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Invitation to Poetry: In Praise of Detours

Welcome to the Abbey’s Poetry Party #56!

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, March 25th, I will draw a name at random from the participants and the winner will receive a book of their choice.

This was my horoscope last week:

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Artist Richard Kehl tells the story of a teenage girl who got the chance to ask a question of the eminent psychologist Carl Jung. “Professor, you are so clever. Could you please tell me the shortest path to my life’s goal?” Without a moment’s hesitation Jung replied, “The detour!” I invite you to consider the possibility that Jung’s answer might be meaningful to you right now, Cancerian. Have you been churning out overcomplicated thoughts about your mission? Are you at risk of getting a bit too grandiose in your plans? Maybe you should at least dream about taking a shortcut that looks like a detour or a detour that looks like a shortcut. (reprinted from Free Will Astrology)

I shared last week about the grand adventure my husband and I will be embarking on this summer when we move to Vienna, Austria.  I read the words above and smiled.  This feels very much like a “detour” that will bring us closer and more directly to our life dream than any amount of carefully laid plans could and straight roads can.  The word for detour in German is “Umweg”, which esentially means “the way around.”  So we have dubbed this year ahead: “Umwegjahr”, which in German means “Detour Year.”  It is not technically a real word in German, but the German language throws together all kinds of words to create new meanings.

For this week’s Poetry Party, I invite you my dear fellow monks and artists, to write a poem in praise of detours.  Rarely is the path as straight as the image depicts.  You can describe one you have taken, or one you long to take.  Invite us into an experience of it with all our senses.

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44 Responses

  1. Our Child

    The heart struggles
    flails, tight-fisted
    smashes its hands
    against this boulder
    that has crushed
    our dreams for you
    blocked our way

    Exhausted by rage and sorrow
    we turn
    tenderly carry you
    up the other steeper path
    through deep forest
    flowered meadows

    Far below
    tiny specks
    fellow travelers
    We hear their cries
    We are not alone
    for some
    We lead the way

  2. Time Stood Still

    Just as the two month old finished her three ounces,
    She cuddled against me and I was in heaven,
    But immediately the two year old insisted I put her down
    And take her in my arms instead.
    With Laura in my right arm,
    I grasped Lily in my left,
    Gently pulling her up without losing the first.
    Laying her head on my shoulder, she cuddled against me, too.
    Then I experienced it for the first time.
    There I was, holding my two granddaughters together
    For the very first time.
    Time Stood still.
    I realized I couldn’t move,
    But immediately started to enjoy the moment.
    I compared their two beautiful little bodies.
    At 10 pounds, could Lily have ever been so small?
    Now her long legs reach almost to the floor.
    Laura’s body ends before Lily’s legs begin.
    Both have a head of gorgeous hair.
    Both have incredible blue eyes.
    And for the first time, Lily compromised
    And got close to Laura.
    Her drive to be with Nana overcame the
    Jealousy a lone princess feels when Nana
    Shares love with another.
    There we were three in a bear hug.
    And time stood still.

  3. Yesterday’s detour was unexpected,
    for I left the path of focused practice of spirituality
    to tend to Najia’s search for work
    that will fit in with her role as wife and mother of two very young sons.
    So unanticipated:
    “fire police” blocking transit on Trindle Road,
    a re-routing
    taking me from oft-traveled route linking two nearby towns and tiny villages
    through unknown Cumberland by-ways and return,
    and finally, to my former student’s home
    where I am welcomed warmly with three kisses on my cheeks
    then seated, with honor, before a low, circular table
    set with tray of cups for serving sweet Moroccan tea, a pitcher for pouring
    and bowls of spiced nuts and cookies to savor.
    While the children played nearby,
    entertained by building blocks in primary colors
    and French-speaking Disney cartoon characters on the T.V.
    Najia and I talk of jobs and interests
    and finding a good fit with husband’s and children’s schedules.
    Once in a while, we pause our conversation
    as reminds her young sons,
    in English and Arabic-Moroccan,
    on appropriate decorum.
    Such a detour brings a high tide within my spirit
    and refills the border-dwelling and threshold places of my life
    with the pearls and sparkling stones
    born of companionship and sharing.
    I return,
    refilled with the new fruit of the day’s sojourn.

  4. detours and diversions (I long to take)

    I knew I was keepin’ on in the same direction
    but straight as I tried to tread
    the path veered, circled, backtracked and turned
    to where I needed to be
    I’ve heard in a dream
    how the road that led you away
    will turn and lead you home
    home is what I need
    I pray this time I’ll get there