are included:
Fears and prayers, food and music, gold and diapers, myrrh and doubt.
My grace is sufficient for each of you.
This web of love will sustain us.
Let this life begin!”
look at the threads i’ve spun
the strong thick ones define my shape
marriage, fatherhood, family, work
slightly changing direction but never breaking
binding these are smaller threads of past decisions
some are strong and unwavering
others are littered with debris but remain intact
and some are broken
a reminder that nothing is perfect
I will continue to weave this web
because it is my life
it is my home
and I love it
Beginnings and a spider web.
Can you see the beginning, of a drop of dew,
can you hear it calling soft and quiet to you,
Can you feel its softenss, cradling there for you
the promise of tomorrows, and Christs promise anew.
on the spokes of a spider’s wheel
like whole notes sitting on the lines
of fresh sheet music,
or even like diamonds
sparkling on a multi-layered
Can you see
now and eternity
for the New Year?
What are you singing?
What jewels will you wear?
What will you catch and
what will you allow
to slip away? And
what are you noticing?
-Martha Louise Harkness
Silently she works.
From where do the thin threads come
Crowned with dew-drop jewels?
The beauty within the seasons of life call us to be still and know God.
Listen and seek: joy for the journey.
In the midst of feeling odd.
There is new life around the bend.
Yet sometimes, the road is longer than we hope.
Into the New Year it is love we send.
Be alive to the grace that is near.
Open our eyes to see as You desire.
Open our ears to hear.
Peace is with us if we choose.
Keep vigilant in prayer.
Unite our faith, let us not lose.
May the Spirit rise in us all to deeply care.
To whom should I be grateful
for the burnished sinking sun
spent fire at day’s end
whose flushed contented calm
so much like ours
is not through merit won?
At whom should I be angry
for the rising plume of smoke
spent fire at life’s end
whose angry pall of horror
shrouds darkly all innocents
both young and old alike?
Elohim El Shaddai
Are you in the burning fire?
Tell me that you hear.
Speak of peace Allaah As-Salam.
Convince me that you care.
The questions hang suspended
from a cross set on the hill
dying breathlessly exposed
like a fox without a lair.
To whom should I be grateful?
In whom can I despair?
As the silence lingers
and thoughts now inward turn
they gently sink beneath the waves
in my deep journey down
down to that steady point
the sacred inner space
beyond senses words and time
to find that firmly burning flame
not ruffled by the wind.
Is that You?
Have You been there all this time?
I missed your smile.
Good to see your smiling face again.
Sit by me.
Let me listen to your love stories.
Elegant woven trap
Fragile easily destroyed
Rain sun anointing warming
Denying the gifts of breath of life of talent
All wasted without or but for the hand of God
-Sunrise Sister at Mind Sieve
Does the spider know
Her weaving revelation
Blesses those who pause?
Invite awaremess –
Create spaces in life’s web,
Room for insight.
stronger than steel
lighter than silk
no wonder humans fear
you spun the universe into being
you’ll be here after our species’ cycle is complete
-Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse
Like a veil parted,
beauty and truth
in moments of time.
Gifts for the wise
fools following a star,
whispers of angels
in the ears of the lost.
The first shafts of Spring,
strings of dewy pearls
o’er crisp fresh snow
“Here is the Lord!”
-Andy at a man breathing
In many ways, I’m normal.
But now they have labeled me
“Permanently and totally disabled.”
The money’s great but the stares scar
As I, in my wheely chair,
Roll down the road of this new life.
Many days, it’s life in the electric bed,
the whiney breathing machine,
and the black sack of drugs.
Pastor Larry’s granddaughter
Was born without fingers
Today fireworks flash in the sky!
Today flames crackle in my heart!
They may call me limited
This is my own private Epiphany.
This is my own Holy gift.
I am complete.
I am whole.
In God’s eyes
I am perfect!
Isaiah….. son of Amoz…..
Yesh’yahu “the salvation of Jehovah”
Cry out; sing to us a song of joy –
Good News – Too wonderful to comprehend.
“God’s bright glory has risen for you.
Jehovah’s sunrise glory breaks over you.
Look around! Watch as they gather.
Watch as they approach you.
Sons coming from great distances.
Daughters carried by their nannies.
Streams in the desert…….
Children from faraway places,
Filling the Holy City with precious jewels,
Diamonds of flesh and blood,
Singing the praises of God.
—open house day and night!—
—two diametric opposites—
—now indistinguishable….one from the other—-
Not long ago you were despised refuse—
out-of-the-way, unvisited, ignored.
But now, now…..
You’ll know that I, God, am your Savior.
You’ll have no more need of the sun by day
Nor the brightness of the moon at night.
God will be your eternal light,
Your God will bathe you in splendor.
Your sun will never go down,
Your moon will never fade.
I will be your eternal light.
Your days of grieving are over.
God’s Dawning Epiphany…..
Jehovah’s glory breaks over you…….
An interpretation of Isaiah 60 incorporating words taken from
Eugene Peterson’s translation of The Message and my own…..
–Jon E. Strother 01/08/09
Web of creation
Weaver’s woven mystery
Fragile steel and light
We hear about the power of all kinds of webs and networks; for instance, maybe I can’t put out my hand and touch you directly but I can touch my neighbor who in turn can reach and touch you…like ripples from the stone thrown into still water, life begets life begets life. But in business, creative and professional worlds sometimes it looks as if the higher on the food chain consume and kill those lower ones rather than touching and healing them.
The world wide web has become part of everyday, an inter-net intertwining countless lives, birthing new named communities amidst pervasive anonymity and alienation. How many once strangers have become friends? What ideas have we exchanged? What dreams have we helped each other recognize and grow?
Holding a web close to my face I can focus on a discrete part of a whole. Viewing through the net at arm’s length I clearly see separate facets containing countless variation within its own bounded yet interconnected space.
-Leah Sophia at This Far by Faith
set for you
Shake one off
and a bounty falls.
See? Do you see?
Diamonds just there
Jesus. enough for all
-bobbie mcgarey at Awakening a Keen Observer
So that’s how You did it…
are doing it.
The cosmos bursting into being
from the hanging globule of pure light
held by some miraculous power
that must be love.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
Hold us so spinning
with the jewels of our abundance
dancing in the darkness,
knowing the strand is
attached to You
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
-Christine Eleanor Merritt
(c) Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts