Reflections

Category: Poetry

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Groundhog Day

Celebrate this unlikely oracle, this ball of fat and fur, whom we so mysteriously endow with the power to predict spring. Let’s hear it for the improbable heroes who, frightened at their own shadows, nonetheless unwittingly work miracles. Why shouldn’t we believe this peculiar rodent holds power over sun and seasons in his stubby paw? Who says that God is all grandeur and glory? Unnoticed in the earth, worms are busily, brainlessly, tilling the soil. Field mice, all unthinking, have scattered seeds that will take root and grow. Grape hyacinths, against all reason, have been holding up green shoots beneath

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Rise Up Rooted

  Book of Hours II, 16  How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of even the strongest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world. Each thing – each stone, blossom, child – is held in place. Only we, in our arrogance, push out beyond what we belong to for some empty freedom. If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees. Instead we entangle ourselves in knots of our own making and struggle, lonely and confused. So, like children, we begin again to learn from the things, because they

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Zen of Housework

Rachel at Swandive left me my 1000th comment and so is my drawing winner! Another wonderful poem about finding the sacred in the most ordinary: The Zen of Housework I look over my own shoulder down my arms to where they disappear under water into hands inside pink rubber gloves moiling among dinner dishes. My hands lift a wine glass, holding it by the stem and under the bowl. It breaks the surface like a chalice rising from a medieval lake. Full of the grey wine of domesticity, the glass floats to the level of my eyes. Behind it, through

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Sacredness of All Things

I love poetry that speaks of the holiness of the ordinary, the sacredness of all things. We make artificial divisions between sacred and secular, between what is worthy of our awe and gratitude and what is not. This is one of the elements I love most about Benedictine spirituality. In the Rule, Benedict wrote that “all utensils and goods of the monastery” are to be treated as “sacred vessels of the altar.” (RB 31:10-11) Esther DeWaal writes that Benedictine life “simply consists in doing the ordinary things of daily life carefully and lovingly, with the attention and reverence that can

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We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners

We have not come here to take prisoners, But to surrender ever more deeply To freedom and joy. We have not come into this exquisite world To hold ourselves hostage from love. Run my dear, From anything That may not strengthen Your precious budding wings. Run like hell my dear, From anyone likely To put a sharp knife Into the sacred, tender vision Of your beautiful heart. We have a duty to befriend Those aspects of obedience That stand outside of our house And shout to our reason “O please, O please, Come out and play.” For we have not

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Awakening

There are many metaphors for spiritual transformation: birthing, unfolding, awakening to name just a few.  I love the image of waking ourselves up from the ways we have been asleep to our callings and to the nature of the world.  Milton at Don’t Eat Alone posted a wonderful poem by Antonio Machado who writes: Beyond living and dreaming there is something more important: waking up. Milton describes Machado as a “poetic alarm clock calling us to awake, look, and listen.” I was reminded of one of Michael Meade’s lectures I was listening to in which he asked, why do we insist on

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Blessing the Bread

I just had to share two more things before I head to the airport.  I awoke early and so had time to discover a stunning post on Jen Lemen’s blog today about Love and another poem from Panhala, again by Lynn Ungar (according to Amazon her book is out of print, I think I need to make a point of finding a used copy): Blessing the Bread Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz. Surely the earth is heavy with this rhythm, the stretch and pull of bread, the folding in and folding in across the palms,

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