Category Archives: Poetry

Cloisters

It has been one of those quiet, hidden days,
Like the wind brushing past dark cypresses as they sway;
Or the murmur of a shell, pressed close to the ear,
Which only the keenest perception can hear.
(“It is I, do not fear.”)
I have flitted through this dusk of a day,
A moth in dim air,
Or as shadows of leaves tapping at my windowpane.
Known only to him who has passed it with me.
Traversing the cloisters alone,
“It is Myself, how can you be afraid?”

-Sister Mary Agnes, Order of Poor Clares

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Sing, oh!

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man’s nature
To call my true love to my dance.

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance.

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Traditional English Carol
Go here to hear it sung by a choir at King’s College, Cambridge.
The picture is by Arthur Rackham.

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Filed under Art, Music, Poetry

Rejoice!

Merry Christmas everyone! It pleases me to the skies to have arrived in the season where I can say that. Here in the mountains, our tree is glitteringly up and there are candles galore flittering in every shadow of the house. The first Christmas party takes place tomorrow night, and the first Christmas visit trip (to Nashville!) begins on Thursday. I’ve mentioned my forays to KY before to visit Gwen, one of my favorite people in the world. She visited my family every year at Christmas from before I was born, and this year, we get to go to her and spend a couple of days in lovely old Nashville on the way. I’m breathless with the rush and fun of the season already.

Thank you all so many times over for your lovely comments and congratulatory emails and orders regarding my new book. Your sharing in this joy with me is the first of my Christmas gifts, I’m pink-cheeked with delight. Someone commented that for those who don’t live here in Colorado, I ought to post a bit of what I’ll be sharing and some of the books I’ll be reviewing at the tea. I think that’s a grand idea.

Now that the first wildness of the holidays is over, I’ll be posting again. I have so many thoughts stored up. For now, here’s a poem I read recently that gripped my spirit and wouldn’t let go:

Wild geese are flocking and calling in pure golden air,
Glory like that which painters long ago
Spread as a background for some little hermit
Beside his cave, giving his cloak away,
Or for some martyr stretching out
On her expected rack.
A few black cedars grow nearby
And there’s a donkey grazing.

Small craftsmen, steeped in anonymity like bees,
Gilded their wooden panels, leaving fame to chance,
Like the maker of this wing-flooded golden sky,
Who forgives all our ignorance
Both of his nature and of his very name,
Freely accepting our one heedless glance.

“A November Sunrise” by Anne Porter, from An Altogether Different Language. © Zoland Books, 1994.

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Filed under Musings, Poetry

Two Hands

Hope is
Two hands fisted,
Held before you side by side.
One caging in a wasp,
The other clasping
Butterflies.
Touch one too bold,
Provoke a sting,
Clutch the other,
You will crush,
Its wings.

Hope is holding,
Wishing with an ache,
The patient balance
Of two possible, opposing ways.
It’s to endure,
The weave of pain,
With grace,
The tension of a maybe grief,
Against a fragile, fluttering,
Faith.

IMG_0633

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Good Sabbath

Glory be to God for dappled things,
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow,
For rose moles all in stipple upon trout that swim,
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings,
Landscape plotted and pieced, fold, fallow and plow,
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how),
With swift slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers forth, whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him
.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Better

God’s world, to me,

Is sometimes better than His word.

A heretic you say?

Then show me how a row of text,

Can echo grace like broad blue sky,

Will twelve-point type,

Trace mercy’s path as deftly as the stars?

Writer as I am, I must confess,

Words crumble with the burden,

Of my need,

To touch and taste and gasp,

God’s grace.

Cold terms of goodness sometimes leave me chilled,

An outcast,

From the thought they should reveal.

But wind,

Can breathe His mercy,

Sharp, like storm air fresh upon my face.

While all the black that stretches twixt the stars

Hints at the depth,

I keen to taste.

Words are bright… and brittle,

Sculpted ice that shimmers yet is frail,

Beneath the ray of light

Which is,

The speechless thought,

The nameless height and width and depth.,

Of Him…

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Filed under Nature, Poetry

Breathless

It’s a getting up
A keeping on,
The dance to an eternal song,
A turning round until,
You’re right again.
A journey up,
A setting to,
The trilling of an endless tune,
A crazy whirl that never seems to end.

It’s the high road up to heaven,
And it just keeps winding round,
Up to laughter,
Down to sorrow,
Through the nights and new tomorrows,
And though I’m breathless,
Still it seems,
That I am bound,
To journey on.

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Filed under Contemplations, Poetry