enacting prayer

enacting prayer

some days
our prayer
is a pot of butternut soup
thrown at the wall
saying no more
no more
no more

there is no sky this morning
drizzle mist has claimed the coast,
pooled in deep valleys and stretched
thin across the hills, ghosting
trees and goose flight.

loud with with birds in the cocooned mist
we unfold our elbows, cup warm tea,
loosen our skin to the morning.

i thought i loved her/e
before i came –
before i moved
daughters and mare,
table and benches to be her/e,
i thought i came here because
i (abstract)loved wanted
needed her/e –
but it turns out i came because
i needed to love her/e (act action actively) –
that the loving i needed to do was her/e –
that here is where i do my loving.

in spring, weeding among the greens –
garden billowing with sap growth
and humming with life – hands
burrowing among the stems
sorting chickweed and dandelion –
weeds that feed from knotweed
and hairy-stemmed unnamed tenacity
that will strangle tomatoes by summer

and i know i know among
all this awakening that adders too
have woken from winters
long sleep in hollows and caverns
and quiet, and in among the rummaging
and pulling and soil shaking

i mutter my prayers and
my thanks to the serpent gods
for being mindful of me
as i am of them,
to take care of my children
as i take care of theirs,
in spring, weeding
among the greens.

and what if the body
ails. what if blood like rivers
slows – laden microplastic,
algal bloom, bottles and bags
and silt sludge

what if the body ails ,
what if skin that has ached
for its own undoing
on moss bark mist mornings
is now un-doing –
swaddling in comfort
and the memory
of what was.

friday night, late before sleep –
rain thrumming the roof
and windows and leaves.
friday night late before sleep
a sunbird – day bird,
jewel of the morning bird
flutters moth against the window.
thumb-small with wings
and vulnerable to the night,
i ask her what she is doing
out past 11 in the rain –
why she waited so late
to seek shelter – she does not answer
i take her rebuke.

who am i to question someone seeking refuge
in a living of the world beyond my understanding.

out in the rain i stilled those panicked wings against the glass.
folded she sat quiet in one closed hand
while i made a nest of a mohair hat –
locked her safe in the wardrobe for the night.

morning here breaks first with birdsong,
then with light –
in the space between i unfold my hands,
gesture an open book, a please and a thank you,
and she darts grey winged
a forest prayer
to the wakening sky.

and what of the prayers
we do not speak –
do not voice or
shape with tongue and thought.
what of the hands
and knees soil prayers,
what of forehead
to the forest floor prayers,
what of the catch breath,
broken sky prayers
and touch of skin
that lingers lingers
what of blood prayers
and mud prayers
and the silence of stars prayers.
what of the earth prayers
that speak us
in our walking of the world.

and some days
our prayer is
help me,
i cannot walk this world
alone any more –
cannot walk it into being
on my own,
some days
our prayer is
help me.

For the Earthweal weekly challenge: ENACTIVISM AND THE POETRY OF BECOMING



19 thoughts on “enacting prayer

  1. The continuum this poem builds is a green lucent bridge alive and woven of spirit and prayer, life and love that breathes strength and acknowledges weakness, that allows the reader passage to an inner landscape fashioned from all the things of real meaning in the outer, while delineating the nourishment of that outer by what the inner holds. The bird against the window is an image that will stay with me. An exquisite journey of a poem, with a an especially delicate and haunting close–you’ve shown us the beauty and fear and need at the deep heart of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Here is where I do my loving.” I anticipated your poem for your wonderful prompt as I knew it would sing itself right off the page. This is glorious, beautiful – so alive. I so resonate with “some days our prayer is help me.” Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Sherry. Oddly I really struggled to write to my own prompt – probably had overthought the concept completely long before I sat down to write. Finally found a way in this morning, so I am guessing it is still a little rough around the edges.


  4. This is a profound prayer lindi. I find it harder and harder to keep a vigil of light as I age. The chaos, confusion, and hypocrisy of this world has broken my health, but not yet my spirit in its entirety. I am clinging. Excellent writing here. ✌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rob. Sorry to hear your health has taken a knock – we share that vigil of light among us here, it is near impossible to do it alone. Keep well.


  5. I have been lifting a lot of prayers of “help me” lately. I lost my oldest daughter in January of this year, and so much of my pain, my prayer is taken to nature. It always has been my comfort, my joy, my place of peace and truth. Such a beautiful poem. I feel so blessed to have read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for you kind comment. I am so very sorry to hear of your terrible loss. May you continue to find comfort and solace in the earth around you. Much love and strength to you.🦋


  6. The struggle for enactment was surprising at first and then obvious — grace may be effortless but the surrender needed to accept it is the way of thorns. How do we love and live in conditions which are failing at best and carrying all the wearies and losses of the lived life? Is there prayer in breezy paradise? I think not, and so the many prayers you voice here supplicate to the difficult to find more possibilities of love and life. If the hunted join their spirit with the hunter, then the weave of enactment is a constant ebb and flow of hunger and surfeit. The prayer of help me and the prayer of thank you. So it goes the great day in the difficult paradise. Great challenge, Lindi. (By the way, I usually write three or more poems in response to a challenge, trying to get closer to its heart. And never quite get there …)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Brendan. Lucky us for all the writing you do. I mostly read the challenge and let it brew a bit – and then it is kind of following the sound until it is said. I sometimes revisit – give it another go.
      And yes, I think paradise has always been all of it – both the way of thorns and the rose – it is embodying them both at the same time that takes some learning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And just for the record – it was not I that threw the butternut(and lentil) soup, nor was it here that it was thrown. But it was good and properly thrown none the less.


  7. Your words are a poetic prayer opening up to life and the journey. We hope for a world of peace and healing. Sometimes we are the voice of prayer and sometimes we are the silence in a meditative state of being trying to overcome loss and pain.

    Thank you for hosting

    Liked by 1 person

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