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Invitation to Poetry: Going Home

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).

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55 Responses

  1. Autumn brings me Home

    “Mother’s little rosebud that the Angels gave away.”
    I know this, as my mother told me so.
    The first born child of the New Year on the 12th of January,
    Back in 1956, in our little home town of Burlington.
    Though it was winter, it was the spring of my life
    And as I toddled and grew
    Behind my three older sisters,
    Such joyous wondrous years unfolded,
    Creative play and freedom from concerns.
    Summer’s sun was temperament for years
    Then grew hot and I wilted I am sure.
    And Burlington became very obscure.
    Autumn suddenly arrived in my life
    And I looked around in sadness at all the year’s passes.
    And I yearned for my Burlington’s home years.
    Where was my home now? So many had I had.
    I found my home in the stark reminder of autumn leaves falling
    And as my blossoms fell away.
    My thorns had come in gone it’s true, long before I remembered you.
    For now I know my home is within.
    Jesus waiting patiently in my heart
    Led me back to God who lives in me, it’s true.
    For the Angels never gave me away,
    They only shared me with my Earthly loves.
    Autumn’s arrival trembled and I came home.
    Genora W. Powell 9/22/11

  2. Coming Home

    From a child’s memories
    to mid-life musings,
    Loves web of sticky threads
    holding both joy and sorrow,
    draw me inward towards true home
    where seasons are lived in the rhythm of breath, heartbeat
    and silence that speaks my name.

  3. Now, in this breath.
    Now, in this breath, I glimpse the eternal.
    Now, in this breath, I rise on new wings and pass over Mother Lake.
    Now, in this breath, the sharp and the sweet are both present.
    Now, in this breath, the sounds of life break across the stillness of the water.
    Life: ancient and new, sharp and sweet, noisy and still.
    Breathe Now.

  4. I am called
    to return
    to the ocean
    where time and tides
    have their own

    where my spirit
    in synchronicity
    soaring and sensing
    it is

  5. Home . . .
    the mere thought today brought tears to my eyes . . .
    I have home all around me
    and all the things that make up home around me . . .
    and yet,
    and yet,
    the heart no longer beats –
    at home!

  6. Autumn and the Journey Home

    I stand on beach
    look out over lake
    to distant horizon


    colour of water changes
    shallow to deep
    light to dark
    where thin line
    end and new beginning
    water to sky
    like life
    after every ending
    a new beginning

    many blessings have brought me this far

    what is the new horizon
    in my life

    to be
    what God intended me to be

    a light worker
    as I reach out over water
    to touch you
    a channel of God’s
    hope peace love joy
    my hands
    healing hands

  7. [This poem was “born” along with a photo. To see them together, you may use the link below – or copy and paste – where they are posted on my blog.]


    strengthen me
    for the journey
    O my God…

    i feel you drawing
    me Home
    pulling me toward you
    on a journey
    far too great
    for my fragile
    little self.

    how can i find
    my way
    to a Home
    I have never seen?

    how can i know
    where to go,
    when there is
    no map
    (except the one
    you have written
    on my heart)?

    you have given me
    beauty to drink
    and i am
    yet thirsting still
    with all my being.

    my heart
    goes flying,
    searching for
    your Heart,
    i can fly
    no more.

    and then
    at last
    i rest

    you are there.
    i am Home.

  8. Some great poems being shared here. Here is one of my what I call 1-minute poems. It’s an exercise were you have one minute to write and edit your poem–needless to say, they are usually short.

    Torn between desires
    To make nest or go explore
    Wondering where my heart lies
    Is it here or at the other shore?
    But then the crickets chirp
    While the Flickers take flight
    And I realize I am home
    Wherever nature shines

  9. Dear Christine,
    I’ve offered my poem, Tree, below, but also was reminded of your thoughts regarding journeying and coming-home (home-making) of a meditation I wrote a while back, on exactly that matter. You can find the meditation at:

    But now for the poem…


    Tiny sprout,
    breaking through the smooth firmness of a seed’s protective shell.

    Fragile seedling,
    gasping for sunlight
    beneath a dense canopy of maternal generations already centuries old.

    Spindly sapling,
    conserving precious energy
    wrestled away from a greater, crowded, forest
    limiting its own girth and number of branches.

    Middle-aged Fir,
    a century of growth,
    now just beginning to peak out
    above a canopy of lesser coniferous creatures,
    knowing only now the full joy of uninhibited sunlight.

    Thick brittle wood,
    worn by time and storm,
    cracked by wind and disease,
    purging wounds with sap and syrup,
    yet standing tall for deep roots
    woven firmly into the duff and decay of previous grand matriarchs.

    Old stump,
    reminder of something once grand,
    whose future is past,
    and now holds hope only for others
    to root in this crumbling fiber of what has been.

    Soft humus of long-ago memories,
    ancient strength,
    and a wisdom transcending the lifespan
    of a thousand generations of trees.

    But is there not something more?

    Hope and promise of germination in every life.

    Sustenance for other communities;
    a dozen browsing deer;
    one hundred seeking squirrels;
    myriad molds and lichens and insects of every kind.

    Security and protection for downy,
    nest-bound progeny of flittering avian wanderers
    and delicate perennial blooms tucked away from fierce April storms.

    Cooling relief for summer-time lovers
    who seek the moist shadows of a dark forest
    in which to share a eucharist of their entwining souls.

    An embrace of deep rootedness
    to hold fast the Autumnal beds of cool, swift streams
    as swimmers return to exchange their lives for a new generation.

    The promise of a future beyond one’s lifetime
    for all who will touch and taste and understand…
    …as immoveable towering timber
    is slowly resurrected into soft, spongy, fertile earth!

    -Warren Lynn