Category Archives: poem

Fire and Wildfire


Fire and Wildfire

Fire…
Warming
Enlightening
Protecting
Bringing safety

You are the fire I seek, the fire I yearn for,
the fire I invite…

But sometimes the fire is wild…
Purging
Destroying
Martyring
Consuming

You are the fire I avoid, the fire I dread,
the fire I run from….
Until trapped, I turn to discover

The fire that consumes anger with solace
The fire that consumes bitterness with sweetness
The fire that consumes injustice with peace
The fire that consumes resentment with love.

And standing before the bush that burns yet is not consumed
The holy ground
The sacred space
I cover my eyes,
I throw away my shoes,
And pray that the flame that never dies
Will make its home in me.

by Margaret Tooley
Margaret Tooley lives in Auckland New Zealand where she works as a spiritual director and church musician. She believes her most vital calling is to encourage others to discover and use their gifts for the glory of God.
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Contemplation is not trance or ecstasy

There is “no such thing” as God Because God is neither a “what” or a “thing” But a pure “Who,”

Contemplation is not trance or ecstasy
not emotional fire and sweetness that come with religious exaltation
not enthusiasm, not the sense of being “seized”
by an elemental force
and swept into liberation by mystical frenzy.


Contemplation is no pain-killer


In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing
that he no longer knows what God is;


This is a great gain,


Because “God is not a what,”
Not a “thing.”


There is “no such thing” as God
Because God is neither a “what” or a “thing”
But a pure “Who,”
The “Thou” before whom our inmost “I”
springs
into awareness.


A Book of Hours

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I
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Flow Motion

Flow Motion   You know those moments? I think we've all had them   Those moments When you are caught unaware Those moments When you least expect it

Flow Motion


You know those moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Those moments
When you are caught unaware
Those moments
When you least expect it
Those moments
Of inexplicable lucidity
When you slice off a sliver of time
And hold it gently
In the palm of your hand
Mesmerized
For a single, solitary
Flow-motion second


You know those moments?
Those bullet-time moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Where you catch your breath
And swallow your heart
Those moments
That reverberate
Through every hollow and strand of DNA
Those fundamental moments
That resonate
In sympathetic vibration
Resound
In harmonic excitation
Through every fibre of your very being
With the ebb and flow
The hum and thrum
The suprarational rise and fall
Of the divine Song


You know those moments
Those sweet, afterglow moments
I think we’ve all had them


That awaken the senses
And linger on the tongue
Like the tremulous thrill of your first kiss
Those transcendent, translucent moments
When you feel so alive
So uninhibitedly free
Those glorious manifest moments
That venture
Beyond the borders
Of intellectual propriety
With childlike curiosity
And dauntless, clarion faith
Moments where you expand up, up, up
On your tiptoes
Stretch your soul to the Sun
Arms outstretched to the fringes of the horizon
And plunge headlong down the rabbit hole
In the most exhilarating, electrifying free fall
Animatedly suspended
Upon billows of bliss
Frozen
Within a sliver of Immortality


For a single


Solitary


Flow


Motion


Second


***


— Mac, 2013

Mac Mackenzie


Mac Mackenzie is a folk singer, musician, poet, essayist, penny philosopher, slow life advocate & emerging minimalist. He speak’s English & Gaelic. He likes to dream and tell big fish stories. He like’s God & God likes him. You can read more of Mac’s work at his Blog Diary of an Arts Farmer and follow him onTwitter and Google+.


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Barry Pearman
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Poetry as a Safety Valve for Mental Health

Safety valves


We all need someone to confide in. A listening ear. Sympathetic company. Though some things are too close for comfortable sharing. Too painful to pass on to another.


They can remain hidden deep inside. Buried, to all intents and purposes. Or we choose to release in a different way. We vent. Rage. Cry. Or maybe express the inexpressible in a different form.


When adult life crowded in demandingly for me as a child, invading my mind and body with things it was far from ready to receive, I poured out my heart in words. Diaries locked with a key only I possessed. Journals. Notepads. Imaginary tales to escape into as I scribbled out stories with happier outcomes than mine.


