These Days

I miss singing, the way we trusted/the air that moved between us. I miss/the casual assumption that everything/would be all right in the morning.

L Lynn Ungar

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes around the streetlights in Paris and what I see is an aberration caused by old age, an affliction. I tell you it has taken me all my life to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, to soften and blur and finally banish the edges you regret I don't see, to...

L Lisel Mueller

Poem in a Time of Peril

Of course truth is hard. It is a rock. Yet I do not think it will fall upon me And crush me. I do not think they can hammer it to bits And stone me. Help me place the rock in the strong current Of these rushing waters. I must climb upon it. I must know how truth feels....

B Barbara Rohde

Meditation on Opposites

Spirit of the universe, Life force that flows through all beings, Power beyond our knowing, We ask you to help us see beyond our dependence on opposites— To transcend our desire to know who is like us, and who is not. Open us to the knowledge that in this room there are complexities and...

A Alex Kapitan

Utterance of the Timeless Word

You bring yourself before the sacred, before the holy, before what is ultimate and bigger than your lone life bigger than your worries bigger than your money problems bigger than the fight you had with your sister and your aches and pains bigger, even, than your whole being, your self who is part...

A Angela Herrera

Let the Artists Win

I vote we let the artists win the ones covered in paint from their last attempt to smuggle across the beauty of a bowl of fruit the 14-year-old rapper learning to spit throwing life's chaos on the rhythm wheel uncovering the shapes that live on after the next break I say we let the food bank...

B Bob Janis-Dillon

The Virgin Monologue

“‘God did it’ isn’t an explanation,” said Joseph. He got no account for the baby’s chromosomes, No description of the mechanism that Transmuted the divine shadow into royal blood. “‘The devil made me do it’ would have sounded better to me,” said Joseph, Though it never did him...

J Jim Burklo

Letter from Our Better Angels

Dear One, We have received your letter and we hate to tell you— not hate so much, but are a bit afraid to say— we cannot grant your requests as stated, but can only remind you of familiar things: First, faith. Faith in yourself and trust in others. We know it can be terrifying to be vulnerable,...

S Sean Parker Dennison

Winter Meditation

Something has changed in me this winter. In the past I’ve focused on how long winter is, How miserable I find it, and how it seems so interminable. This winter, I find myself thinking instead That every day, every hour, every minute Brings us just that much closer to spring. We all experience...

T Tess Baumberger

Labyrinth

Walk the maze within your heart: guide your steps into its questioning curves. This labyrinth is a puzzle leading you deeper into your own truths. Listen in the twists and turns. Listen in the openness within all searching. Listen: a wisdom within you calls to a wisdom beyond you and in that...

L Leslie Takahashi

Part as Parcel

I am part of you, O Truth Unfolding. I am part of you. I am part of a cosmos. I cannot see either its edge or its end. How amazing! I am part of a galaxy of a million, billion stars. They say it’s a pinwheel. How wonderful! I am part of a system of planets that swing around a small parent star.

M Mark L. Belletini

The Eternal

It is not old, Yet it comes through the wisdom of the ages. It is not young, Yet it comes through the passion of innocence. It is not revolutionary, Yet it comes proclaiming change. It is not solitary, Yet it travels alone, seeking the open heart. It is not lonely, Yet it seeks relationship....

S Stephen M Shick

Each New Day

Why is this blank page staring back at me, mocking, like an affliction, and fraught with dread? How can it hold such sway, this simple emptiness? Might it instead be a gift left on my doorstep overnight, waiting to be broken open with the dawn?...

P Peter Friedrichs

The Solstice Teaches Us

The Solstices teach us that darkness comes, that darkness goes. The Solstices teach us that light comes, that light goes. The Solstices teach us, calmly, silently, to be calm, silent. Learning. The Solstices teach us as we circle the sun that everything flies....

D David Breeden

A Prayer for Salvation

Here I am, God, here I am. Here I am with the dishes in the sink, the dust on the shelves, the skin on my hands which is drying out and starting to crack. My appetite has gone, without any other bodies to remind my body of itself. I can pray for salvation but my bones know this is all there is....

P Peregrine Morkal-Williams

Some Day

Once upon a time I was Now I am Some day I will become Once there was And now there is Soon there will be And some day there surely shall be Once upon a time we were Now we are And some day (Hallelujah!) we shall surely become Amen Amen...

M Margaret Williams Braxton

Useful Anger

A good anger swallowed clots the blood to slime —Marge Piercy But what is to be done with it, this anger that dare not be swallowed? Should it be diluted with denial, cooled with indifference? Should it be sweetened with good intentions, softened with lies? Should it be spewed out red hot over...

