Welcome to the Abbey’s 53rd Poetry Party!
I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your own poem. Scroll down and add it 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 Sunday, September 25th, I will draw a name at random from the participants and the winner will receive a free registration spot in my upcoming online retreat Honoring Saints & Ancestors: Peering through the Veil (October 30-November 19, 2011).
I adore the season of autumn with the crisp air, the days growing shorter, and the brilliance of the world around me as nature prepares for the sleep of winter. This year I am pondering the image of home in her many facets: the Pacific Northwest salmon who right now make the arduous swim up river to return to their birthplace and lay the eggs of the new generation (and losing their lives in the process), the birds who will soon begin their journeys south in the great mystery of migration, in the releasing of ruby and tangerine leaves from branches and drifting downward back to the earth, source of life and home, and in the memory of my mother who took the great journey Home many years ago during this season.
Our photo prompt for this week is from my time on Lake Michigan last week. Something about the vastness of her waters against the evening sky evokes this sense of the primordial source for me and where we all return. My teaching partner, Betsey, calls her “Mother Lake.”
What does the metaphor of “going home” evoke for you? What are the longings that autumn stirs in your heart? I invite you to write a poem about your own process of going home.
*Registration* for two upcoming online retreats is now open: Honoring Saints & Ancestors: Peering through the Veil (October 30-November 19, 2011) and Advent 2011–Birthing the Holy: Becoming a Monk in the World (November 27-December 24, 2011).
silver is my home
and silver the tears
from cloud queens
above silver sand beaches
of silver liquid
caressing my skin
the salmon scales
glimpsed in deep waters
fires of silver driftwood
night comes down
Yep, I realize the party’s over, but hey, it’s Autumn, and there’s always one last leaf to fall. So, here goes:
Beside a Northwoods Lake
One Common Loon sings an uncommon melody
regarding loneliness and love.
In the distance comes her lover’s reply;
eventually, the two meet, again, before light rises from the east.
Fog awakens upon the lake,
rising up like morning spirits in the still-dark dawn.
Drifting vapor enshrouding the sunrise,
ingesting morning’s luminescence
like some mimicking chameleon of light.
in this crisp new day,
is the fullest certainty of Autumn made manifest.
once young, verdant and fresh,
are now wise with gold and crimson hues.
Once-soft leaves now rattle in the wind;
a harmonious shoreline accompaniment
joining songs of water-birds across the lake.
Carpets of forest perennials are being tucked-in
beneath cast-off cloaks of Maple, Birch, and Oak.
The forest is beginning to revel in the glory of its own nakedness,
only tentative in this autumnal time,
but eventually to dance fully and unabashed
amidst winter’s broad exposure.
This is a liminal moment;
a threshold between what was,
and is yet to be.
Melancholy emerges in these days of human-living,
just as naturally as morning fog
upon a lake too-warm for the surrounding air.
It is time to settle-in to our unsettled lives.
Accept change like tamaracks consent to the seasonal loss of their needles.
Let our own turning move us to Truth more-lasting than fair-weather.
Let Autumn be our guide.
Let Autumn prepare us for any darkness ahead.
Let Autumn teach us it is okay to let go.
The Word Was Made Flesh and Dwelt Among Us
Verbum caro factum est
et habitavit in nobis
Sisters chant sunset vespers
lyrical hum of a harmless hive
too intent on honey and purpose
to notice the sweetness in the hammock nearby
Remember, the first time?
in a cave
announcing your place
OVER and Over and over and over and over
until you said it again, again, again
or no longer longer
retire to single cells
and whisper lists of synonyms
for a jump rope rhyme
through white cotton curtains
for the silver ring of dinner dishes
This is the coming home time of day
the one who tumbles
backwards and forwards
inwards and outwards
If I open up enough
perhaps I will stumble
into something greater
that will bring me back
I am are ever expanding
shooting out towards
the great space that surrounds us
and slowly, slowly
coming back to all that I have known
The light plays
on the ground
and I replay in my head
all the autumn days
I have spent
AN T’EILEAN: FOREVER RETURNING
poetry is the mist, draped softly on the Tables
poetry is the water, dancing in Glen Hinnisdal, and the laughter of the children in remembered swimming there
poetry is the arc of the bridge and the knowledge of returning
poetry is the echoed words of Sorley, crashing on the black sand shore
poetry is the hard dark rock of the Cuillin, the sharp serrated edge of her skyline
poetry is the invocation of the bog myrtle, crushed against your finger tips
poetry is bog cotton, laughing in the breeze
poetry is the wind on the moorland, the kiss of spirit freedom
poetry is the light, glinting on the water as the road turns down to Gesto and a thousand silent worships and a thousand tears of home
poetry is the island, lost in mist, and illumined with the perfect clarity of a winter sunshine day
poetry is truth
poetry is mystery
poetry is love and impossible gratitude
poetry is the island,
and I am forever returning.
is going to the place
where welcome waits for you
with constant longing,
a place at the table,
sweet sheets made ready,
for you at the door.
is the journey to the place
where you fall with relief
into safe halls,
dropping cares like luggage,
falling towards familiar faces,
to be known once more.
is the return to the place
of a hearth for the heart,
balm for the body,
salve for the soul;
ever the open door.