Nearly a year has passed since I published poetry as a weekly musing, and even then it was poetry that I wrote years ago. I had drifted away from reading and writing poetry simply because they were not priorities. Then in August, I began seeing a spiritual director. I did not know her prior to our initial meeting, and after only two sessions with her, she handed me an outline for a specific form of poem. She said, “I don’t know if you write poetry, but if not, this is a really neat exercise…”
When the Spirit speaks, the heart best listen.
Ever since then, I have read and written poetry weekly. When I look at photographs on social media, instead of clicking the heart or thumbs up symbols immediately, I pause to see if the Lord is speaking, if there is a voice for the photograph. I make myself write in verses even when I don’t feel like doing so, or when I deem the product “bad.” Sometimes those “bad” first drafts seem a bit better on future readings.
Poetry is indeed a neat exercise for spiritual discernment, and I am grateful to reclaim it after the Holy Spirit’s gentle direction. During this Lenten season, I look forward to sharing some recent poems with you in this space, as well as photographs when applicable.
The first came to me when I saw a friend’s photograph with the simple title of “peace.” The old camp song, “Peace Like a River,” began flowing through my mind, and the poem soon followed.
To which discipline might the Holy Spirit draw you (back towards) this holy season? May our eyes be open and our ears ready to hear the sounds of deep waters into which He draws us.
all good things to each of you,
peace is a river
i grew up singing,
i’ve got peace like a river
in my soul, in my soul…
but what if peace is a river?
both smooth currents and choppy claps,
both sharp rocks and rounded stones,
both hum of water and crash of waves.
i do not long to be like a river.
i long to be with the river
where opposites flow:
without worry or care.
for every broken space,
there is a smooth edge
calling me to lay down
my weapons of fear and certainty
to slip into the flow,
to be carried and not to carry,
to become the jar of clay
set by the water
waiting to be filled,
not to fill,
that is a River.