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Invitation to Poetry: Hospitality

Welcome to the Abbey’s 61st Poetry Party!

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).

Each month we have a new theme and for October it is hospitality, drawn from the second principle of the Monk Manifesto: “I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.”

Write a poem about this commitment and desire.

What is it that you are called to welcome within?

What are the challenging voices knocking on your inner (and outer) door?

What happens when you begin a conversation willing to be changed by what you hear?

Photo Credit: Steven Elliott (please use this credit if you repost this invitation on your blog and link back to the Abbey as well – thank you!)

Share your poem below in the comments with the Abbey community.

On Sunday, October 19th, I will select one name at random from the submissions and the winner will receive a space in my upcoming online retreat – Honoring Saints and Ancestors: Peering through the Veil

October’s theme is Hospitality (Abbey Resources):

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29 Responses

  1. The Full Family Function

    the round table
    the extra tables
    the kids’ table
    the flowers
    the candles

    the welcome hugs from
    long, strong arms
    plump toddler arms
    from the cousins
    the aunts and uncles
    the friends
    the single guys
    the new girlfriend
    all the little rascals
    that make the “wild rumpus” begin

    the shadows of those gone ahead
    grandma and grandpa
    the seventeen year old cousin
    with the face of an Italian archangel

    six butts in a two-butt kitchen
    father/daughter chefs
    jokes, stories, constant loud laughter
    gossip
    therapeutic kidding
    screams and running feet
    toys over the bannister
    “who’s watching those kids anyway?”

    the old cow bell rings
    we race to the table because
    “last one to the table says grace”

    we stand at our places
    it is quiet now
    (but for a small dog’s whine
    and a child’s tiny voice)
    our hearts rest in gratitude

    Amen and we grab our plates
    head to stove and counter
    and let the grand feast begin

  2. Safety

    They are all gathered,
    and here we sit, glances shifting…
    uncomfortable, familiar, distant.

    I want to deny them (especially THAT one),
    to believe they are separate of me.
    But I can no longer play that game.

    I dare to look them in the eye,
    one at a time, for the first time.
    An incomprehensible truth revealed.

    They may go by different names –
    anger and fear and jealousy,
    confusion and ambivalence and shame –

    But their ultimate goal is the same:
    absolute, perfect, impenetrable,
    non-negotiable Safety.

    Their earnestness astounds me,
    the lengths they go to, the methods they employ.
    There are no limits.

    Imagine what might be possible…
    if only someone would give them
    God’s definition of Safety.

  3. (Correction and completion)

    Make room –
    Land freely.
    Right here; hold fast.

    The Immigrant arrives.

  4. Look!
    Here comes another…

    Is there room?
    Move over.
    Not here…go there.

    Wait!
    He’s trembling, weak, tired…

    Make room.
    Move over.

  5. I hope its Ok – I wrote another one for the party….

    Happy Song-
    Quick chatter and a struggle for my own space at the water hole
    The noise and confusion of competing needs among limited resources
    Looking for a strong wing and beak to take charge they draw so near
    Into my safe space, further and more often than I find comfortable
    Capable to find my own food and water I find the flock painfully needy
    Tired of them and their potential drain on my time and energies
    I fly a ways off, not inviting them to come one step closer

    Then a bird in the next yard sings a simple tune…
    Come to the edge of my bowl dear friends,
    I offer my space, my food and the air I breathe
    Come and sit at the edge of our bowl my friends
    Though not formally acquainted, know that you are welcome
    Come and sit at the communal bowl my friends
    A happy bird singing a happy tune to a happy flock

  6. The Difficulty of Being
    They sit together in offices of the same location
    Information flows unencumbered by space
    A quick word over the cubical wall or bumping in the hall
    The camaraderie of the group flows like good wine
    Meanwhile I exist by the happenstance of history and budgets
    Far across the building, dark, quiet and unhindered by people
    So much of life has been filled with this solitary confinement
    A condition of self design, implementation and perpetuation
    Expressions of inner smirks and observations of self sufficiency
    Fill the empty spaces that others seem to fill, with others
    Marveling at the ease of friendships that they seem to cultivate
    I wonder if I have not missed a bountiful harvest of flowers
    while embracing the little sedums poking among hard stones