In October, I went on a silent retreat at the Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama, to fulfill a requirement for my Doctor of Ministry program. In the quiet of the beautiful Benedictine community, I found myself writing a lot, especially poetry. Here is one of the poems that emerged from that time of quiet. A blessed Thanksgiving to each of you. Know I am grateful for your eyes, ears, and voices, that join me weekly on this blog.
I. Unverified Area Ahead
I turn on Convent Road,
and hear familiar last words:
Unverified area ahead,
Exercise caution while driving in these areas.
Use the dotted line for guidance.
The female GPS voice will no longer
Tell me where to turn
Or how many miles remain.
She will go silent
As I navigate by sight and not sound
On roads unknown by her system
Until I reach the address entered,
And then she will declare the final word,
II. Exercise Caution While Driving In These Areas
I walk the Stations of the Cross
To reach the labyrinth.
White stone etchings
Within red brick line a paved road
That becomes unpaved.
Turn left to enter the cemetery.
Turn right to enter the labyrinth.
I choose the narrow, winding path,
Exiting the wide, straight street
Headstone shadows behind me,
Easing me into the twig-peppered circles
With careful step.
III. Use The Dotted Line for Guidance
The curves and turns are hardest.
I turn one foot, then the other,
To stay within the bricked lines.
Roots from a nearby tree
Have slipped into the path,
Lifting me one inch higher
Only to bring me back down again.
I long for the center,
For the space to stand, to dance,
To spin in circles within the circles,
To move into broader dotted lines.
Yet when I reach the center,
there is no voice declaring, Destination.
There is still the exit from the labyrinth,
Still the hill with remaining stations
Still the silence of navigation.