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Tuesday: poetry

For me, poetry goes beyond my daily bread; it is a sumptuous feast for my soul that invites me to sit a while and savour the deep mystery that is the Divine, to revel in the rich textures and scents and flavours of a world that cannot be contained in only language or logic, to feel full yet reach still – with longing – for one last delicious mouthful knowing too well that it is probably not my last …. 

So, today, I want to share three poems that I keep returning to at present – knowing full well that few people share this love and many, quite frankly, find poetry intimidating. 

Still, I invite you to skim through them and find the one that speaks to you in some way: that captures your attention with a word or image, that provokes questions, that plonks you in the deep end with an exasperated “I can’t make any sense of this” …. 

Read through it, slowly. 

Read through it again – out loud if possible – capturing the rhythm of each line; noting where there is a pause (comma), a break (full stop), or a breathless running on of one thought into another.

Highlight two or three words that seem important to you. What do they mean in the poem? What do they mean in your own life? 

Read it one last time – not seeking to make sense of it or find the lesson but allowing yourself to be full of what it is that you are feeling: gratitude, joy, confusion, wonder, frustration etc. Let that be the starting point of your prayer today ….

God, I feel ….

Resurrection flower

You place a resurrection
Flower on my desk, an explosion
Of yellow blossom from a green
Stem. All winter it was buried
In the dirt, covered with snow,
Soaked by rains, companion to 
Earthworms. Easter in a 
Daffodil: Christ leaps up
In your green laughter and light
embrace.

Eugene Peterson, Holy Luck

Prayer 

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver, Thirst

Elusive

There is this thing 
that sits just out of reach
so that whenever I stretch out for it
I am left with my fingers
dancing in the wind
and the feelings of being exposed.
So, instead, I curl myself up again
and shimmer inside, enough
to be satisfied. I stop grasping
and let something grasp me.

Joel McKerrow, Hollowed out lungs

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