Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

 

Adorn yourself, O cavern!
Make ready, O manger!
O shepherds and wise men,
bring your gifts
and bear witness,
for the Virgin is coming,
bearing Christ in her womb!
Vespers Hymn of St Nicholas Day

Advent, 2011

For millenia past counting, humanity has experienced both a fascination and a dread of caverns and caves. Caverns can be awesome and beautiful; caves may be narrow and constricting, or broad and expansive. Our earliest ancestors found shelter within them, and a place of defense against weather, wild animals, and human foes. Other ancestors entered caverns for shamanic rituals, and painted their walls with the creatures who both sustained and frightened them.

In the Holy Scriptures, caves are the hiding places for warriors and prophets. They are also places of revelation—Elijah hears the Voice of God in a cave, and later discovers that the Voice is most truly heard in the silence of the heart. In the Psalms, David finds caves to be a place of prayer, penitence, and forgiveness. Even the Arc of the Covenant and the altar of incense, in flight from the destruction of the first temple, find refuge in a cave. And over and over, from Abraham to Judith to Lazarus, caves are the place of burial, symbolizing the words we hear at our own burial: “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shall return.”

Is it any wonder, then, that the early Christians identified the place of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth as a cave? Truly, it was a refuge from the perils of travel, and the crowds filling the streets of Bethlehem. This humble cavern sheltered the prayers of Mary and Joseph, shone with the adoration of shepherds, received the Magi and their gifts, and rang out with the angels’ songs of great joy.

Assuredly, this lowly cave became the Holy Dwelling of revelation—the revelation that God has come among us, clothed in human flesh; it is also a foreshadowing of Jesus’ return to a cave for His own burial, the same cave that would bear witness to His Resurrection.

May this season of Christ’s birth remind us all to pray for and serve those who also seek refuge in the night, protection from all danger, and a Holy Dwelling—be it ever so humble—in which they too may receive the gift of God’s love, and learn to sing with the angels.

The Rev’d. Susan Creighton

                AND THE ANGEL SAID:
TO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY
IN THE CITY OF DAVID
A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD.

Born in humility,
Becoming our flesh:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Mothers will come,
To nourish a babe:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Fathers will come,
To shelter the weak:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Children will come,
Trusting, unafraid:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Shepherds will come,
Knowing his Voice:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Royalty will come,
To adore the true King:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Servants will come,
To serve at His Throne:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Sinners will come,
To weep at His Feet:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Mourners will come,
Seeking the Light:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Prisoners will come,
Longing for freedom:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Priests will come,
To lift bread and wine:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!
Born in humility,
Becoming our flesh:
                Sing, O Angels of Heaven!
Proclaim the birth of Christ!


 GLORY TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON,
AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT:
AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING,
IS NOW AND EVER SHALL BE,
UNTO AGES OF AGES. AMEN.

SC+, 2010

EASTER MORN

Joseph said,
“The Tomb was closed—yet now the Rock is rolled away?”

Pilate said,
“I’ve washed my hands of this MAN—I’ll hear no wild tales HE yet lives.”

The Women said,
“We came with oils, but found a shroud—where can HE be?”

The Rain said,
“Our tears did wash HIS face—as we will wash each soul Baptized from this day hence.”

The Earth said,
“We welcomed HIS bones—and found our ancient mass transfigured into Light.”

The Fire of Hades said,
“We feared HIS coming—now HE commands us as Holy Fire.”

The Wind said,
“HIS Spirit turns our silence into Alleluias on high.”

The stars said,
“With HIS light risen from the tomb, our brightness is eternal.”

They all cried out,
“Alleluia! Christ is Risen! HE is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

SC+, 2010

 

 

 

  

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

 

 

 HOLY SATURDAY

Joseph said,
“Here—I have a tomb, new, unused. HE may lie within.”

Pilate said,
“Take HIM—I care not where this troublesome man lies.”

The Women said,
“We weep, we mourn, but gather the oils—we will bind HIS wounds.”

The Rain said,
“Our tears will wash HIS face.”

The Earth said,
“We welcome HIS bones, formed from our dust before time began.”

The Fire of Hades said,
“We fear HIS coming—HE will steal our bounty.”

The Wind said,
“HE breathes no more, and even I am silenced.”

The stars said,
“HIS light is hidden, so we must shine bravely through darkest night.”

They all said,
“In silence, We will keep watch.”

SC+, 2010

 

 

The Whale
            A meditation for Good Friday

Sinking, sinking, sinking.
deep rest in darkness cold:
Tide washing torn flesh,
dilutes the blood,
chills the soul,
tossing limbs to and fro.

Silence beyond silence,
Cold beyond cold,
Fear beyond fear.

Bones lose strength,
and sinews sag
their very form is lost,
and what was once a life
with borders, edges, frames
returns to elemental stuff
where even cells break down
and atoms float into the void.

Consciousness and will
no more do dwell
within, without, or with at all.
There is no where, no up, no down,
no time, no space to mark
the passing of a life,
or entrance of a death. 

            And each is all.