S Stephen M Shick

We never know who we are

We never know who we are (this is strange, isn’t it?) or what vows we made or who we knew or what we hoped for or where we were when the world’s dreams were seeded. Until the day just one of us sighs a ­gentle longing and we all feel the change one of us calls a name and we all know to be there...

M Margaret Wheatley

The Atheist Prays

I am praying again and how does one pray when unsure if anything hears? In the world I know as reliable and finite when time and matter cycle back and forth and I understand the answers to so many puzzles there are moments when knowing is nothing and I this accumulation of systems, histories...

B Barbara J Pescan

In the Ruins

A man sits on the rubble— not just in the rubble, but on the pile of what remains. No people in the bombed-out houses. No dogs. No birds. Just ragged hunks of concrete and loss. And on his perch he is playing an instrument constructed of what is left—an olive oil can, a broom handle, a bowed...

L Lynn Ungar

Goddess

In a sacred place of honor in the temple that is my home stands a gleaming, powerful image of The Venus of Willendorf, proud and naked, her unbound breasts resting on her fully rotund belly, blissful and heavy with the ripeness of all life and the sweet milk that sustains it, having no apologies ...

M Misha Sanders

Hope

See how the winds have shaped her hands to hold hope? So tenuous, it trembles like a hummingbird’s heart. She gently carries hope to a nest in the midst of the maelstrom and tilts it into the bowl of tiny feathers and mosses. Hope is so hard to cup. She might need your help when it seeps through...

J Jennifer Pratt-Walter

I Say It Touches Us

(adapted from the original) I say that it touches us that our blood is sea water and our tears are salt, that the seed of our bodies is scarcely different from the same cells in a seaweed, and that the stuff of our bones is like the coral. I say that the tide rolls in on us, whether we like it or...

M Marni Harmony

Anxiety

Fill me with anxiety, O Life! Electrify me, make me nervous Beyond any staid concern For those things which challenge Placid, flaccid ways, anachronisms of being. Keep me tense, a-tiptoe, Blinking at the novel, Reaching out for those things Just beyond my fingertips; So that I may make patterns,...

A Arthur Graham

The Web of Life

There is a living web that runs through us To all the universe Linking us each with each and through all life On to the distant stars. Each knows a ­little corner of the world, and lives As if this were his all. We no more see the farther reaches of the threads Than we see of the future, yet...

R Robert T Weston

Of Course

Of course I want the truth, but here’s the rub: Truth doesn’t sit around still as a rock, it breathes and flows and turns inside out. Ever seen a lion in a cage? He paces and glowers. That must be how God feels locked in our little religions. Look how big the sky is, the deep distances between...

J Janet Hutchinson

Desire

I want not dainty bone china-cupped, oh-so-polite, pinky-extended sips, but guzzle-by-the-gallon, drink-from-the-fire-hose- two-hundred-eighty-psi- Niagara-Falls volumes, and inch-thick slices of hearty multi-grain-hard-crusted- with-stick-in-your-teeth-seeds-bread (none of that bland supermarket...

P Peter Friedrichs

A Saving Faith

I had dreams about anywhere-else-but-here But our faith kept me close. I believed I had done something to deserve it. Our faith shouted, “No!” I tried to imagine it never happened But our faith reminded, “Yes, grief is real.” I thought I might die But our faith nurtured my life. I wondered...

M Megan Visser

This Body

This body is not what it was I got shin splints from running today Ten years ago all I’d get was smelly feet My back aches just from sitting these days In my youth, all my pain came from climbing trees This body is not what it was Not some alien thing thrust upon me So clumsy, always in the way I...

K Kayla Parker

Uncounted Psalm

Why did I listen to Your calling, O God? Why did I step out on faith, O Love? Why did I lift my feet, ignore my fear, and run ­toward the unknown? Now I am far from home. My heart aches for my familiar land, for ­people who greeted me with kisses. I can’t see the way back—it doesn’t exist. I...

A Angela Herrera

Spiritual History

Let my body remember. Let my hands and feet remember. Let my breath remember those who have come before me, those who have come before us. Didn’t Muhammad wait quietly in his cave? And didn’t Jesus sigh silently by the blue lake? And Guan Yin, didn’t she sit in silence thinking about what to...

M Mark L. Belletini

Materializing

In what form did the spirit appear to you today, the blossom of a flower, the tug of a child’s hand, the silent twinkling stars, an old woman smiling at the bus stop, a lover’s ­gentle hug, a presence so close to your soul you ­could almost touch it, words of truth formed unbidden in your...

J Jean M. Olson

I have always hated to wait for things

Through the windy night something is coming up the path towards the house. I have always hated to wait for things. I think I will go to meet whatever it is.

