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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’




On the day
I most needed
to remember
how to pray,
a prayer shawl
arrived in the mail.
I wrapped myself in it
and felt in the trinity stitch
the singing of my name,
felt the colors tether me
to my own heart.
Sometimes when we
feel most alone,
the world conspires
through the goodness
of others to remind us
who we are,
remind us that now
is the right moment
to wrap ourselves
in the kind of beauty
no fear can extinguish,
now is the right moment
to feel how,
though we are alone,
love floats
around our shoulders
soft and so warm.


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In Orbit


 
 
Count the one beautiful blue and green planet.
Count it again.
Say “home,” then marvel at the taste of tears.
Notice how no borders matter from here.
Remember how important they feel
when standing on a border. Once
you dreamt of being alone. Of being
far away from parking lots and grocery store lines
and men with guns and violent conviction.
Now you dream of touching someone else,
of breathing in the scent of garden dirt,
of hearing a voice without static, of lying down
in a bed, held by your own sweet gravity.
What you would do to taste a tree-ripened peach.
Give up on counting stars. Draw lines between them,
creating your own constellations:
The open hand. The river gorge. The crooked evergreen.
A semi-automatic rifle, which you re-constellate
into a small bouquet of lilies. Consider forgiveness.
Wonder how long it will take before it feels authentic.
Circling has taught you how things come around.
Remember? There was a time you didn’t think
you knew how to pray.
 

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This Difficult Day

Today the prayer is words
I can’t yet find,

words that flit away
like spring juncos, like chickadees.

Today the prayer I wish for
is not the prayer that finds me—

less like the perfume of a fully bloomed flower
more like the dank and fusty scent of spring.

Some days when I forget how to pray,
if I listen with my whole body,

the world reminds me how what is used up, spent
is also a vessel for the holy,

as dry leaves become a nest
as bare branches hold the sunrise.

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Amen

Oh green, I miss you,

miss how you used

to flourish in me,

no matter how brittle,

how brown I’d become.

I didn’t know then

I took you for granted.

I miss your softness,

your tenderness,

all the promise inside you,

the sunlight you carry

in your veins.

Some days I remember

what it is to be green.

Some days, when it’s gray,

I tell myself green is possible again.

Some days, when the rain

still doesn’t fall,

I practice how to break.

Some days, I swear I’ll find a way

to become green again,

no matter how unlikely,

how parched this field.

Somedays, though I long since

forgot how to pray,

the prayers find me anyway

and my empty hands

will not come down.

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You need a rainstorm.
            —Paula Lepp


I need a rainstorm
on the inside, the kind
that relentlessly pours,

the kind that rearranges
everything, leaves nothing
untouched. I need a deluge

that drowns out any voices
that would offer easy answers.
I need a cloudburst to flood

everything I think I know,
that carries me until I, too, am current.
Have I gotten so dry inside,

so brittle and sure?
Give me a gulley washer,
the kind that scours

and remakes its path as it flows.
I want it, and yet
when I feel the first drops

I scramble for the umbrella,
as if it would do any good.
There it is, petrichor—

earthy fragrance of change.
The big rain will come when it comes.
There will be no stopping it then.

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 inspired by a conversation with Craig Childs

Let it come, says the voice,

a voice not quite mine,

and somehow more my voice

than any other.

Let it come.

 

And by let, it means,

Open your hands,

 

And by it, it means

Anything.

 

And by come, it means,

You be still. Enough running,

enough fighting, enough

pushing away.

Meet the world that’s here.

 

I close my eyes,

and an invisible cage lifts.

Let it come, says the voice,

and I move my lips with it

until the prayer

is my own.

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Ephemeral Prayer

 

In five billion years, the hydrogen fuel

at the core of the sun will be spent.

Forces of gravity will take over,

compressing the core. The rest of the sun

will expand, vaporizing the earth.

I’ve studied the science, read the texts.

In the meantime, I live in a canyon

with rock walls one-hundred-fifty million years old—

and sometimes, like this morning,

despite rumors of doom,

the forces of gravity take over

and I fall on the floor laughing—

a riotous squealing and braying,

tears leaking, chest heaving,

grateful to big time for this very moment

when I am almost seamlessly joined with my shadow.

It rolls with me on the floor as I hoot and giggle,

praying in the language I know best.

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After cutting open hundreds, thousands

of avocados, I marvel as my friend Kyra

cuts off the top. Slices it right off.

And I stare at her, at the knife, at the tip

of the avocado listing on the cutting board.

How easily she scoops out the creamy green flesh.

How simply she cuts more rounds around the pit.

 

All these years, I’ve sliced avocados lengthwise.

It’s as if I’ve just learned a new word for yes.

As if the sun itself just rose right here in the kitchen.

It takes so little to open us, to help us

see everything new. Even that prayer I pray

the same way. These hands. This common fruit.

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Willing

 

 

To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.

—Mark Nepo

 

 

Let me listen.

Let me not know what to say.

Let me receive the world

as it slurs and shrieks,

hums and whispers,

speaks and bleats.

Let me lean ever closer in.

There are walls I have built

in my ears. There is so much

I would rather not hear.

Let me listen.

Let me receive with wonder.

Let all be worthy of note.

Let me be witness, eavesdropper,

spy. Let me never pretend

to be deaf.

Let the world slip into me

and change me

as light changes a room.

Let me be silent, let me listen,

and in listening,

let me be new.

 

 

 

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The white sauce whisked to smoothness

before the cheese is added,

and the elbow noodles boiled till they’re al dente,

 

the Pyrex buttered with long looping swirls of the fingers,

the cheddar spread evenly on top.

It is not easy for most people to see

 

devotion in the mac and cheese.

It doesn’t look like prayer.

But it’s there.

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