For the New Year

“For the New Year, 1981”

I have a small grain of hope— one small crystal that gleams clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division, will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source—
clumsy and earth-covered—

of grace.

 

-Denise Levertow

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Kneeling

Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.

-R.S. THOMAS

advent

I wait

with quickened hope
for crooked paths
to straighten,
with tough-soul’d
anguish,
while blinded
keepers of the keys
shut out
God’s own.

(If such a thing were possible.)

I wait,
and will not be
dismayed.

For tiny shoot
of Jesse tree
took root in me
to love
transform,
give sight
set free.

-Sr. Christine Schenk

Advent Antiphons

From Mary’s sweet silence,

Come, Word mutely spoken!

Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!

Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.

Fullness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,

Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,

COME!

-Sr. M. Charlita, I.H.M.

instruments (1)

The sky is strung with glory.
Light threads from star to star
from sun to sun
a liv­ing harp.
I rejoice, I sing, I leap upwards to play.
The music is in light.
My fin­gers pluck the vibrant strings;
the notes pulse, throb, in exul­tant har­mony;
I beat my wings against the strands
that reach across the galax­ies
I play

NO

It is not I who play
it is the music
the music plays itself
is played
plays me
small part of an innu­mer­able
unnum­ber­able
orches­tra.
I am flung from note to note
impaled on melody
my wings are caught on throb­bing fil­a­ments of light
the wild cords cut my pin­ions
my arms are out­stretched
are bound by ropes of coun­ter­point
I am cross-eagled on the singing that is strung
from puls­ing star
to flam­ing sun
to

I burn in a blaze of song.

-Madeleine L’Engle

gardens

It started in a garden.
The Father’s agenda reigned.
Life.
Fullness of Life.

Fruit on a tree grew plump
and a lie entered with a hiss.
Darkness’ agenda spilled out
like a cup overturned.
Death.

The lush space now empty.
Exiled and saddened.
No longer able to enter.
Cut off.

A second garden.
Sweating blood and another hiss.
The Father’s agenda reclaimed.
Love.
Love that fosters Life.

A second tree.
The fruit of salvation displayed
for the world to observe at noon.
Death turned into Life.
Darkness’ agenda overturned.

A second empty space.
Alleluia, for the stone is rolled away.
‘Why do you look for the living
among the dead?’

A third garden.
Look around and see the fertile ground
desperately needing Life to spring forth.
Trees thirsty for living water,
needing wisdom to live, grow.
See the empty hearts,
hollow eyes?

Give us strength to fill them.
Fill them with the story
of the garden, tree,
and empty tomb.

Fill them with Life, Lord.
Cultivate the garden anew.

-MCS, 2013

pied beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour 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 plough;
And áll trádes, 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

…”in the great hands of your heart”

I am praying again. Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.

I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as thought someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart-
oh let them take me now.

Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God-spend them however you want.

-Rainer Maria Rilke “Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God”

Toward Silence

Toward Silence

LENT

“What are you giving up for Lent?”
“You.”

“It must be something very dear.”
“Quite true.”

“What do you hope to win by it?”
“Peace.”

(As if one quenched the sun by saying,
“Cease”!)

CLOISTERED

There is a song in silence
That sound could never sing.
There is a light in darkness
That suns could never bring.
There is a love in loneliness,
That baffles ecstasy.
Call me, beloved, I shall not come,
I go…to Calvary.

-Earl Marlatt