“Remember: you are earth,
and to earth you shall return.”
We’ve got it wrong,
for earth herself
emerged from silent sea—
a pattern in the chaos we
label terra firma,
deluding our senses
into stable cosmos, order, law.

The very law of elementals
which moves in cyclic spiral,
crumbling cliffs and grinding
rocks upon the shore,
as earth dissolves into the sea,
so do our bones and soul,
becoming one within the void.

            And each is all.

Yet even there the life force moves,
and gently bumps against
my cells that are no more,
consumes and hallows emptiness:

“And there goes that Leviathan . . .”
that swallowed Jonah, spat him out:
Bone and sinew, flesh and blood?
or broken down to cell and atom, DNA?

What elemental form is known in death?
Is there some cell, some atom,
some electron with my name
engraved upon its very being? 

The dead return to earth,
that cosmic ordering of chaos,
that quieting of turbulent form. 

Yet is there not a further path,
where even earth
returns to void?

            And each is all.

 

SC+ ca. 1998

 

 

In the deep silence of Maundy Thursday, we do such simple things: gather together to share a meal, tell ancient stories, break bread and pour wine, wash weary feet…and begin a vigil that will lead us through the terror and desolation of Good Friday, to the triumph and joy of the Resurrection.

EUCHARIST
Harsh, knocking, pounding words:
TAKE  and  BREAK –
Wounding and healing heart and mind
to touch the point of LOVE.

Meet smooth, soft counterpoint:
BLESS  and  GIVE –
From a womb of terror
Birthing eas`ed pain, and  LIFE.

Harsh – soft – the rhythm roams Creation:
TAKE  and  BLESS
BREAK  and  GIVE
A symphony that sings of LOVE.

SC+ 1991

In 1982, when I wrote this poem, I was a member of a religious order, and it was our custom to have the sister presiding at the offices give a meditation for the community. Although the time of some of the commemorations was slightly different then, it still seems to fit….even from the silence and solitude of the hermitage.   SC+

LORD,  IT  IS  WELL  THAT  WE  ARE  HERE
A Week  of  Light  to  Ashes

And Peter said to Jesus:  “Lord, it is well that we are here.”
We’ll build three booths:  for Prophet, Law, and King —
to house the glory of the mountaintop
For human eyes dare not gaze upon this great illumining…
The cloud descends, and Voice commands:
“This is my well-beloved Son.”

Then Polycarp did have his turn:  “Lord, it is well that we are here.”
Four-score-and six you’ve led me well; I’ll not deny you now.
We’ve journeyed long and far and hard
to meet this day at Caesar’s call:
Now joyous flames will consecrate the love that asks not gain.

And Sisters said to Jesus:  “Lord, it is well that we are here.”
O day of ash and penitence! Your awesome weight surrounds;
The desert calls:  We turn again in silent prayer
To offer heart and soul and limb to join the sacrifice of God.

Then Matthias said to Jesus:  “Lord, it is well that we are here.”
I followed you through hill and vale; I listened at your feet.
I did not know you knew me, Lord, but now your call comes clear:
You’ve chosen me to fill the gap; and I say “yes” — in fear.

George Herbert ends the week:  “Lord, it is well that we are here.”
Priest and poet I did not seek, but a Country Parson feeding sheep.
Yet you have called me Lord, of your great Love, to enter in
and taste of thy sweet meat:
“So I did sit and eat.”

LORD, IT IS WELL THAT WE ARE HERE.
24  February 1982

A Christmas Grace

O most high, gracious God, we give thanks this day for the birth of your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

       Born in a poor stable, He brought us the riches of Heaven;  

       Born in loneliness and rejection, He brought us into His own Holy Family.

       Born in the darkness of a winter night, He brought us the Light that conquers all despair;

Pour out your blessing, O Lord, upon these fruits from your creation, given to nourish our bodies, as we remember those who are hungry, or in any need or trouble;

Pour out your blessing, O Lord, upon our friends and families, gathered, and distant, as we remember the stranger, and all those who are alone, or frightened, or grieving;

Pour out your blessing, O Lord, upon our hearts, and souls, and minds, that we may become bearers of Your Light into this world of darkness, this world You love eternally.

All this we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end, unto ages of ages. Amen.

 SC+, 2009

  

Camano Moon

Camano Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eons ago, when scarce I knew the lode was true,
I chipped away with pen and ink,
Following ancient lore that gold lay
Deep within the canyons of my soul.

Midst darkest tunnels discovering
New maps, a compass, chant, and breath,
Bringing shining hope of truth
Breathed fresh from alien lands.

The Lode was deep and wide and true;
Bearing jewels of peace, and faith, and love.
Delving deep, I sank within, and
Slowly, in dark gold, the silence fell.
    
Long days now, the tools sit idle,
Hid ’neath a cloak of silence.
Weighing their heft and form, I
Fumble to find an edge, and cut a word.

For miner’s heart still stirs,
And even Silence sings,
But in the Lode, All is One,
And mere letters flee from WORD.

                       DeepLight Anchorhold
                       6th February 2005
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