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Invitation to Poetry: Fierceness and Courage

Welcome to Poetry Party #49!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections.  Scroll down and add your responses in the comments section below. 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, January 28th, I will draw a name at random from the participants and send the winner a free registration for the Lenten Online Retreat: Journey with the Desert Mothers & Fathers.


Roar, Lion of the Heart, and tear me open!


When I was in Vienna over Christmas I ended up in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism.  Thirty percent of people die with this condition.  This brush with death has had a powerful impact on me that is still shimmering across my life and I imagine will for a long time.  In the quiet days of healing that followed my husband and I wandered the beautiful old city streets, cherishing one another, savoring life.  In our explorations I kept discovering lions calling to me – in churches, on street corners, in building entryways, on door knockers. 

When I returned home I went to see my spiritual director to share the story of this journey.  We talked of many things, but one which especially resonated is that he said there was a fierce part of me that chose to keep living and I was being called to discover what that fierceness was fighting for.   As he uttered those words I knew immediately that this was connected to the call of lions.  There is a roar inside of me that is tearing me open to new layers of discovery.

What are the things of your life you are called to protect fiercely?  Where are you being called to greater courage? 

I invite you to write a poem about fierceness.  Much of our talk in spiritual circles is about what feels good or pleasing, and while these are important, just as vital are those experiences in life that confront us with the underside of things, that call out of us a fierce longing and sense of the the fertile depths.  Give your fierceness a shape or form, explore its roar through poetry.

(Photo of lion in Vienna)

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62 Responses

  1. The Angel’s Roar

    Be not afraid
    the lion roared,
    or was it an angel
    in a lion’s guise?

    We were afraid, of course
    because he was a lion
    and we were lunch.

    “Have you no faith?”
    the master shouted,
    above the storm’s
    persistent roar.

    We had no faith, of course,
    because the storm was great
    and our boat small.

    Was it faith we needed
    to calm ourselves
    if not the storm.

    Was it courage we needed
    to hear the angel’s voice
    within the lion’s roar?

    Gracious Lord,
    grant us faith and courage
    to hear your voice,
    amid the uproarious world,
    to lay it all aside,
    and follow you.

  2. F I E R C E

    Lion of Judah
    hear my plea –
    Let me be Fierce
    for Thee.


    First born – fierce
    from tragic to majestic
    First born – fierce
    submitting and admitting
    Fierce Forgiveness


    Let me be fierce!
    -springing from

    The Dark Depths


    For Your sumptuous love.


    Fiercely I searched for Thee:
    Feigning wisdom, yet
    Fainting at every turn –

    Falling for every new idea
    Forgetting that nothing is new –

    Figuring fortune
    Finding Redemption
    Failing Net Worth

    Fiercely, I thank Thee.


    Fiercely may I speak for Thee:
    Not like a roaring lion
    in imitation,
    Like a Gentle Whisper


    In fierce silence
    for the howling masses
    in fierce noise.


    Fierce listening
    From judgement
    Flys in the face of convention
    when taking
    Immediate Action.


    Impassioned to Pray
    To FILL the cavernous hungers
    Of the desolate.

    CANCER: Fiercely Awaiting!

    Fiercely Awaiting
    advent’s death
    Precludes worried obsession
    Immediate DANCING…..
    Like it or not.

  3. Wounded Warriors

    At first just a whisper of compassion was felt
    toward an elder still suffering the effects
    of childhood abuse by an anointed priest
    Still struggling, still dealing with issues
    that raise their heads now and again
    Never knowing motherhood, allowing
    no one ever again to touch that sacred space
    Will she ever feel healed and at peace?

    And now another came forward to share a tale
    of incest abuse from which healing occurs
    Strong and courageous yet unable to bear
    child so physically damaged was she
    Adopted children she loves and cares for
    Missing at times for repair of the wounds,
    some by surgery, some by counseling, often
    healed within by imagery and art creations.

    Now my own wounds surface as I became
    aware of ways that heal the depth of my spirit.
    Wounded at first, filled with shame and guilt,
    I submitted meekly to males of all stripes.
    Yet the day came I said “No more, no more!”
    My God whom I fled from – was he not male?
    Spoke gently and beckoned me to follow Her
    to become the women She designed me to be.

    Now deep within me my spirit wells up to ask
    how can I be of service to others in pain,
    Heal their self image so they can let God
    become the spirit that shelters them?
    Let the deep fierceness within break forth,
    help wounded felines recover their claws
    Yet retain their softness, murmuring purrs
    Open at last to Her peace and Her joy.

