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Invitation to Poetry: Entering the Desert’s Fire

Welcome to our 44th Poetry Party!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections. Add your responses in the comments section.  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)

Poetry Party Theme: Entering the Desert’s Fire

This week the Christian liturgical season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  For 40 days we are invited on an inner pilgrimage which parallels the desert journey Jesus made before he began his public ministry.  In the Hebrew and Christian scriptures the desert is a place of preparing our hearts, of stripping away of false securities, of radical surrender, and of invitation to transformation.  The Israelites wandered in the Sinai desert for 40 years and the early Christian monks went out into the desert to find a place of profound solitude and silence.  The desert is an archetypal place where we confront our inner demons and are purified and transformed by the its heat.

I invite you this week to write a poem about your own invitation to enter the refiner’s fire – in alchemy lead is transformed into gold through heat and this becomes a metaphor for the human soul.  What is the lead within you ready to be transformed into something treasured?

The poem could be a blessing for the journey ahead or an invocation of your deepest longings for this sacred time.  Allow yourself to feel the desert heat as you write and invite in its power to spark, ignite, and illuminate the world.

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50 Responses

  1. Lent

    A time away
    a time with my beloved
    a time to just be…
    a time to heal
    a time to let the secret, frozen parts of my heart thaw…
    in the warmth of the beloved’s gaze…
    a time to be quiet and let love soak into my cold bones,
    like a warm bath.
    this is the time—now, lent.

    by Darlene Tucker

  2. Desiring to
    enter the
    spaciousness and silence,
    exploring and inquiring in
    response to ‘return to me – to
    the elements deep within your soul.’

    Hear and listen to the desert,
    eagerly anticipate the invitation
    and gifts, as you
    tend to this heartfelt pilgrimage.

  3. Thank you Another Pam for your poem. One of my lenten practices is to give up library book sales, which for me are a search for MORE when I already have more than ENOUGH at home. I like to say *I have to kick books out of the way to get out the door and go and get more books.* Your poem spoke strongly to my condition.

  4. Not a poem, but I can only think of something that Elizabeth Stratton, a teacher of mine years ago, said. It haunts me still:
    “When being transformed by fire, the illusion of destruction may appear.”

  5. Entering Lent

    How much is ENOUGH?
    It has always been
    just a bit more, not a lot.

    A bit more kindness,
    just beyond reach,
    taunting me.

    It may seem rather harmless
    but this deceit is deadly.
    The floodgate holds back torrents.

    How easily we can lose
    what we have
    by wishing it was more.

    Now, it is time to begin again.
    Let God tame
    this insatiable thirst.

    May a new understanding
    of ENOUGH emerge
    and shape my existence.

    Let me be transformed
    down to my core,
    each day

    Recognizing the abundance
    that I have overlooked
    in my outstretched hand.

  6. Emergence

    There have been many assurances:
    The time is coming,
    The journey will begin,
    But again and again the plagues, deaths and disasters
    Have stayed us from travel.

    Suddenly the word comes,
    The time is NOW.
    Pack your things,
    No, not everything,
    Only the essentials.

    I could have been thinking of this,
    I should have had a plan,
    Stripped down to my essence.
    Instead the leaving comes as a shock,
    I am not ready,
    Leave without me,
    There is still too much to do.

    Quickly cook the bread,
    Bread for the journey,
    No time for it to rise,
    Bake it lean and flat,
    Pared to its essence.

    Pack it in your one bag
    Your monk’s bag
    With a bowl and a shawl.
    Is there room for my journey book,
    To keep track of the path,
    To record the words,
    Or must I trust it all to memory?

    Should I bring a rock?
    A rock from this hearth,
    A memory rock to build with anew?
    A rock, you would carry a rock through the desert?
    You would fill your bag and burden your back with a rock?
    Why not a boulder, a hill, a mountain
    So that you can climb it and see into the distance,
    See into the future?

    The earth, should I bring a clump of the earth,
    Where my family is buried?
    The earth, why not a body, a grave,
    The skeletons of those you could leave behind?

    A string, a ball of thread, to unravel behind me,
    So I can find my way to return?
    No, this is not a round trip,
    This is a journey of transformation.
    You will go forth, never to return,
    Seeking the change that God offers.

    Where you feet are planted is your home.
    When you move, the now moves with you.
    Unburden yourself, all will be provided,
    Bring only your heart and your soul.
    You will emerge reborn, daily born, new born.
    Walk empty into the desert and be filled.

  7. Was I chosen,
    invited?
    Some wander
    in deserts
    seeking magic:
    books, a lamp, oil,
    mysteries, a grail.

    Sometimes you’re
    just there
    and it has you by
    the throat,
    flat on your back
    face to face with
    the sun. Surrender,
    not the question.

    There is nothing
    else, but this.

  8. ….I think I know what shape my Lenten devotional is going to take this year! Each of these expressions of poetry is prayer – what a pleasure, just to come by and read; thank you so much.