Invitation to Poetry: The Gifts (and Challenges) of Winter

Welcome to the Abbey’s 54th Poetry Party (it has been long overdue)!

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), Facebook, or Twitter, 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, January 15, I will draw a name at random from the participants and the winner will receive a free registration spot in my upcoming online art retreat for the season of Lent – Soul of a Pilgrim (February 22-April 7, 2012).



I adore winter trees.  Something about their bare beauty, revealing their essence against a pale sky, makes my soul sing.  They remind me that winter calls us to shed what is not necessary and turn inward, seeking the gifts of silence and stillness.  A winter landscape demands that we slow down to receive its invitation.  There is no rushing through this season.

I have a fascination with bones for the same reason.  Something about this return to our own essence offers up a powerful invitation to me.  In Paris I have gone to see the catacombs, a sacred burial site underground of the bones from millions of bodies that were deposited there.  Being in their presence elicited a deep sense of awe and wonder at the lives that once animated these skeletons, the brilliant minds contained in those skulls, the passionate hearts once beating within those bodies.  And knowing that one day I will also be rendered into the essence of dust and bone.  It can be a painful knowing, but one that brings me to a sense of cherishing life, of savoring its beauty.

I invite you to write a poem this week about the gifts (and challenges) of winter.  What does this season call forth from you?  Where do you seek greater restoration and the nourishment that only darkness can bring?  What are the challenges you experience as you wait for the light to return?

If you are one of my beloved southern hemisphere readers, feel free to image the far-off winter season, or share with us what you are discovering about summer’s gifts this year.

*Please note: Some folks are having trouble with the comment feature – I am looking into the issue, but if you are unable to leave your poem please email it to me at and I will make sure it is included.*

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