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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. Enter the Silence

    If I could play the piano
    I would serenade my soul
    And listen to spaces in between
    Where a few dare to go.

    Silence speaks eloquent words
    And starlit skies dance in vowels


    Wisdom beckons a song
    Of ancient ages past.

    I ask

    Will I go?

  2. Our Desert

    Vermilion suns
    Vast purple nights
    Raging dust storms

    We inhabit a gentler land
    Our sisters, the huge dancing evergreens
    Spread their high bows
    Shelter lush fern-rich undercover
    We lie on the soft rain-blessed mosses
    Stroke the white perfection of a trillium petal

    Until She opens Her fierce lips
    Blows down a torrent of lightning
    Wind-shifting the forest into a cauldron of fire
    A roaring inferno
    A towering furnace of destruction
    In its path
    Every living creature runs wide-eyed with terror

    Afterwards, the stench
    The steaming graveyard of black trunks
    Their feet resting in ashes, ashes
    As do ours
    This Ash Wednesday

    But beneath our bare toes
    Hundreds of tiny seeds
    Throb with life
    Each one a resurrection

    And blessed be Her fierce lips
    And blessed be the God of forest, fire, and seed
    And blessed be the One Who stands with us
    Barefoot in the ashes

  3. I am new to this concept and I don’t consider myself a poet. I can only contribute what I am.


    In the sandstorm of my sadness, I cannot hear.
    Through the welling of my tears, I cannot see.
    With the swelling of my tongue, I cannot taste.
    On this heap of ashes, I cannot smell.
    Under the oppression of my grief, I cannot feel.
    God help me to become human once again.

  4. Death Valley

    my feet are tired now
    and caked with pulverized stone.
    with each exhalation
    i become elemental
    and lizard-like.

    desert walking is harsh
    and i look for the sowed luminescence
    cast in salt by my ancestors.

    they danced here.
    cried here.

    they communed with the gods
    and became them.

    and it was in this dry place
    that i kicked into the world
    cast in a papier-mache body
    and formed by an unknown god.

    my ancestors whisper
    and tell me that the god chewed up paper
    and rubbed spit with sand to create skin.

    and then left me
    to burn in the sun.

    it’s an alchemical fire
    and i wait to turn to gold —
    comforted only by a bleached femur
    of one who pushed into
    the earth’s cracked face
    in order to become it.

  5. To another Rachel (Rachel K) – Our poems must have made a connection. Yours was the only one that I copied off for my “Poetry Bank” before I even put mine up.

  6. Burning
    This one is ash and dust,
    waiting for the wind
    but before then I will burn
    bright living, face turned
    into the sun without fear
    but laugh at the desert,
    glowing with transformation,
    and dance a whirlwind’s song
    through rocks that will melt
    at the heat of the passing
    of this dust daughter: heart
    bright and burning with divinity.

  7. Thank you Christine for the invitation and challenge. I published my response here:

    As it’s short I’ll copy it into the comment too:

    Entering the Refiner’s Fire:

    What is it,
    This relentless
    Search for the
    Blue light of
    At the heart of the fire?
    Why not just once,
    Just this once,
    Let yourself be
    Warmed by its heat
    Heartened by its glow
    In awe of the dance and the flicker of the flame.
    Just let yourself
    Just let


    Wouldn’t that
    Be transformation