Tag Archive | stillness

Lenten Emptiness



Emptiness fills my world

this harsh late-winter day;

cold seeps into my walls,

sits heavy in my rocking chair,

spreads icily around my yard, a shroud

wrapped tight around the color

that I ache for in my life.


The trees in my backyard, stark branches

spider-webbed across the sky, embrace

this leadenness so gracefully;

mystery of stillness,

patience of a waiting rest.

Could it be that angels curl

in those wintered trees, breathe

with them the bitter nights, caress

their icy bark, whisper poems that seep

a solace deep into their veins?

Beneath the brooding skies, I listen

for the rustle of their wings.

Black Beauty


So noiselessly he came,

this blue-black swallowtail, to sip

lantana on my deck, his stillness

echoing for me the tender silence

of eternity amidst the noise of inner

fears, against the din of ugly tweets,

of cries to build a wall, to slam our doors

against the tide of people orphaned

from their homes, their loved ones, tossed

into the chaos of a coarse and raucous world.


His soundless beauty whispers me

a blue-black grace that flutters silent

in the anxious corners of my mind;

his quiet presence reassures;

grace wings its way into our lives,

at times so unexpectedly.

The Art of Prayer

LaTour still life

Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 –1904)


Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)

My prayer at times is calm, a

still life, fruits and flowers

carefully arranged, pastel

petals of gratitude shaping

trust and dropping peace;

quiet listening for that

whisper from beyond, elusive

though it be.


At other times, I pray a

Jackson Pollock kind of

prayer; jagged lines of grief

and questions slashed across

the canvas of my life; daubs

of anger, neediness, and greed

flung onto the walls that shape

the contours of my soul.


A mystery, this business of prayer;

I do not understand, but yet I pray;

not as a master artist; more like a child

offering crayoned sketches to her mother’s

love; yet pray I do; paint my longings

and my needs, my tangled fears,

my angers, and my joys; and like that child,

simply trust that kindly, grace-filled eyes

will see and treasure all my brush strokes,

all my reaching—for a presence,

for a wholeness, for a beauty,

in my life and in my world.

Advent Snow


The wind mere angel whisper on this

cold December day; virgin snow

spreads soft across the fallen

acorns and forgotten leaves.

Sparrow cocks her head to listen to

the solemn silence ringing through the

emptiness of trees; Squirrel stands upright

with folded paws, reverent beneath this

white cold falling from the skies; the world

is washed; the snarls of pain are hushed;

hushed, too, the noise of anxious rush to

prove our worthiness to be alive;

stillness blankets shrubs and rocks,

the railing on my deck,

our fears and greed as well.


It will not last. I know.

Gray slush will soon collect

along the streets; grime will

cling again and crawl beneath

our skin, and war and hate will

clang across the world; but in the

quiet of this winter white, I stubborn

light my Advent-candled hope; await

the Child who will one day unfurl this

pristine interlude of peace until it

fills the whole of space, the whole of

time, beyond the reaches of the farthest star.

Rock of Ages

winter rockancient rock in my back yard

Silent she greets me every

morning as I open up the house;

collects my smiles, hears my sighs;

my rock of ages—past and yet to come.


Silent she listened once to autumn sighs of

Lenape maid who watched her warrior man

dance and whoop in my back yard, then

fade into the forest trees to fight the strangers

threatening to change the only world she knew.

Listened again as Lenape lament turned into summer

songs of Dutch haus-frau beating her rugs on

clothes-lines strung between my ancient oaks. 

Later heard the wintry roar of guns as

tattered soldiers tramped across this ground,

weary, cold, but ever hopeful that their revolutionary

hopes would usher in a spring of independence peace. 


But long before the Lenape or any other humans made their

mark upon this land, my rock had rested eons in her

spot, remembering her journey from those distant rocky

tors, the ache of glacial ice that scraped and pushed and

prodded her through ages and ages of time, until a warming earth

took off her frozen coat, and left my rock alone,

abandoned here; her sisters, cousins scattered far and wide.


Perhaps her scrabbled trek from home so far away;

perhaps her lonely vigil through time beyond

imagining; perhaps her silent witness to the

history of this space; perhaps all these have given her the

graces that she gives to me each day,

sitting there beneath my bordering trees;

solid, firm, and still—she anchors me in

here and now; reminds me of how tiny is my

life, yet how immensely prized each moment

given me to live and love and hope.