Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

One Sincerity




just outside my window

larkspur erupts

into generous blue—

in me blossoms

an old prayer

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One Prayer




with no snow

to make snow angels

I flap my arms

make night angels

send them to you

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Before you slog the next mile,

God sits beside you

and rubs your feet and ankles,

tells you jokes,

and spills his heart to you—

the next day,

still exhausted,

you find yourself laughing

grateful to have feet.


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Three Answered Prayers




in the beginning

before the word

the silence




walking the other

direction it’s so obvious,

that waterfall we missed




in my pocket

this laughter—all day

I pat it to check if it’s still there

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Showing Up




Before I pray

I do not wash

my hands—

not out of disrespect

but because

I do not

want to pretend

to be any cleaner

than I really am,

this filth,

this patina of depravity,

this is part

of why

I have come

to pray—

if I waited

to wash the stains

from my skin,

my lips, my sleeves,

I might

never pray

at all.

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Strange Prayer




When we know

we are lost

it seems

so obvious

to stop,

pay closer attention,

ask for help.


May we always






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I Guess This Is a Prayer

One by one,

I rip the roots

from dirt and shake

them clean.

Stalk by stalk,

I clear the garden

walk of all

the brittle stems.

And who might come

to pull from me

whatever’s brown

and dead?

My own hands

always find

another task

another garden.

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If I prayed, which I don’t,
then we could say that I asked
god to open every door that I
had shut, every door I did not
know was there.
Why I asked this, well,
this will make sense to you
or it won’t, but every closed
door I was aware of
had became a point of suffering.
And with every open door,
I could feel congruence,
the world rushing in to create
more space in me.
And god said to me, though
we could not say that it was a voice,
god said, Open even the door with people jeering
on the other side, their faces twisted
in hate? Even the door to an entire
forest of sorrow? And because
this conversation was not really
happening, we could not say that
I said yes to the questions, but
we could say, perhaps, that
the yes began to root in me
and it was not so much a matter
of someone opening the doors
but that the doors more or less
dissolved. And what I had thought
could separate me from anything else
was shown to be nothing at all.
I would like to tell you that I felt grace
in the opening, but the truth
is I felt such terrible ache.
And god did not come put a hand
on my cheek and tell me
everything would be okay.
In fact, if anything, the voice
I did not hear told me
there are no promises.
But I felt it, the invitation
to keep opening doors,
to not close my eyes,
to not turn away.
And though I do not pray,
I said thank you, thank you.

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On Prayer

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.
—Rabindranath Tagore

If I pray, which I seldom do,
but if I do, let me not pray
to be sheltered from dangers,
nor let me pray to be fearless
when facing them. Fear is part
of this human bouquet, as fragrant
a bloom as gratitude.
And it seldom seems to work,
anyway, this premeditation of prayer.
Prayers seem to rise on their own,
like smoke from a volcano no longer latent or
like steam from a cup of mango Ceylon.
But if I might suggest to myself a prayer,
let it be this, though I do not know
who I say it to: Thy will be done.

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Again Again

Your prayer should be, “Break the legs of what I want to happen. Humiliate my desire. Eat me like candy.
It’s spring and finally I have no will.”
— Mathnawi, III (4391 – 4472), “Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion,” by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

I was supposed to pray
for broken legs. Instead,
I prayed for a train to take
me anywhere but here.
Years went by. The train
never came. Rabbit brush
and salt brush pushed up between the rails.
So I thought perhaps I should
pray instead for a horse, but remembered
soon after that I am afraid of horses
and don’t really know how to ride.
So I prayed for car and felt
pretty clever that I remembered
to pray that it come with a full tank of gas.
But the only road out of here
is so muddy, so slippery, so steep,
so riddled with rocks
that any car would soon be stuck.
So I started to pray for strong, strong
legs to carry my weight and take me
far. And I began to walk and grew stronger,
and walked and felt fulfilled, and
the more I thought I was finally in control,
the less I thought I needed to pray. But nowhere
I went was a place that I wanted
to stay. I ran faster and faster
from here to here, out of breath
and dizzy from searching, feet blistered,
body weary, I found a new prayer:
Break the legs of what I want to happen.
Humiliate my desire. You know how it is.
I was still. And it worked for a while—
the sweet release of failure. And then, in the quiet
spring of surrender, the sound came
far off but clear, the whistle of the train
just coming through a tunnel
on its way to somewhere.

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