You can’t make a red rose blush pink,
it’s sanguine face has loved too deeply
to be innocent.
Purple, not blue, colors the violet,
a lie told for too many years.
I looked for blue in your violet eyes.
I hadn’t cleaned my garden, spring clean,
winter clean up, whatever it is called.
My life is different now. I’m not the same.
I left my garden to itself, its wild self.
This morning under grey skies and
afternoon promise of hail, I met
my tiny plot as if for the first time, not
fearing to plant, released to chance.
I cleared away wet leaves from a
summer now gone, a winter of farewell,
a spring lengthened, I uncovered
him spiraled among the stems.
Maybe it was just an abandoned skin,
but he blinked, curled around himself,
his little tongue tested me. We didn’t move,
we watched one another from behind our eyes.
I let him be, I didn’t need to interfere,
the wild in my garden needed space,
and honor, recognition of its beauty
hidden quietly in its presence.
My garden will wild itself this summer.
Instead of demanding perfect order, I
will rest in perfection of being. I will
honor the wild, bold in its course.
If I don’t still myself I can’t welcome the birds. It is
against the backdrop of silence I hear them. Little by
little their being unfurls. First the loudest, closet to
my ear. When I release into you, relax in your arms,
beauty erupts. Flap of wing, flash and whirr, a trill
between two lovers. I hear. I don’t need to see. But
I must welcome silence first. Little by little
I become One with your Incarnation.
Sorry, but this note is a bit long.
I go to a retreat house several times a year. Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House is a silent house, unless there is a group retreat where the participants are encouraged to share in their workshop. However, they are still required to keep silent in the rest of the house, as well as on the grounds outside. Being that this is new for most, whispered conversations, stolen giggles or phone calls home can ring through the house without the suspects suspecting anything. One does not realize how expertly silence carries sound. I don’t mind. I understand.
But this weekend there are no groups. There are only ten of us and the silence is luscious.
Except for the birds. Oh, the birds.
I have never heard such a choir in my life. It has continued through day, except for an occasional pause allowing them to listen, along with us, to the thunderstorms.
My poem came from my wide reading so far this weekend.
Nadia Bolz Weber‘s homily at the 2015 Festival of Homiletics regarding Jesus instructing his disciples to become-child like is refreshing. Also, I so welcome her choice of referring to God as God, not Him or even Her. Thank you.
Also, informing this poem is a group that is new to me. Street Psalms makes a home in Denver and my pastor, Scott Jenkins, works with them. This quote from their e-mail scripture lesson spoke volumes to me. It is adapted from their book, Geography of Grace: Doing Theology from Below, Chapter 4, by Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke
“The Apostle Paul uses another metaphor to unpack the incarnation in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do.” The Greek word here for workmanship is poiema. For Paul, the incarnation means that “we are God’s poetry” to the world. God is speaking poetry to us and through us to the world.
It is our distinct privilege to be in community with people in hard places who live as God’s poetry in this world enfleshed in human form. Raising up poets to incarnate God’s gospel song to lost, disenfranchised, and marginalized people is a vital enterprise.”
I cannot live my spiritual life without my home base. This weekend I am reading Eknath Eswaran‘s A More Ardent Fire, bringing me back to the basics of passage meditation and discovering the path to the Way of Love and the Way of Knowing. Thanks to my meditation partner, Kathleen Gorman, for this brilliant suggestion.
Finally, I am memorizing a new passage for mediation. Who would think that this would tie everything together – even using some of the same terminology spread throughout my reading – as it was chosen first before the other readings came to me.
Ah, yes. Synchronicity.
St. Teresa of Avila:
Her heart if full of joy in love
for in the Lord her mind is still
She has renounced all selfish attachments
and draws abiding joy and strength
from the One Within.
She lives not for herself, but lives
to serve the Lord of Love in all,
and swims the sea of life
breasting its rough waves joyfully.
Here are some photos of birdies I snapped on my walks.
There is power in sacred writ. Words
of ancients chanted, handed down,
intoned in untold voices, one to the next
through every epoch, every blue moon.
Then formed to ourselves, informed for
our time, an utterance – a silken web
dropped, attached to the one
that came before until weavings loop
and mesh, criss-cross, plait and bend
across light years banding me to you.
I am on a silent retreat. This. :)
Bible, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Bhagavad Gita,Upanishads, Qur’an, Talmud, Tao-Te-Ching, the Holy Vedas, Tripitakas, just to name a few.
I tried to explain my reclamation.
I wasn’t clear. I don’t do this with
ease, explaining what I mean.
I wanted to share my restoration,
finding beauty once again.
Not images of a perfect body,
round eyes rimmed in thick lashes,
luscious full lips moist with desire,
skin so smooth tears can’t leave a trail.
Oh, and young, tight boobs that hold a shape
to cup perfectly in your hand.
All of this fades and leaves the
wearer wondering. This is not
Beauty rests quietly at every turn.
Lines and colors, spring sunrise,
gentle smiles and merry eyes.
Easy words and sensuous
touch to cool the sear of pain.
Stars gaudy between tall
towers, and swirl of steam
rising from rusted grates.
Dogs and lace, and purple.
Laughter. Oh, laughter. Not
in searing cleverness, but
sweet and hearty. Song of birds
on window ledges above
gritty alleyways. Big golden
between concrete slabs.
Rain, in any denomination.
Beauty in your hands when you hold
mine, make cake, pen poetry,
burp babies, plant tomatoes,
paint baseboards, forge loveliness
in every domain.
Beauty is grace and gratitude.
I have reclaimed Beauty after
too long a pause, the Creator’s
oblation to me.
In gentle light of fading sun,
when I know deep stillness
will soon shroud my being,
I slow myself to pause in the
flush of day’s end, and ready
myself to plunge with audacity
into the unknown.
It is my feast day, a remembrance
day of my birth, the beginning
from depth into light, from
assurance into bold awakening.
I’ve traveled far since my advent,
crossroads in the distance call for
negotiation. But this night gives
me joys to savor.
In gratitude I hold you dear,
my friend, my love. My heart
is extravagant with your presence.
I am brave in your goodwill. I
am boundless in my journey
with you at my side.
Roll after roll the sea summons me,
Each crest’s rise and fall calls.
The passion of its being frightens,
I am no match for its ardor.
I come to its edge in simpleness,
A submission of myself.
An mere atom loosed, set adrift
in a bowl of infinite devotion.