Books became my safety valve. As I retreated into other worlds in my head, the one I inhabited in the flesh lost some of its power to cause me pain.


Poetry spoke to my soul. A balm to soothe a fretful heart. Here was understanding. Empathy. Every human emotion laid bare. An unleashing of feelings from another that brought a degree of healing to my own.


For many years, my personal poetry and prose remained hidden from prying eyes. Private. No entry. Until God began a deep work unearthing all the dark material to bring about emotional healing from childhood emotional and sexual abuse and the mental health breakdowns they contributed to.


An unfolding was precursor to my soul unfurling toward the warmth of God’s Light again and a grateful return of this prodigal daughter to her heavenly Father’s loving embrace.


Now, I read for pleasure and interest rather than escapism. And I write out my heart in poetry and prose in a way that helps release the pain of challenging circumstances in order to bring a light of recognition in another’s eyes.


Those “You too?” moments and sharing of woundedness are a comfort to others and a huge blessing to me too.


I have a great desire to support those who may be hurting emotionally from a painful past pervading the present or challenging circumstances.


My goal is to help set others free by sharing my story and how God is still in the process of deliverance and restoration.


We don’t have to live chained lives.


We can break free.


We can come alongside and support each other in our journey toward healing and wholeness


Poetry helps me so much. It blends the prosaic with the profound as a poet draws from observation of their own external and internal reality to present a deeper, universal truth hidden within.


As I write, spilling words on a page, it is undeniably cathartic for me, as well as a means to pave the way for those who read it to find release too.
I hope and pray that you will find some “Me too” moments as you read the poem below.


Safety valve

Sometimes our pain
gets buried
deep inside
locked up
inaccessible
in a safe place
where we hide
our true selves
from prying eyes
yet wounds will
fester when left
unattended over years
and seep their poison
through our systems
releasing more
anxiety and fears


We need an outlet
safety valve to
vent within constraints
a catching-place
for leaking holes
where what is
heard is veiled
yet has intent
I express myself
through poetic lament
to pour forth
words as water
releasing mercy drops
that may hit
the spot for other
thirsty souls
©JoyLenton2013


This is a guest post from Joy Lenton. Joy is a wife, mother, M.E. sufferer, avid reader, poet, blogger, communicator and full-time follower of Jesus and lives in Norfolk, United Kingdom. Discover more about Joy at her about.me page


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Consider sharing it with others by using the Social Networking sharing options below. Thanks

Barry Pearman

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Ruach – As I drew breath, fullness drenched me truly.

Ruach

As I drew breath
fullness drenched me truly.
The movement in my heart
splintered light so I could see
a vulnerable colour
holding every cell of me.
Fear was gone,
and in its place, silence;
clear indelible desire;
hope full of consequence,
and loving kindness
from the depths of anywhere
breathing yes with me.
Marlene Marburg
Marlene Marburg is spiritual director and PhD candidate with the MCD University of Divinity. Her poetry and images have appeared in anthologies and journals including Studio, Eureka Street, Going Down Swinging, Mascara, Page Seventeen, and Westerly.
She is married and lives in Melbourne.
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

Ruach – The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, “holy spirit” also transliterated ruah ha-qodesh) is a term used in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and Jewish writings to refer to the Spirit of YHWH.

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I am Yours

I Am Yours

 

Before God I stand
Hands bowed at my sides
Offering the little I can:
‘I am Yours.’
No frills, no bells, no whistles.
Just fear and pain and ordinariness.
All that I am:
The good, the bad and all that’s in-between.
A simple gift
Offered in simple words:
‘I am Yours.’

 

And God’s hand reached out to me
Accepting the gift in its totality
A smile of pleasure
In moist eyes.
And then an echo whispered
‘And I am yours.’
All that God is
Offered to all that I am.
My eyes fill with tears
At the enormity of the gift.
The God of the universe
Gifting mortal me God’s self.

 

I am unworthy
But not worthless.
I am not understanding
But totally understood.
I struggle to accept,
Yet find I am accepted.
I wrestle with such love,
And find I am still loved.
‘I am yours,’
‘I am yours,’
Echoes in two hearts

by Jo Anastasiadis

Jo Anastasiadis is a born and bred Wellingtonian, wife, mother of grown children and spiritual director. She enjoys being outdoors, particularly walking on the beach, taking time out for retreats, and utilizing creativity in her relationship with God.

