Viral Dailies, Day 22

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One more new day

A spot returned to an otherwise muted sun.

“I’ll not be waylaid”, she said, panting warily

in her suffusing bathtub of light, coughed up

and thick, like an overworked calendar.

“There’s much to lose on these days

of quarantined madness.” 

So, without another word, she sighed

and winked, baring her breasts to

suckle one more new day.

 

Picture found here

Pushing breath from blue

Viral Dailies, Day 21

Rob's Lit-Bits

By Valerie Dodge Head By Valerie Dodge Head

We push out, breath from blue,

like the breaking waves, alone with their thoughts,

and catch ourselves among the reeds.

Passing alone through districts of enchanting knowledge,

we cough up our meal of bones, still hungry to drown

inside a conundrum bigger than our shoes.

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Our little oceans, best of our times, rimmed ‘round

with shortening days, the noose of our shrinking

humanity; allure, the currency of dreams.

Still, one swims in what one drinks and drinks

what washes down and around all that looks

for more horizon. Let the four-quartered moon

sing what is only heard when deafness prevails.

______

The tragedy of the good, the irony of evil, foisted

upon hearts ill-suited for the journey in.

So it seems that the only way to bleed to life

is in the unmooring of our punctured ships.

There is more room to bleed when splintered…

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Viral Dailies, Day 20

Our National Poetry Month/#poetryinisolation initiative continues apace. Today belongs to Christine Valters-Paintner. Christine is our online abbess at Abbey of the Arts. 

On the Abbey website (which you are hitherto strongly urged to frequent and muck about in!) we read the following:

“The Abbey is a virtual global online monastery offering pilgrimages, online classes & retreats, reflections, and resources which integrate contemplative spiritual practice and creative expression with monastic spirituality. We support you in becoming a monk in the world and an artist in everyday life. We believe in nourishing an earth-cherishing consciousness. We are an open and affirming community and strive to be radically inclusive.”

What follows is a most encouraging piece that gives full-throated praise to those who deserve it most, those who have stood in the gap, and the God whose expansive grace envelopes all, especially during suffering.

Watch. Listen. Pause. Pray. Rinse. Repeat…

Praise Song for the Pandemic

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Get to know Christine through the many rich spiritual resources available on her virtual monastery page, including prayer resources for the pandemic.

She has two books out this year. This one.

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And a collection of poems.

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Thanks for all you do among us, Christine, to help shape the artist monk within!

Viral Dailies, Day 18

Today’s Viral Dailies comes to us by way of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Still one of my all time favourite poets. He was a Jesuit priest who never totally felt comfortable as a poet.

His earthly work with the pen ensured a better, richer ministry as priest.

As a Jesuit minister of the Gospel, his poems are infused with the breath of heaven.

There is a sadness afoot in the following poem. It seems written from one whose heart longs once again for the passionate, innocent throes of youth but has been forcibly awakened to the fears and disturbance of maturity and “the real world.” What in youth enthralls will soon disappoint.

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Spring and Fall

To a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Viral Dailies, Day 17

Life in quarantine has many challenges, not the least of which is motivation. This poem explores impetus, drive, planning and purposefulness; all of it coming from invisible places inside us.

Let us not lose hope or dim our lights when all around us screams at us to do so.

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What if I told you

 

What if I told you of a man,

who cautiously patents his days, pressed

like flowers in a book?

A man who rolls out his life in hours

like dried tobacco leaves, inhalation of a

hope, seen but never felt.

 

What if I told you there was

a peddler in impatient thoughts?

He travels light but burrows heavily

down, down and down again.

In a parsonage of promises, he stocks

well-peppered seasons of sweat in dreams.

 

What if I told you to mind

the gap between the see-saw

of intention and deflection?

It doesn’t move fast enough to blame

fear or mistrust, but too fast to note

progress or potential.

 

What if I told you there was one

whose animus, stolen or unmoved,

finds no spark for fires even blind men feel?

Is it hibernation or evolution; 

asleep or merely astute, above all these

pestering questions?

 

What if I told you that man was me?

Viral Dailies, Day 16

For National Poetry Month in isolation, we’re going old school. Interesting Literature has this to say about our offering today –

‘I Hear America Singing’ was added to Whitman’s landmark poetry volume, Leaves of Grass, when it was reprinted in 1860 (the original edition had appeared in 1855). The poem offers a chance to observe and analyze Whitmanian free verse in microcosm. In eleven lines, Whitman offers a hymn of praise to the many different people in his nation and the various songs they sing.

Let’s enjoy a few deep breaths of the inimitable Walt Whitman.

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I hear America singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Viral Dailies, Day 15

Alas, we reach the midpoint of our celebration of National Poetry Month and communal endurance of responsible isolation. So, the poetry posts continue with added gusto and a hope that clings. Today, we’re hunkering down with America’s greatest poet eco-prophet, Wendell Berry.

This short, concise work at once thrives and pulsates in its minimal affect. Perfect for those of us trying to do the same!

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What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.