Tuesday, April 10, 2012

supplication: a poem is a prayer

q: what's the difference between a face like that & a prayer,
a cupcake, an easter dress, & a prayer? a: no difference at all.

it seems that no matter how mad i get at god

i keep supplicating to her

or whatever/whoever

god is being

on a particularly tight day.

it seems that supplication is unavoidable

or maybe it's just me.

when i was birthing lula

the midwife said:

here comes the part

where every woman curses god

and calls for her mother.

what is the difference between

the two?  the curse and the prayer?

god and a mother?

what is a prayer and

what is a poem?

& why

no matter

how frustrated



or resentful

we feel about who listens--

who understands

& what we do

& don't understand

we continually

draw back

to these words

that say everything

& nothing? to,

as herbert says,

the land of spices/

something understood.

two poems for

you today:

jean valentine, my poetic mother

though she knows it not

(the link is to her reading the posted poem)

& geo. herbert

my poetic father

(i've told him, he knows he's my father as

i've prayed to him many times.)

by Jean Valentine
a labyrinth,
as if at its center,
god would be there—
but at the center, only rose,
where rose came from,   
where rose grows—
& us, inside of the lips & lips:
the likenesses, the eyes, & the hair,
we are born of,
fed by, & marry with,
only flesh itself, only its passage
—out of where?    to where?

Then god the mother said to Jim, in a dream,
Never mind you, Jim,
come rest again on the country porch of my knees.
 i forgot to post this on easter.  can't let the season pass without sharing it, or reminding you of it.

by George Herbert
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
            Decaying more and more,
                  Till he became
                        Most poore:
                        With thee
                  O let me rise
            As larks, harmoniously,
      And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne
      And still with sicknesses and shame.
            Thou didst so punish sinne,
                  That I became
                        Most thinne.
                        With thee
                  Let me combine,
            And feel thy victorie:
         For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
(also, you might like this huffington post article on prayer and poetry.  jean valentine's quote was particularly good:  "There's a likeness between poetry and prayer that is not so much thanks or supplication, but the more unconscious activity of meditation or dreaming. The likeness lies in poetry and meditative prayer and dreaming all being (potentially anyhow) healing, and all being out of our hands.")

legwear:  nada

inspiration: the mysteries that call us to prayer and poem

looking forward: dinner and bowling tonight with five of my six siblings (miss you, hilary!)


  1. I read this at the start of my SS lesson last week. I also got to sing w/the Total Experience Gospel Choir on Good Friday night in the mormon chapel w/a drumset that was positioned behind the sacrament table:

    (just an excerpt from the great G.M. Hopkins)

    Be thou then, O thou dear
    Mother, my atmosphere;
    My happier world, wherein
    To wend and meet no sin;
    Above me, round me lie
    Fronting my froward eye
    With sweet and scarless sky;
    Stir in my ears, speak there
    Of God’s love, O live air,
    Of patience, penance, prayer:
    World-mothering air, air wild,
    Wound with thee, in thee isled,
    Fold home, fast fold thy child.

    1. thanks for sharing the hopkins. "world-mothering" is so great. & how'd the TEGC come about? & who was on drums?