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Invitation to Poetry: Sharing Our Deepest Joy

Welcome to our Poetry Party #42!

I am posting this week’s Poetry Party since the third week of Advent begins today! 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.

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 and full credit is given – © Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts)


Poetry Party Theme: Sharing Our Deepest Joy

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
-Zep 3:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in God always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
-Phil 4:4-7


For this third week of the season of Advent I am hosting a Poetry Party to invite you to help break open the meaning of the sacred texts among us.  In a time of year when we are told that our happiness is to be found through excessive consumption, the first two scripture readings speak of a deeper joy – a rejoicing of the heart which emerges from a place of equanimity, exultation, and profound gratitude for life’s moments.

The Gospel reading from this week calls us to share the fruits of our gladness with generosity and kindness: “The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” (Luke 3:10-18)  Our joy binds us to a responsibility to extend it to others, especially those whom we encounter who have nothing.  Happiness may allow us to rest comfortably on our own, joy calls us into the world.

Do you remember the profound and un-self-conscious joy you experienced as a child?  When delight erupted from your deepest self in carefree moments?  How are you being invited in your most joyful moments to share beyond your most intimate circle?

I invite you to write a poem this week describing the deeper joy of Advent – deeper than mere happiness – and to describe when you listen to that joy, what is your call into the world that emerges from its heart?

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

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20 Responses

  1. “May all beings be free of harm.
    May all beings experience joy.”

    Yesterday a friend and spiritual advisor gave me a copy of “Illuminating Mystery.” I found it be intriguing and to “speak” with a kind-red “voice.” In browsing your web site and some of your offerings, I saw that you educational background is similiar to mine so thought I’d drop a line. Like you, my training is in theology, psychology, depth work, spiritual guidance and, like you, I am an artist. But unlike you I have chosen to follow a buddhist path. We walk in different ways but we can perhaps be acquaintences along the way for surely we will cross paths again?

    Doc Rob

  2. First, I must say that Elaine’s poem makes me want to dance. So wonderful! I’m stealing it. Now…my humble offering…


    May the unabashed joy
    of childhood
    be ours again.

    Break the restraints,
    open the gates,
    adore the adorable.

    Our hearts can be full
    to overflowing, even
    in times of struggle.

    Don’t brand your days
    as good or bad.
    Joy and sorrow are neighbors.

  3. Hiking down the Grand Canyon on a burning hot day in the ’60’s we were directed by a group of construction workers to a rushing waterfall in a little valley. Clothes and all we stood there experiencing the drenching exquisite cooling of its waters. That experience reminds me of God’s love, a waterfall of love.

    Standing in a Waterfall of Love

    In the hills
    of West Virginia
    cabin holds
    those I love
    In my arms
    sleeps new grandchild
    Dark lashes rest
    on angel cheeks
    while snow stars melt
    in our hair
    Close your eyes
    and you are there
    standing in a waterfall of love

    Sons and daughters
    dressed in black
    renaissance faces
    Italian graces
    Crowd of cousins
    holding roses
    black and red
    around her grave
    A grand farewell
    bella momma
    Close your eyes
    and you are there
    standing in a waterfall of love

    I’m the “teacher”
    he’s the “student’
    waist-high powerhouse
    grabs my hand
    Its after lunch
    time to dance
    La Bamba blasts
    away our stiffness
    we swing and shimmy
    shout and laugh
    My little class
    behind in tests
    my little class
    ahead in love
    my little class
    they can dance!
    Close your eyes
    and you are there
    standing in a waterfall of love
    a golden waterfall of love

  4. Zion light
    crawl gate opens
    drag tents of flesh
    faint spice

    Just stillness

    today breaths
    rhythm then melody
    mounts children of Zion
    fresh songs

    walk about
    go dance her
    rejoice towers mark
    her bulwarks consider
    her palaces

    tell it
    follow refuge God
    our city ever
    and ever mountain

    *From Ps.48

  5. Bette – I just love the squirrel image! And, Patricia the Walking with Two Suns speaks to me deeply. May I share your poem with my Earth-spirit group?

  6. Walk with Two Suns

    In the dark mid-winter you must walk with two suns. Kindle the flame of your internal heat. Set your chakras spinning, let the kundalina rise. Be drunk with joy.

    And should you wake shivering in your cold castle cry out to the gods of earth, fire, and flowers. Demand solar powers. Be drunk with dreams.

    You are the bloom reaching for warmth. You are a land fecund with fruit. Be drunk with light.

    Carnal and sacred in your flesh, blood, and bone….entrain to the rhythym of the eternal return. Be drunk with hope.

    In the dark mid-winter you must walk with two suns.

    This is what came to me when thinking of joy and thinking of this season of light. More earth-centered spirituality than explicitly Christian….blessings!

  7. advent
    coming towards
    i know what
    his birth
    does it require
    of innocents
    when does
    replace fear
    his birth
    all birth
    is but a
    needing more
    than time
    to grow.
    dona nobis