    So we’ll bask in the sunlight, warmed by Her love
    And continue to heal til no scars reappear
    We’ll create grand, colorful symbols,
    We’ll dance, celebrate our bodies at last.
    Allow gentle touch to those parts so wounded.
    Sing the song of remembrance of all that is good
    The eyes of our heart opened to see at last
    All the grandeur abounding within and without

  4. Adrenal call
    No, operator
    I’m not accepting the charges…
    unless its from Bryonia
    or George
    or Rush
    or Sarah
    or Hitler
    or my daughter
    or any child
    or my wife
    or anyone
    or my dog
    or any animal
    or my garden
    or the earth
    or one of my flag waving nemesis’

  5. Lions roaring, roaming, raging
    within and without
    Lead them to safe, secure and sure pastures to lie down
    in peace, tranquility and quiet.
    Tame and teach.
    The lion lies down with the lamb
    and they pasture together

  6. Lions roaring, roaming, raging
    within and without
    Lead them to safe, secure and sure pastures to lie down
    in peace, tranquility and quiet.
    Tame and teach.
    The lion lies down with the lamb
    and they pasture together

  7. My Lioness of Love

    There dwells in me a Lioness of Love
    She is beautiful, strong, fierce, holy.
    I am often uncomfortable
    in her comfortable intensity & ferocity of presence.
    She holds truth unwaveringly
    while I falter, waffling.
    So I hold her captive behind bars of seemliness, pleasing, acceptability.
    She does not care for this and will sometimes break free,
    making her roaring presence known in very inappropriate ways
    at very inopportune times.
    I grovel, apologizing for her untamed wildness.
    Quietly, meekly, I coax her back
    into the bondage of sensibility & rational….for a time.

    She is honest,
    she is truthful,
    she is life,
    she is holy.

    She scares me…….

    I stifle her.
    I stifle truth.
    I stifle life.
    I stifle God in me…..

    – Sherri Locke

  8. reworked one final time…and now I rest.

    el mar adentro
    A Passion for honoring my dignity and yours
    acceptance & encouraging love
    embodying life-giving spirit
    tending the blossoming soul

    acceptance & encouraging love
    transforming poverty and righteousness that is not blessed
    tending the blossoming soul
    patient hopeful trust

    life-giving Breath fans the winds of my heart
    embodying life-giving spirit
    patient hopeful trust
    A Passion for honoring my dignity and yours

  9. All winter she’d been watching them:
    The woodpecker’s flash of pure red brilliance
    The puffed out chest of the robin;
    The black and white patchwork of the dipper in the river
    Standing proudly, singing sweetly, enough to crack the toughest heart;
    The brightness of the colour of the blackbird’s beak
    Purely orange through and through;
    Watched the colours of the plumage of the birds around her table:
    Simply fierce, and proud, and true.

  10. “Fountain Bubbling”

    As I sleep…
    something is churning within me;
    I try to ignore it…
    but this sensation is so persistent.
    I begin to rouse a little…
    something is happening,
    I can’t quite figure this feeling out,
    it is annoying, irritating, and relentless;
    I just want to sleep…
    “Leave me alone,” I whisper to my inner voice;
    but the prodding continues to beckon me.

    There begins to be an intensity and strength building,
    vibrating through my lazy bones;
    this unseasonable weather brewing deep inside of me
    has awakened my mind and body.
    This internal cyclone is urging me
    to enter into an unknown Mystery that must be discovered;
    I can no longer argue with this mystifying force,
    for it has taken on a life of its own.
    This ball of energy within has gotten my attention…
    The voice says, “Arise and listen for your assignment?”
    You are on a quest for knowledge, truth, wisdom, and discernment,

    The voice says, “You need to expand yourself in mind, body and spirit:
    I am weary, tired and complacent…
    This fierceness inside of me urges with enthusiasm to seek and find this
    new longing in my soul…

    I never knew where my soul was but I can for the first time,
    feel its pulsating rhythm…
    it will not stop until my mind and body surrender.
    My spirit-soul does not want to work alone,
    it needs the unifying Trinity who brings the three into one force,
    requesting me…
    to listen,
    to think,
    to digest,
    to create,
    to expand,
    to bubble,
    to overflow,
    in waiting,
    in wrestling,
    in waiting,
    in wishing,,
    in waiting,
    in welcoming,
    in waiting,
    in wondering,
    in what will burst forth…

    Thank you, my fierceness!

    Jo-El from Ridgely, MD