I returned late yesterday from the most recent session of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. My wife had sent me a text and I completely misunderstood the urgency. I rushed into town expecting to head to the hospital. I was mistaken.
While at the Academy I began to explore writing poetry again. It has been several years since I have engaged in writing poetry on a regular basis. I brought a book of poetry to help me to pass the nights in silence. I fell asleep the first night of the Academy with a stanza of poetry ringing through my mind. I awoke after a night full of beautiful dreams remembering why I loved poetry.
When a particular time in reflective silence inspired me to attempt to write a poem the floodgates were flung wide open. I started scribbling, scribbling, and scribbling some more during my free time. I spent an hour reflecting in poems, prayers, and psalms before heading to bed that night. I felt as if a long dormant part of my personality was finally breathing after years of holding a breath.
For the next 18 months (at least), I have set poetry writing based on the daily readings from the Revised Common Lectionary to be a part of my ongoing covenant to grow closer to God. Why? First, you cannot write poetry on a passage without reflecting upon the passage first. Second, most of my poems are shaped around prayer language. Third, it allows me to keep that part of my soul breathing.
To be clear, I am not always going to be sharing poems that I write. As a matter of fact, I wrote three poems today and the first one that I wrote is not for public consumption. Sometimes the poems will just be bad. Occasionally, I am going to take time off. On rare occasions, the poems may not be appropriate, like the poem I wrote based on the Judges reading today. With that being said, I do not mind sharing poetry on occasion.
Today’s readings in the Revised Common Lectionary include Revelation 16:1-7 and Psalm 123. I will share the Revelation poem followed by the Psalm poem.
A voice calls out from the temple:
“Pour out your bowl into the sea!”
So, I pour into brackish water.
A face watches from the shore.
Nothing moves, jumps, or tries to flee.
Eyes behold a sea of slaughter.
He wrote these things down at Patmos long ago.
He did not understand all of the things he did see.
This devastation came as humanity’s daughter.
My soul has had her fill.
Scriptural words make hope lie still.
Look at my heart and give dreams to me.
The only Source of light that I see,
Break apart contempt and pride.
Lead us to life–be our Guide.
This work by Robert Dean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.