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Invitation to Poetry: Light & Shadow

Welcome to our 36th Poetry Party!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections. Add them in the comments section and a link to your blog (if you have one).  Make sure to check the comments for new poems added and I encourage you to leave encouraging comments for each other either here or at the poet’s own blog.

ADDED NOTE: Mister Linky is acting kind of funny and not loading properly and slowing down the loading of my blog, so for now we’re doing this the old-fashioned way and posting the poems and links in the comments section.  Thanks!

Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog if you have one and encourage others to come join the party! (permission is granted to reprint the image if a link is provided back to this post)

On Friday, June 5th, I will draw a name at random from those who participate and send the winner a signed copy of my book Lectio Divina: Contemplative Awakening & Awareness.


The Poetry Party Theme: Light & Shadow

11shadow  by you.This week’s theme is in honor of my dear friend lucy with whom I co-facilitate a monthly supervision group using the expressive arts.  For our session last week she invited the participants to go on a little photographic journey exploring shadow and light. 

I decided to take some of the time to engage in the exercise myself. It was a brilliant day and so shadows abounded.  It was fascinating to follow each invitation to the next, noticing where my attention was being drawn. I took a lot of photos of shadows of various things (and I’ll post some of those later in the week) but the image to the right remains my favorite. My own shadow image holding my camera and a beautiful tree.  I continue to sit with what I notice about these two shadows in relationship to each other and the illuminated space between us. Summer shadows have a darker intensity and can reveal the shape of things.

In the brilliant light of days growing longer, what do we encounter in the shadows that may have been hidden to us before?  What do you discover in the interplay between shadow and light?  You can write your poem directly in response to the image, or allow it to be a jumping off point for your own musings on the theme.


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

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35 Responses

  1. Well, I too, like Anita, seemed to have missed the event altogether, but can’t resist posting late – since I have been travelling and only returned home Thursday – please allow me this indulgence…

    This poem is more about finding some light in a dark time in my life – not sure if it fits into the light & shadow category exactly, but here goes….

    “I Danced my Good-Bye’s”

    She said to light a candle, and speak of the beauty that lies within….
    But I didn’t know the words……

    So I danced in the morning – woke the sun from her slumber,
    And I cried with the moon shining full in my face,
    Laughed with abandon when others just snickered,
    Refused to be put in my place….

    Tiptoed naked through backyard roses
    and sang a love song to myself
    Got angry at God, but still let Him love me
    in spite of this loss of my health….

    I waited for music to stir in my belly
    So pregnant with longing and unspoken truths
    Admitted my failures and blessed all my triumphs
    Traced tender forgiveness through all of my grooves….

    Imagined a life full of passion & wonder
    Even though I believed more in pain & despair
    Dared to walk barefoot into the dark desert
    Sunk into silence and met myself there…..

    All the while her candle was burning
    The words and the melody glowing with pride
    Amazed at the birthing so violent and messy
    I watched life emerging – while part of me died…..

    So fragrant the love my dear Goddess was giving
    I drunken & dizzy returned to my home
    Discovered a mother, a father, a lover
    Inside my own bosom – a place all my own…..

    Divorced from the need for a husband to soothe me
    The ache of his leaving beginning to fade
    I suckled the new woman wailing & weeping
    Changed funeral proceedings into a parade….

    And where was this woman so fearful & needy
    Who used to regard me with desperate eyes?
    She was not abandoned, her moon was still shining
    In the light of her fire – I danced my good-byes….

    And here I am standing with beauty so welcome
    And how can I speak looking full in her face?
    She smiles and then winks with mischevious compassion
    “I think you’ve just spoken with the help of God’s Grace….!”

  2. It’s one thing to be fashionably late
    but to miss the event altogether is another
    (except for a quick comment…)
    Anyway there are a few words brewing still,
    here tis…

    I thought he was insane
    this man in the amber dark
    cajoling and flirting
    encouraging us all

    His hands waved
    shook and flitted
    fingers wagged
    fist twisted

    A bit of oval paper
    glommed onto twirled wire
    shaken, not stirred
    under the lens’ eye

    Amazed and bemused
    and somewhat embarrassed
    that by an awkward’s magician’s hands
    light is carved and shaped

    A chef-d’oeuvre is born
    from darkness and shadow
    and the most strategic of light
    bits of hole-y paper in the maker’s hands

    The negative of a positive
    and flipped again into a negative
    The blades, the filters
    the dust, the obnoxious dust

    Rock and roll and uninhibited curses
    friendships and loves made
    in that dark
    That dark that was truly light

    The light that shines on
    in the hope that the truth
    will overcome the lies
    that there are absolutely no absolutes

    In the name of the Lord Jesus
    we love and we pray
    and we remember those
    in the dark


    each is known
    in the presence
    of the other

    in the blackest
    night a white flower
    announces itself

    at high noon
    a desert tree
    emerges from shadow

    would we know
    love without loss?

    grief and anger
    without hope?

    Barbara Gibson

  4. Elaine T, “we are shadow people” — I love the invitation to consider how our entire interior life and body is swathed in darkness.

    Holly, thanks for sharing both Stevenson’s words and your own about the sublime stillness of shadows.

    Joy, such a lovely exploration of the breadth of shadowy possibilities!

    Carolyn, I love this line: “I am the texture of you” and the image of a kaleidoscope, welcome me in, indeed!

    Claire, I am really moved by the closing line of your poem, let the night swallow has an integrative feeling to me which is very inviting.

    Sharie, “witnessing holy essence” — beautiful you!