E Elizabeth Coatsworth

Holy Week Triptych

This trio of poems in multiple voices imagines the journey of Jesus’ followers, from the gates of the city to the empty tomb. At the Gate He came in on a donkey, But we greeted him as a King. The crowd was huge that day. As though all of Jerusalem’s poor, tired, downtrodden had flooded into the...

M Molly Housh Gordon

Lucky Streak

Who cast a spell over my world? Who opened the doors, stirred the crowd of possibilities, put gold dust in my dreams causing my life to turn? O Fate, O Love, O Spirit, O God: is it true that all good things must end? Or have you set me on a path of meaning Not luck Of clarity Not magic And this...

A Angela Herrera

Joy

I have been wondering what the morning glories know. Is it envy that compels these vines to strangle other flowers arising in their path? Or perhaps self-preservation, to climb these walls, forsaking humbler beings, winding greedy stems around the trellis in their hungry pursuit of light. Still,...

T Terri Pahucki

It Is That Time and That Place

Now is the time to call on the memories of the ancestors who thought they ­could not walk another step ­toward freedom—and yet they did. It is that time and place to call on the memories of the ancestors who, when the darkness of their lives threatened to take away the hope and light, reached a...

Q Qiyamah Rahman

The Writing on the Wall

if we show them at all most of us who write our secrets down and call it poetry prefer to slip it under the door and run, and if we must be present at the reading, disguise ourselves in sotto voice and pale monotone but here was one who could take us into his personal life and show us around as i...

R Ric Masten

The First Pair of Underpants

I wonder Did God’s heart (I mean the love-mushy, endearing part of God) That part The heart that I don’t really believe in as a thing, With pulses... ANYWAY Did that heart Did it Break just a little; When God realized "Oh no— They have made leaves into underpants!" If God says things like...

R Robin Tanner

Dependence Day

It would be a quieter holiday, no fireworks or loud parades, no speeches, no salutes to any flag, a day of staying home instead of crowding away, a day we celebrate nothing gained in war but what we’re given — how the sun’s warmth is democratic, touching everyone, and the rain is democratic...

J John Daniel

The Wanderer

A cold grey sky, a cold grey sea And a cold grey mist that is chilling me; A light that burns on the harbor bar With the dull dim glow of a distant star....

L Lewis H. Latimer

Living Waters

We float on a sea hidden beneath dry surfaces covered by stones. Isn’t this why we drink and dive so deeply go down to the sea in ships risk drowning, again and again? Isn’t this why Moses parted the waters to begin his journey? Why Jesus crossed the waters to comfort and challenge us? We were...

S Stephen M Shick

Love Abundant

I lift my eyes up to the hills from where will my help come? My help comes from Love abundant. my help comes from the hills my help—my help, it comes from ancient Mothers whose hearts beat in mine. It comes from the trees that sway and the breeze that sways them . . . my help comes from all that...

A Alicia R. Forde

Jesus at the Parade

Later there were mutterings at the bar, and throughout the law courts, that Jesus only showed at the gay pride parade to love the jewel, but not the quality, to love the potluck, but not the food, to love the vessel, but not the wine, to love the hot rod, but not the driver, to love the baby, but...

B Bob Janis-Dillon

Inexplicable

Inexplicable. How we rise each morning, instead of burying our heads under bedcovers, sewing them shut. Why we keep on welcoming babies with bone-deep joy to this sordid world. How we fill burlap sacks with grit and gratitude, our hands shredded as we drag one over the other....

K Karen G. Johnston

A Prayer among Friends

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive with one another, we live here in the light of this unlikely world that isn’t ours for long. May we spend generously the time we are given. May we enact our responsibilities as thoroughly as we enjoy our pleasures....

J John Daniel

To Outgrow the Past

To outgrow the past but not extinguish it; To be progressive but not raw, Free but not mad, critical but not sterile, expectant but not deluded; To be scientific but not to live on formulas that cut us off from life; To hear amidst clamor the pure, deep tones of the spirit; To seek the wisdom tha...

W William Laurence Sullivan

Let Me Die Laughing

We are all dying, our lives always moving ­toward completion. We need to learn to live with death, and to understand that death is not the worst of all events. We need to fear not death, but life— empty lives, loveless lives, lives that do not build upon the gifts that each of us has been given,...

M Mark Morrison-Reed

New People Came This Time

New ­People came this time, and we shared our stories, the familiar truths, about shock and healing and being glad that at last our children can say who they are, and we know them now, love them more. Funny stories and good news ripple around, and smiles about lesbigay ways, and jokes, against...

G Geoffrey Herbert

Deal with God

Sometimes I offer to make a deal with God. “I’ll tell you about my resistance to prayer,” I say, “If you’ll explain the Holocaust.” God declines to comment, and the lawyers make their prepared statements on his behalf. I kind of hate when he does that. I love God best, I confess, when I...

B Bob Janis-Dillon