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Invitation to Poetry: Silence

Welcome to the Abbey’s Poetry Party No. 60!

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!  (If you repost the photo, please make sure to include the credit link below it and link back to this post inviting others to join us).

We have started a monthly theme and in September it is silence, drawn from the first principle of the Monk Manifesto: “I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.”

Write a poem about this commitment and desire.  When you quiet all the noise, both inner and outer, what is the voice you hear?

Photo Credit: “Morning Mist” by Claudia Gregoire

Let your response to these questions emerge in a poem and share below in the comments with the Abbey community.

On Sunday, September 23, I will select one name at random from the submissions and the winner receives a free copy of my upcoming book Desert Mothers and Fathers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings — Annotated & Explained straight from SkyLight Paths.

September’s theme is Silence (Abbey Resources):

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47 Responses

  1. * called *

    the still –

    the quiet –

    unknown thought –

    unknown place –

    unknown heart –

    unknown mystery –

  2. Still, in One Peace

    Fitting is it not that matters mounting,
    with mystifying weight, find smaller place
    and quieter voice beside waters of one’s heart, stilled?

    Edges blunt as catalysts osmose, and color replaces frightened
    monochromatic moods, all oozing
    together in the panacea of grace.

    I catch my breath long enough to taste air,
    long forgotten and let the taste of quiet
    fill my longing lungs with life, raw and real.

    Here, there are no answers,
    only better questions; hints of high above
    where life grows smaller but clear, unified.

    Lastly, I stretch legs, weary from
    longer strides than meant for.
    Here I am, still, in one peace.

  3. For Silence

    I long for that place, that chair,
    that hovering mist in which
    I could collect myself,
    break free from my day’s chaos
    and ground myself once again
    in the One who is the ground of
    my being.

    I yearn for that place, that Adirondack chair,
    that shimmering lake, that silence
    where my racing mind could settle,
    drop its defenses, its posturing,
    its constant streams of voices
    disposing me to this or that,
    and be eternal.

    I have a place, a chair, the air,
    the sun and sky and all I really
    need to stop, collect, to settle
    and let go of all activity and noise
    God waits.

    Ann Wren Howard September 2012

  4. Beautiful picture! Here is my very rough draft:

    Is sometimes golden

    or so I hear.

    Today it only brings me
    the parry and thrust
    of endless inner voices
    To do lists,
    I should make
    Conflicts I want to avoid


    when the rare moment comes
    and all is hushed
    within and without,
    there is forgetfulness
    and peace –
    And blessed nothing.
    To do,
    To say,
    To hope
    To feel,
    To repress,
    or address.
    Just me
    and the silver of quiet.

    ©2012 Mikaela D’Eigh

  5. I come early

    I find You
    You find me

    fish splash
    water laps

    fog lingers
    leaves rustle
    sand crunches

    My lungs fill
    my heart swells
    gratitude & life

  6. It is this place
    Where I shed my several skins
    All my ways of being in the world
    I lay down all my weapons
    Give up my defenses
    And rest.

    It is this hour
    Earth still warm from God’s embrace
    I breathe myself into eternity
    My heart breaks open wide
    And all my truths

  7. Amongst crowds pushing forward with frantic needs
    I ordered a coffee the other day
    Tall caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso
    Through the din simply spoken, fully expecting exact service
    Not loud, not threatening, no anxiety just a simple smile and word

    Is this how you spoke the world into being?
    Whispering softly to your collective magnificent self?
    Simply spoken, fully expecting your request to be filled?
    Let there be light and snap, a switch is flicked and it was light
    Warm, sweet satisfying light

    Saccharin platitudes of the soft bellied liberal
    Harsh angry tones of the hardened conservative
    Two masks on the same schizophrenic monkey
    Vacillating between loud screams and quiet sobs
    Masks of wisdom-hiding the lack of deep thought,

    Is this how you spoke your plans to the pillars of faith?
    Mealy mouthed words or screams at the top of your holy lungs?
    From the tiny bush, around the familial meal, the quiet night vision
    Father to favored child, friend speaks to close friend-
    the communion happens-Warm, sweet and satisfying

    Talking heads excitedly declare the news of the day
    Small and great wrapped up neatly into pabulum sound-bites
    Of equal size and weight, significant only if entertaining
    Paris dances while wars rage, floodwaters rise and squirrels water-ski
    The direction driven by base fear and simple pleasures

    Is this the voice that surrounded the young girl in Judea?
    You spoke gently, the spirit moved and the Word was made flesh
    The Seed germinated in the soil of man to bring the healing fruit
    The answer to all the questions that churn in the depth of our being
    A tiny candle ignites a great darkness warm, sweet and satisfying

    Pulling at the flesh of a not-quite-living-existence, the dark vultures
    Activity, Noise and Pleasure feed on what they can, ruin the rest
    The air is stale the food is cold, the rooms filled with broken toys
    Words fail to remedy, no longer distracting enough to fill even a shallow well
    Nothing satisfies, nothing lasts through the night

    Come gentle voice speak again as you have done so long ago
    Whisper your perfect words in my inner ear that my soul longs to absorb
    Plant the seeds of your living will in my heart and take deep root there
    Let your desires overwhelm the monkey screams of modern life
    Speak your light again into being, into my being, warm, sweet and satisfying

    1. Wow! That blows me away! One sentence among so many that speak loudly to me is “…dark vultures Activity, Noise and Pleasure feed on what they can, ruin the rest.”

      “Plant the seeds of your living will…” is a prayer I will remember.

      1. All this background noise you write of is keeping me awake at night. Yes!! Holy Spirit plant the seeds of your living will in my heart, whisper your perfect words into my inner ear and help me breathe through you! Well written!

  8. The Beginning

    It was the day
    she discovered wildflowers
    woven into her wicker chair,
    and there were swans.
    She spread her golden
    lap robe of sorrows
    softly around herself,
    cries for healing
    a slender thread
    sewing her to this
    fragile moment,
    mended in the silence
    of the lake.