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Invitation to Poetry: Stirring in the Belly

Invitation to Poetry

This is the 31st 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!)

Happy Feast of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day!

Imbolc is a Celtic feast that is cross-quarter day, meaning it is the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.  The sun marks the four Quarter Days of the year (the Solstices and Equinoxes) and the midpoints are the cross-quarter days.  In some cultures today is the official beginning of spring.

As the days slowly lengthen and the sun makes her way higher in the sky, the ground beneath our feet begins to thaw.  The earth softens and the seeds deep below stir in the darkness.  The word “imbolc” means “in the belly.”  The earth’s belly is beginning to awaken, new life is stirring, seeds are sprouting forth. So even though many of you reading this may not see the signs of spring anywhere, they are there beneath the ground.

Candlemas and Imbolc are traditionally a time to look forward.  I invite you to write a poem to help notice what the new life stirring within your own belly feels like or the stirring in the world around you deep beneath the frozen ground.


Stirring in the Belly

Beneath the quilt of
winter’s fleece stirs
the faith of spring,
earth’s vision of beauty
pressing against time.

Stirring in the belly
of Providence, the gift
and burden of Eden’s love,
trust and hope in the
summer of another’s youth.

-Andy at a man breathing



Chant for St. Brigid’s Feast Day
(text and melody, Trinity College,
Dublin MS 80, Ireland, early 15th c.)
__ __ __

The day of rejoicing is come,
In which the holy virgin Brigid
From the shadows of misery
passes to the realms of light.

From a modest station
She strove to serve God,
Mighty in the gift of purity
She was pleasing unto the Bridegroom on high.

As a sign of her virtue
The wood of the altar which had dried out
By a touch of the hand of the virgin
Was at once made green again.

This is Ireland’s laurel
Whose green verdure never fades,
Filled with loving kindness
She fails none who entreat her aid.

For ages without end
To God alone be glory,
Who by the prayers of such a virgin
Leads us to the Kingdom of Heaven.
__ __ __

Chant translation  from the  liner notes by Altramar Ensemble,
“Crossroads of the Celts,” DORIAN CD Recording 93177, 1999
submitted by kigen at Early Women Masters

Crows in the Belly

In the belly
so dark, past wounding
crows emerge; like witnesses
to a prayer service under
a canvas tent.

Wings raised in angles
decrepit of praise and pain.

On his back lays the slain.
Warm hands
Combing ruffled feathers.

-Tom Delmore at Crow’s Perch



How are you going
to make the journey
from underground?

You might be
stepped on
chewed up
mown down.

You will be spent.

How will the distance take you
from the darkness of the dirt
to the lightness of the day?

Going deeper
essential and connected,
your flower will bear
no likeness
to your roots.

-Linda Lee


her soul feels so thirsty
her spirit is parched and dry
she comes to the fountain in fernwood
and drinks a mystery there
the ancient seed within her
she waters with her tears
and though it still is winter
a tiny bud appears

-Stacy at A Magic Mom and Her Mandalas


I am Yet a Bud

When my hair is not only
streaked with gray
but is gleaming  silver
from root to tip,

When wrinkles deepen
and my skin loosens
joints crack and my bones
ache with the weight of years,

When great age finds me,
I will be both more and less
Than I have ever been.

Then will I unfold,
And my blooming will be so great
That my beauty will be
Terrible to behold.

-Rebecca Johnson


Over and over the cycle:
I am vessel and mid-wife –
My task, to self bless
the seasonal stirrings of birth.
Tended, I emerge;
I bloom;
I thrive


Guardian of Seed Dreams:
An Ode to My Sister

Each seed holds
a promise,
a dream
for tomorrow.

Even when they are
tucked away
in their winter beds,
they contain mystery.

Deep in the dark soil,
they shed their skin
and start the
search for spring.

And you,
the keeper of these dreams
also hold a promise.
A promise to protect

the vintage and the rare,
the kaleidoscope of characters
that risk being ignored
or overrun.

Faithfully, yet
quite without notice,
you make sure
the secrets are not lost.

I always knew
that my dreams
were safe
with you.

-Pam McCauley


Full of promise,
to the warmth
of the spring sun.
from slumber.
Tingling with life,
inexplicably drawn
by a force
beyond comprehension.

Easily stunted
by an icy grip
that looms,
with each nightfall.
Easily destroyed
by the hungry mouths
that would thoughtlessly

But hope
Giving up
is not
an option.
almost imperceptibly,
keep reaching
for the light.

-Amy at A Square Peg Breaks Free


At least

I hunger for Thee –
Let me gaze at You at least.
My heart aches for Thee –
Kill me softly with your Song.
Or rub my belly at least.

-Monkheart at Blessed Movements

in the bareness of winter
a bud breaks forth
giving one hope
green growth to follow.

-Michael Dunford


Death and life
beginning and end
death and resurrection
jobs lost and jobs searched for
income threatened and new homes found

all of these outside of me
balls rolling with ends and beginnings
run together

how do these rolling balls
outside my belly
cause my belly to stir

-Paul Tomlinson at First Presbyterian Church


reminds us
of her
she comes..
calling us to
recognise her
to respond
to her…
to change….

-Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes


Purple Purpose

Purple-tipped spears
Pressing earth’s skin
Piercing earth’s belly
Pushing life outward
Purposeful plan

-Lisa Barnes at Eghersis




for the great belly planet belly
ancient wrinkled scarred belly
blue belly planet belly earth


just the right distance from a star

and pushing
a slender shoot
toward light.

And sing for these other bellies:

my belly
hiding toes

her belly
where your brother grows

his belly
holding all the beer halls of Octoberfest.

Sing for the:

great belly
downy belly
sweet belly
jelly belly

belly roll

and below.

Dear God,

thank you
for these

and this great belly earth

that carries

the weight
of us all.


-Richard Wells at Resident Djinn


O God,
The ground is crisply
numbing ice

O God,
My dreams are gone
slippery Ice

O God
My world is numbing
muddy ice

O God,
My heart is weeping
frigid ice

Are you sleeping… absent… dead?
O God of Cold and Ice…?

O God,
Somewhere inside,
Cracked,  twisted, cold,
Purple Hope

O God
I search for you, ,
I pray… Seek… Long
For spring

In me.

-Singing Owl at The Owl’s Song


Topsy-turvey tippy-toed dancers
poised to perform
their tiny ballet

Hushed and still
they wait the opening note
and nod from their Maestro

-Sunrise Sister at Mind Sieve


~To my wife who is also my best friend

Two seeds on the wind
Two seeds in a strange land
Two seeds take root
Two seeds begin to sprout
Two seeds share a whisper
Grow old with me

~Steve Newcomb

~For Steve

just us 2
side by side
me and you
and our guide
take the plunge
enjoy the ride
just us 2
side by side
jump right in
feet first or dive
just us 2
side by side
no one
can break our stride
just us 2
side by side
till we grow old
and our bums grow wide
just us 2
side by side
me and you
and our guide.

~Nichol Newcomb

It’s just a slow turning.

Snow melt has softened my crustiness.

Soil blanket is warming my heart

by anticipated increments.

Slowly, today or some soon sun-day

I will stick my head out

for a tentative look-see.

In the ‘hood

I hear the lilac roots

gossiping about the big world out there.

Eager and loathe to raise my head into the madding crowd,

this is for the memories of all  ancestral plants.

this is for the memories of cold, slow winter days.

this is  for coiled energy stored in my sister seeds.

this is for the memories of warm, vibrant summer days.

This is  for the slowly turning wheel.

-Beth Patterson at Virtual Teahouse



I remembered
hues of lavender
deepening toward
the edges
of fine new petals
all wrapped in a bud
upon a tall stem of green,
strong green.

And I asked, When
will another burst forth
from the darkness beneath
the heavy blanket of snow?

This was my answer:

Not until it has melted
and quenched her fervent thirst
will she be seen,
unfolding with hope and joy.

Learning, I wait as my own life
takes in Christ. I know it too
will blossom ever so slowly,
with tones of royal azure
deepening toward the edges.
Yet another Promise from
winters and springs gone by.
Green, strong green,
He comes.

-Martha Louise Harkness


Twelve billion year old stardust
seeds, imbedded memories
remember. Tightly wound
paperthin heads poke through
the fertile ground of being
seeking sunlight with an instinct
born in ancient swirling cosmos,
dancing to the songs of angels,
stretching their faces to the heavens,
singing and praying “Adoramus Te.”

-Rich at Pilgrim Path


tender shoots
from hard frozen ground
delicately poised
tightly furled
trembling anticipation

…rebecca at Difference a Year Makes


days of future present

parched ground cracks
slurp up today’s
early february hint-of-spring rains
that soften the soil for fertile seeds

the earth opens wide
for a surprise of new life
my feet slip in every direction
my belly and my brain feel seasick

like cross-quarter days
neither fully the last season
nor wholly the next one
being on any threshold
makes maintaining any sort of balance
more than uncertain…

the pointer sisters sang “jump for my love”*
the liminal can’t hold us steady where we used to live,
so I’m telling us to jump in!
I am the one, you are the one, we are the ones…
heaven on earth waits here at the door

then jump for the love,
for the life of the world
so jump into spring
jump into easter
jump into spring!

-Leah Sophia at This Far by Faith
*”Jump (for my love)” written by Steve Mitchell, Marti Sharron & Gary Skardina; performed by The Pointer Sisters

Imbolc, Postulancy

I stir, uncurl, come back
from the long unconscious slumber
of a scholar lost among words
jumbled up in hip deep drifts
of pages overfull with rich food that cuts
at the soft edges of my soul.
I wake up to the the guilt of precious things
let go: because I thought, I must.
I stretch past the dark buds of deadlines
and the wet damp earth of formation
and remember the who that planted.
Something tiny as a seed shifts, moves,
comes alive and I shiver a little
with joy at the feeling of something
stirring again deep, deep inside.

-Tandaina at Left Turn at Joy

-Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts


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23 Responses

  1. Imbolc Postulancy
    I stir, uncurl, come back
    from the long unconscious slumber
    of a scholar lost among words
    jumbled up in hip deep drifts
    of pages overfull with rich food that cuts
    at the soft edges of my soul.
    I wake up to the the guilt of precious things
    let go: because I thought, I must.
    I stretch past the dark buds of deadlines
    and the wet damp earth of formation
    and remember the who that planted.
    Something tiny as a seed shifts, moves,
    comes alive and I shiver a little
    with joy at the feeling of something
    stirring again deep, deep inside.