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Psalm 103 – How Can I Explain You?

Sun chalk board happy face

Psalm 103
by Anna Johnstone


How can I explain you?
Will I ever understand you?
Talk about as far as the
east is from the west
that’s what it’s like
thinking of you
with my mind


You are so O.T.T.
in fact, over-the-topness
is what you do best


You laugh, glad I
recognise this in you
It’s okay to recognise it
but it doesn’t stop there
I’m supposed to be like you
East-west, chalk-cheese


It’s your heart, of course, that’s
where we’re so different
Yours is so huge, so full of love
and mine’s the standard model
limited in its functions


The patience component has
a short life, like some batteries
or 200 watt bulbs which
briefly boast their brilliance
then die untimely deaths


Patience
Head-shaking stuff
when I think of yours
I’d have wiped us long ago
but with gentleness you wait
encouragement not condemnation
your motto


And what about your memory?
You wipe slates clean then
forget what was written
yet details stick in mine like
an overcrowded blackboard


Is there any hope?
Could anything ever bridge
the chasm between
your nature and mine?


What’s that, God?
There is no gap?
Surely you mock me!
Please help me understand


You look on the desires
of my heart and give them
the big stamp of approval
totally overlooking the messes
I make in trying to
live them through


That’s overwhelming, God
but is it just?
Or is it your mercy
operating overtime?


Mercy
Now that’s another area
we need to talk about


Anna Johnstone
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I


Anna Johnstone and her husband Kerry are part of the editorial team for Refresh. They

continue to enjoy Auckland’s North Shore and explore new paths of creativity. You can visit her website www.johnstone2.co.nz
Image cc: Geralt

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I See You

Tui Flower Flax
 
I See You

I see
your signature written in a sunset sky
In soft shades of pink and gold.

I see

your reflection cast in the still river

Among the sunlit leaves, and green trees of old.

And its your smile..

I feel when I close my eyes
The grass under my hands; above me endless sky.

Your smile

I know when I stand high
on a hill, with the whole of forever in my view.

Your voice

I hear when the Tui sings
Praising creation, among the blossoms of spring.

Your voice

which soothes me in the song
of the sea, as the ocean meets the lonely shore.

And its your touch…

that stirs my soul, warms my heart
and woos me to the core.

Your touch

which I feel through every sense,
as I perceive the gift of this earth.

Take in the wonder of it all.

Ana Lisa de Jong

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”  Psalm 19: 1-4

Ana blogs at Joy in a New Way  and you can follow her on Google+

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Who are you? When you take time to listen

Who are you?
When you take time to listen
When you take off the masks
To become vulnerable too
You have the ears of Jesus
When you see a hurting soul
When you can find beauty in ugliness
believing in goodness despite suffering
You see with the eyes of Jesus
When you give words of hope and life
When you set down wise boundaries
and risk upsetting the status quo
You speak the words of Jesus
When you act out of deep compassion
to love another without judgement
When you respond to injustice
You have the heart of Jesus
When you reach out to embrace the world
When you walk in the light of the truth
Reflecting it back to others
You are Jesus in the flesh.

Val Roberts
Source: Spiritual Growth Ministries – Refresh Winter 2007 
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Who are you Lord to me?

Solitary man lake


Who are you Lord to me?

Who are you wanting to be to me now Lord,
In this quiet and waiting place.
If I am waiting here quietly for you,
Then who are you to me now?

“I am the One who wants to draw you,
From the reservoirs there at your core,
Love and patience, gentleness, joy and understanding,
That get pushed aside in the busyness and hurt of life.”

“I am the One who keeps you in touch with you,
And so more real and open and honest and quiet with me.
I am the One who offers you my perspective
As you sit and wait and focus upon me.”

“I am wanting to be the quietner of your soul,
So you can live unfrazzled and at peace
In the midst of busyness with people
And the uncertainty of unknowing.”

Margaret Dunn

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Source: Spiritual Growth Ministries – Refresh Winter 2007
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