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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. The road ahead is curved,
    slant light
    obscures the view

    Old ears are drawn
    to the birds nearby
    singing a raucous song

    Old eyes spot a daffodil,
    reciting spring
    And strain to hear the whispered poem.

    A friend stops by
    and warms an old heart
    with an afternoon of tea and memories.

    My compass points
    the path is all detour
    to the gift of now.

  2. I love walking a labyrinth–a prayer-filled tribute to life’s mysterious detours.

    Labyrinth at Noon Prayer

    A doe and her fawn walked the labyrinth
    sometime after thunder gave way to rain.
    Yesterday’s steps erased, deer tracks fresh and deep.
    How did she nudge her young as they grazed
    beneath tree canopy, tripped on sand path to center?
    Did they pause before leaping out again,
    over fence and into neighbor’s field?

    Now, I ring the entrance bell, eye the maze,
    submit to holy knowing and unknowing,
    let go of holding, naming, owning the way.
    I listen to throat-sounds I call truth
    spoken with anger, gentleness, despair, hope.
    Summer wind carries their surety away.

    A damsel fly lights on sand ahead of me,
    arches her body, sucks pooled water.
    Her needle shape quickens,
    hovers to labyrinth core,
    rises to pale noon sun and flies.

  3. Getting Lost

    The sign reads DETOUR ?.
    My eyes see, my mind tries to comprehend.

    This way ?.
    No. I only know ? this way.

    My compass tells me True North.
    The road is rapidly changing.

    My soul map creates the possibility of an unexpected frontier.
    The sign reads DETOUR ?.

    My heart is searching for the route,
    to places beneath what was carefully made in USA
    to a brand new discovery.

    I am a tourist aboard a dream vessel,
    Drawn to reach higher.

    The sign reads DETOUR ?.
    The fear is 100% natural. I only know ? this way.

    I am curious as I walk the path in my mind.
    I find confidence to trust the change in direction.

    The sign reads DETOUR ?.
    It takes courage to trust my compass, grace provided.

    True North…the point of certainty.
    The sign reads DETOUR ?.

    My heart answers O.K., the sky’s the limit!

  4. Detour

    No idea.
    I had no idea
    this road would be so long
    or the path so convoluted
    No idea
    pinpointing my position
    would become so impossible.

    My map blown
    out the window ages ago
    and my compass
    obscured, evidence of the ten thousand times
    I lost my grip
    dropping it utterly.

    Lost but for these
    trees swaying gently
    in the wind
    and the pale shimmer of light
    that dances always
    just ahead.

  5. Here’s mine – thank you once again Christine for the invitation to take a poetry detour!


    Take another detour.
    And another.
    And another.
    Take so many detours
    You no longer know where you are:
    Where you are going, or
    Where you have come from,
    Till you are lost,
    Till you are found,
    Till you find yourself:
    In the deepest darkest wood,
    Till you find a flower in the darkness,
    So tiny and small,
    Singing so loudly of your lostness
    And your foundness,
    That you know just where you are,
    As you watch,
    As you listen,
    To the flower,
    So tiny,
    Singing in praise of the detour.

  6. Detours
    Come from the womb
    Sleep with the dark
    Boil with the blood

    Go to nowhere
    Reach somewhere

    Dress with hatred
    Jump with Joy

    Come from the womb
    Go to the earth

  7. Late!
    A harried drive … too-fast … away from one pastoral obligation … straight on toward another. From being present in one place, to breaking the law in order to share Gd’s peace in other place. Busyness has been poured in, tamped down, leveled off, and left no more room in which Spirit can abide. “Lord, have mercy on my soul,”

    And then I see them — a pair of Sandhill Cranes, elongated in flight, slicing through stiff, strong, straight Spring winds. Twenty feet above the fence lines and climbing; steady, rhythmic, mindful, but unhurried; wings rising up and falling back with relaxed intention, again and again. With each raising of their great wings they also take in a new breath, each downward thrust empties their lungs and propels them toward new possibilities.

    But these great birds do not head straight in to the wind; they take an indirect flight, a detour, across the breeze. And, I am reminded that wisdom knows such circuitous routes are often more-productive. These beautiful avian messengers inspire my own beleaguered soul to take flight into a less crowded space. The upward path along which divine Mystery guides my life is less-likely to be found in moving straight-forward into the over-scheduled ruins of some ink-stained calendar, or a 5-year plan to success.

    Long ago, a friend taught me to pray with each breath, “breathing in I feed my spirit; breathing out I cleanse my soul.” My own true journey begins in the steady rhythm of breathing Gd back into the too-full places of my life, back in — to wherever I have crowded out divine possibilities of grace and peace, back in to every thing that is me and every effort which I produce and every stillness into which I enter.

    But such can only happen if I also breathe out realities which no longer (or never did) hold divine possibility — an over-scheduled life, lack of commitment to Gd’s surprising lead, old directions toward some Presence which has now moved on, attitudes or behaviors which disable one’s soul from taking wing upon the winds of grace.

    True vocation is not about moving headlong into the gale forces of worldly success, flapping frantically like some small sparrow, suspended in flight but never gaining an inch. Rather, our life finds a true path forward only when we embrace the proper times for turning aside.

    1. I appreciate the larger message expressed, but I have to say you’ve touched on one of my all time favorites, the Sand Hills!! I was blessed to watch four of them – tentatively at first and then with a certain boldness – stop four lanes of traffic near our home this morning: a sighting always makes me smile, and grateful: now I have an additional lesson to afford them; thanks!

  8. the way is known and i walk it daily.
    i keep walking it because i always have.

    there is a comfort in the knowing.

    a sign appears before me.
    it points a different way.

    there is a confusion in the difference.

    i resist obedience to direction.
    i can find my own way.

    there is a blindness in resistance.

    i wander, lost, alone, afraid.
    i let go: i accept my unknowing.

    there is a poverty in not knowing.

    it is to this poverty that i am called.
    praise Him.