Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Writing on the Wild Edges:
Participant Poem from Francine E. Walls

At the end of August, 17 creative souls gathered with us for our retreat on Inismor – Writing on the Wild Edges of the World. We had a wonderful group with participants from all over the U.S., Canada, Singapore, and Australia. I am delighted to share some of their poems over these next few weeks. Pour a cup of tea, imagine yourself on a windswept limestone island in the Atlantic, and savor for a while.

From Francine E. Walls:

The Abbot of Inis Mor turns to his Flock

Pow!  Waves stomp on sand, a fringe
of lace spreads out,
rooted kelp lets down its green hair.

How long must the sea speak its liquid song before you listen?
A currach bobs at anchor on this bay.
Steal away to Iceland or beyond, or,
throw away rudder, oars, sails,
drift to a place of beginnings.

Though hunger growls in your belly,
cold slices like a blade, pirates beset you,
dive into cockles, fish, whales;
cry like a gull, swim into froth.

Your way may be barely discernible,
gray against gray, blue against blue.
Closer, see a cleft in the wall, a slender harbor.

Be certain of your desire.
What you release can never be retrieved.

Then, call yourself Bold.
Say, Fare thee well,
Say, Welcome.

—Francine E. Walls

Poems by Francine E. Walls appear in the writing text, Writing Across Cultures: A Handbook on Writing Poetry and Lyrical Prose, the anthology, Peace Poets v. 2 & journals such as Pontoon, Passager, Ekphrasis, damselfly press, Avocet & Strange Poetry.  Born & raised in the Pacific Northwest, she worked for years as a college librarian and teacher.  Her blog of poems & photographs is at A Long Perspective.

You might also enjoy

Sister Thea Bowman ~ A Love from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, We are very excited to be hosting ValLimar Jansen this Friday for a mini-retreat. She is an extraordinary musician and performer and has a special love for Sister Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and prophetic witness to the Black American

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Susan Fish

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Susan Fish’s reflection on meeting Jesus by a cedar tree. Imagine walking to a river, my spiritual director says. Sit with Jesus

Read More »