In April, 18 creative souls gathered with us for our retreat on Inismor – Sacred Rhythms of Sky, Sun, Sea and Stone. We had a wonderful group with participants from all over the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia. I am delighted to share some of their poems. Pour a cup of tea, imagine yourself on a windswept limestone island in the Atlantic, and savor for a while.
From Kathy Marsh
Lilting through the air,
The full-hearted song of bird
Weaves into the air,
Braiding into a joy
That touches the landscape and
The crevassed walls;
The muted, mingled shades of earth;
The bright, unexpected blue, of flower.
The Spirit dances through the long grass,
Pausing to breathe into the stillness,
Then wooshes up in praiseful delight
Which sculptures the clouds
Where the birds weave, before
They alight to sing their paean of praise.
Do you like the smell of garlic?
The path winds into the sacred grove
Of dappled light, where sunlit shadows play.
The sun warmed air caresses and coaxes the
White starred accolytes
To release their scent in benediction,
Perfuming the air
Where bees lazily drone
And flies swarm the air.
Fallen tree sculptured by tactile moss,
And succoured life gently creeps
Into a lush carpet of shaded green,
Where the wild garlic bloom
Their star brightness across a green sky
Of verdant bloom.
Like mirrored glass
The sheen of unruffled water lies,
What stirrings of life
With their stories untold,
Beneath the pure glisten
Of reflective beauty
What secrets and shapes
Coalescing into form?
The reflective surface
Turned to mirror down
What glimpsed stirrings
Will I see?
Eyes focused, instinct honed,
The raptor dives,
Arrow-piercing through the air
As it screams the wind down.
Talons locked on prized prey,
Then heaved away.
What if? …. …..
Prey unprized, falls away,
Weighting through the air.
The raptor now airborne ,
Wings lightened, flies free.
Reflections on Inismor
The journey unravels,
Revealing mystery of landscape,
Where feet have trod, have trod,
Traversing the flint-stone pathways,
Past the crevassed walls
That stone by stone were toiled,
And heaved from the bare-boned earth.
Now lichened and mossed.
Man’s imprint but a passing shadow
That fades into the flint-faced soil.
The walls of houses
Glint and spark of life, melded into
The dancing drifts of wind and air.
Hermit cells and altars
Lying open, in homage
To the immensity of sky,
Where the clouds gather
And the salt breezes blow.
And yet, and yet,
As I sit on the alcove seat
Of ruined church,
Hearing bird chatter interweaving
With gull’s strident call;
Sea’s distant murmuring
And churn of wave on rock.
I feel the pulse of life
As the storied lives
Of monk and hermit
Babble in my mind.
The stones beneath my feet,
Once moved by the tread of those,
Who trod, who trod.
My journey spools into a gathering yarn;
An ancient weaved pattern told by
That weave still the island’s stories;
Lived into shape and fireside gathered.
I hear now the island’s voice,
Which lives and dances into song.
For Kathy Marsh involvement in family and community life are important. Kathy runs a local contemplative group and is also a Spiritual Director. She has written a booklet, Writing Prayer Poetry: How to Deepen Your Prayer Life (published by Grove Books Ltd), as an encouragement to others who would like to creatively journey into prayer, and has just started co-running workshops based on ‘Writing into Prayer’.