Finding Home

Do we have to be away
to find home?

Not the mortgaged
two cars in the driveway
double-income kind of dwelling

I’m talking peace
in the heart, comfort
in the soul, blessed home

I have felt Presence
in nature, witnessed Spirit
in a newborn’s eyes

beheld reverence in a dying
sister’s final breath – fleeting
glimpses, nothing solid

I seek an eternal sense
of belonging, of atonement
to radiate a knowing, holy calm

Don’t speak to me of books
or passages, or a brother
with the voice of God

The home I seek is
an inner sanctum
a whisper, a cry

a longing answered
only in moments of pure
simplicity, in stillness

this noise we create
this distancing, is only fear
and forgetting: products

of original separation
a projection of abandonment
remembering, experiencing

the numinous, the sacred other
brings me back home
and I am no longer lost.

(Finding Home was first published here in February of 2017. I resubmit an edited version for Reena’s Xploration challenge: sacred space. Image my own.)

Sacred Fire

Set the stones
with reverence
for the directions
for the spirits
for the elders –
like sacred threads,
weave legacy,

Bodies decline,
but spirit is fire –
built with sacred intent,
sparks become flames;
fire has ears
hears our prayers
the message –
for the gods,
inspiring peace.

(Sacred Fire is dedicated to my mentor and friend, Emmagene, who taught me the importance of ritual and ceremony.  I am linking up to 50 Word Thursday, dVerse Open Link, Fandango’s inspire, Ragtag community’s elder, and Daily Addictions’ decline.)


Artist’s Calling

Spirits dwell
in unlikely places,
speak to us
through lenses
their essence
embodied in
child-like faces,
or animal snarls,
begging to be freed.

I am shamed
by my awareness,
helpless to intervene,
have not perpetrated
the original sin –
guilty by DNA,
lineage tracing back
to the slaughterers,
those who ravished
land and Peoples,
disregarded the elementals
who once breathed life
into this sacred place.

How is it then
that I should capture
the tortured?
Is this merely projection
of an internal demon,
or am I being called
as witness,
my hand poised
to illuminate,
give voice
in service to
the suppressed
and violated?
Is this not,
after all,
the artist’s call?

(The image that inspired this poem was taken on the Kettle & Stony Point Reserve on the shores of Lake Huron. Can you see the face?)


Sue Bender, in her book Everyday Sacred, uses the symbolism of the bowl to depict the spiritual life.   She relates this image to Tibetan monks, who as part of their training must survive with begging bowls:  they must ask for what they need and make use of what they are given before they can beg for more.

Everyday Sacred literally fell off the shelf and into my arms one day, as I was reaching for a novel in the library.  It could not have appeared at a better time.  I was mesmerized by Bender’s words, and loved her analogy.  I could relate to the idea that we are bowls, or vessels for Spirit, and that whatever comes into our life must be consumed and processed before we can ask for more.  In this way, we make life sacred.

Shortly after discovering the works of Sue Bender, my marriage ended, leaving me shattered and scarred.  I prayed for a sign that everything would be okay.  Signs and omens surrounded me, and I felt comforted.  Then I got my new phone number.  I was disappointed that it had no obvious pattern to remember: 2695 were the last digits.  One day as I sat musing over how I was going to remember the number, I had a thought:  what did the numbers spell?- b-o-w-l.  Bowl!

Life had served me up a full helping of misery, and it would be a long time before I could empty it, but I came to understand that emptiness is what I needed before anything good could come my way.  As long as I hung on to anger, grief, or resentment, my bowl did not have room for anything else.  Empty was the goal.