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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. Entering the wilderness, I took the forbidden unpaved path, abandoned by family.
    The Safe Path in the wilderness.
    soft with prepared bark resembling the off-trails but too planned.

    Boundaries like river rock adjusting to the flow …
    but instead bounding the flow…
    Invitation to follow? Loved ones are downstream.
    Is safety good?
    Lines within which to color?

    The beyond has more color …
    What lies there?
    Do I return from the path with wisdom and nourishment? Or is is a point of no return?
    Who decided this path for me? … where am I consulted?

    If God love me enough to permit my free will, why is the path fixed? Why not light instead of rock?

    … my evening reflection

  2. I wonder what my breakfast would be, were I to skip away
    from my chosen path of more than 30 years? Would it be
    possible to adapt to a world where my first
    daily intake did not consist of a handful of chemicals?

    Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Depressants – my Anti-breakfast swallowed
    each morning to ensure that I can stay on my Anti-Life path and
    keep paying the mortgage on my choices.

    First, I’d have to practice skipping, because
    my Anti-Life has taken away the energy and desire to Feel…
    Cooling breeze upon sweating brow, occasional pain of scrapes and bruises and hurt feelings.

    Just the thought of skipping stirs a longing, for the simplicity of movement,
    and all the activity that was required to ward off boredom. I smile now,
    to imaging the possibility of being bored; what a remote concept!

    A detour sounds delightful and scary and exhilarating and….

    Gee, I might need another zanax just from thinking about all these possibilities. Sad Face.

  3. I am open to the assaults of what my life used to be
    but I am gazing at what the Lord and Lady is showing me
    I wring anxious hands and a sweet bruised and scarred heart
    for there is no one but my beautiful anointed daughter that I don’t want to thwart
    oh how one decision changed the landscape of my life into this picture of strife
    I am homeless, I am unemployed, I am without parents and grandparents in truth
    I speak in ancient tongues to await a blessed provision like Naomi in the Book of Ruth.

    There is an unexplainable peace while living in a transitional house
    But I thrive in my solitude and the need is frequent to be as quiet as a mouse
    My mind wanders to leave California and cure my eternal crush back East
    I pack all my weaved words of poetry and find comfort in the inexplicable desire
    to be found and housed in a sacred sanctuary to praise You with Shekinah fire
    Yes I shall fulfill my wanderlust but I cannot except the thought of eternal loneliness
    but rather I smile through tears on thinking of all of the love and happiness
    Shalom awaits me as I try to stand and keep still
    there will be nothing and no one missing or broken underneath this invisible but present holy seal.

  4. A Dialog

    Detour? Why?
    The shortest route is a straight line.

    Yes, but you know that way, the houses, the lawns, the cats…there are no surprises.
    A detour mean new discoveries, new possibilities, new …uhm … new everything!

    The shortest route saves time.

    Yes, but the discoveries are limitless…blackberries to pick and savor; raccoons (and skunks) to watch at play, wildflowers and streams and…

    My destination is within sight.

    Yes, but how can you be certain? What if there is a traffic jam, a fallen tree, an errand that needs doing?

    All right, I see your point. I’ll seek adventure and take my time. I’ll take the risk and choose the detour.

  5. Look now, the blessed road

    Look now, the blessed road rises to meet
    feet, weary, uncertain, but sure
    of steps yet untaken that, parting, greet
    a step, one step, from that step. Intentions pure
    where hinted there evidences of worn
    and bent, slow and plod with care
    the stoneway moss from feet unshorn.
    It now draws this one from here to there
    and back, or not? Perhaps to see once more
    the trace of place and diligence where
    friend not seen for to strength restore.
    Beyond this hill, that rock, another vale
    to part from us the sure, the safe, the soft
    and bring once more the promise of tale,
    of song, of new and now and hope aloft.
    As turns the way from risk to gift
    she bids one turn and, unflinching, face
    the way unmarked by mark-ed feet, swift
    to lead not ahead or behind, but grace
    the name of he who draws, and we who strain
    the path we sought, we find again.

  6. One of my favorite poems below, with my own translation, so please forgive me for errors. Happy Umweg Trails to you and your husband, dear Christine, on your grand adventure…..Peace and all things good …anna

    Sage ja
    zu den Ueberraschungen
    die deine Plaene durchkreuzen,
    deine Traueme zunichte machen,
    deinem Tag eine ganz
    andere Richtung geben —
    ja vielleicht deinem Leben.
    Sie sind nicht Zufall.
    Lass dem himmlischen Vater
    die Freiheit, selber den
    Verlauf deiner Tage
    zu bestimmen……Dom Helder Camara

    Say yes
    to the unexpected
    that frustrate your plans,
    that destroy your dreams,
    that give your day an entirely different direction —
    yes, perhaps your life.
    They are not coincidences.
    Allow the heavenly Father
    the freedom to decide
    the course of your day……..Dom Helder Camara

  7. The Call of the Wild Goose… (when all of life is a detour)

    I have left,
    left so many times
    and listened at the sea shore
    to the Wild Goose call
    and the touching of her breath upon my soul

    I have travelled,
    travelled Cosmos wide
    and listened over oceans
    to the Wild Goose call
    and the loving of her wings around my shell

    I have come home,
    come home in Mystery
    and listened in the cliff-clefts
    to the Wild Goose call
    and the shelter of her shadow in the fire

    I can return,
    return no longer
    as I listen in the Universe
    to the Wild Goose call
    and the echo of her praying on the edge

    I have permitted now my wandering
    As I listen in the starlight
    To the Wild Goose call
    And the beating of her heart within my own.

  8. Detours

    Leaving home
    Going to college
    Seemed straight forward but not

    The path turned into darkness
    Ten years of pits and walls
    Endless trials
    Loss of money, relationships and confidence

    College now
    A distant dream
    An impossibility
    A mountain beyond reach

    Illuminated again
    Through illness, marriage, motherhood, divorce, death and many moves
    I found myself in college again

    15 years later
    The Path to a BS reached an end
    With a new husband, a daughter and my family present
    Graduation come with honors

    The detours like battle scars
    Remind me of lessons no classroom could ever teach
    They continue
    But no longer are they failure
    But just part of living