Tag Archive for: Poetry

The Invitation

Stepping out of my house,

Turning, locking the door,

Already noticing the warmth of this mid – October day,

And the light cool, almost crisp breeze underneath the warmth of the sun.

Walking to my car,

Focusing on thoughts of the work day ahead,

I notice in my mind’s eye

A young girl, maybe five or six.

Facing me, with straight, almost chin length brown hair, parted in the middle with bangs;

Deep brown eyes, sparkling, alive!

Cheeks rosy, her smile broad, showing large, slightly crooked teeth.

She turns away

Spreading her arms, running this way and that.

She appears to embrace the day with joy and exuberance.

She turns and calls come run with me!

Let’s play!!

I feel her pleasure, excitement, and invitation to this moment.

I smile, then laugh, and say

Go ahead and run, enjoy, and I will follow behind you.

 I see myself, sans briefcase and purse,

Arms stretching out; running this way and that

Following my younger self

Relishing the promise, and playfulness

Of this breathtaking day.

By KATHLEEN HEPPELL
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah Community

From the Editor

Debora Buerk, Editor

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, then I invite you to write for it. I’m accepting submissions now for blogs through the end of the year. In particular, I’m interested in blogs about gratitude, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Year, as well as fall content through Thanksgiving. I welcome any form of contemplative posts such as poetry, reflections, original art, and original photography. If you’re interested or need more information, leave me a message in the comments. I hope to hear from you.

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, you can subscribe to receive each new post through email. You’ll find the form on this page. Or, you follow Here & Now through your RSS on WordPress.com.

Pause, Encounter, Grow
with the Here & Now blog,
DEBORA BUERK
Editor, Here & Now blog
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah community

A Shift

Tonight I pray for you.

This ongoing–going-on kind of talking with God thing I do.
This candle burning.
This open window.

Heart of mine
trembling over how long you’ll be here.
I’ve never loved you more—than now.

Different intimacy, it’s higher, deeper
different than I’ve known with you before.
The chase is not on.

The embrace is on.
Holding you—holding me.
Curious.
Ever curious about where this road leads.

By Anonymous
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah Community


Debora Buerk,
Editor

From the Editor

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, then I invite you to write for it. I’m accepting submissions now for blogs through the end of the year. In particular, I’m interested in blogs about gratitude, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Year, as well as fall content through Thanksgiving. I welcome any form of contemplative posts such as poetry, reflections, original art, and original photography. If you’re interested or need more information, leave me a message in the comments. I hope to hear from you.

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, you can subscribe to receive each new post through email. You’ll find the form on this page. Or, you follow Here & Now through your RSS on WordPress.com.

Pause, Encounter, Grow
with the Here & Now blog,
DEBORA BUERK
Editor, Here & Now blog
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah Community

Where Do I See God?

God is the generosity of wildflower
Fields dotted with blooms 
Of every imaginable color 


God is the majestic Mt. Adams
A towering presence 
Light glistening off snow-capped peaks
Evergreens sheltering His creatures


God is the ocean tide responding to the distant moon
Waves rolling forward, building, cresting again and again
Chilling and tickling my toes with retreating foam
A vehicle for surfers and swimmers, 
A dinner vessel for seagulls


God is in the ruby-throated hummingbird
Feathers shimmering emerald in the sunlight 
Colorful, busy, seeking the nectar of His creations
Resting on the butterfly sculpture, 
Peering in living room window, igniting joy


God is in the cawing black crows,
Squawking, stomping on our skylight
Littering the roof with clam shells
Recent signs that God was 
Here and here and here.


God is the gift of a double beauty rose 
Fuscia tipped white rose scented
With a lingering sweet aroma
Reminding me God beckons
More than one of my senses


Is God in my Yorkie? 
Looking in my eyes with adoration?
Yes, God’s here, also. 
Although I’m not convinced 
God wants his tummy rubbed


God is the blue sky, the green trees,
The soft brown pine needles littering the forest


God is the hot fudge, warm caramel
Crunchy toasted pecans
Sweet pillows of whipped cream
Inviting me to savor all He offers


God is all the seen and unseen
Calling out from flowers, waves, birds,
Trees, mountains, pets, even desserts.


Through all of creation God invites me
To the joy and awe of being loved.


He draws me closer in each manifestation
Trusting me to sense His Presence
In whatever way I can, 
Day after day.

By DEBBIE TRIPP
A Selah Companion
part of the Selah community

Photo by REV. ANDREW LARSEN
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah community

From the Editor

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, then I invite you to write for it. I’m accepting submissions now for blogs through the end of the year. In particular, I’m interested in blogs about gratitude, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Year, as well as fall content through Thanksgiving. I welcome any form of contemplative posts such as poetry, reflections, original art, and original photography. Interested or need more info, leave me a message in the comments. I hope to hear from you.

If you enjoy reading the Here & Now blog, you can subscribe to receive each new post through email. You’ll find the form on this page. Or, you can view the blog from your RSS feed on WordPress.com.

Pause, Encounter, Grow
with the Here & Now blog,
By DEBORA BUERK
Editor, Here & Now blog
a Selah Companion
part of the Selah Community

Listen to the Weaver

By Deb Tripp
part of the Selah Community

It never starts alone really
At least that’s the story I’ve heard
This magic —  this alchemy of
Listening  — being listened to
Of opening and stretching.
It is a weaving  — you the
First listener —  the warp
The strong threads tied to
My loom across the back beam.
It is your ability to hold
The tension that gives me
The notion that I can open
Up a little more.
The warp tension is strong
Up and down, back and forth
This listening creates the
Dance — the weaver’s dance.
And soon it is time to think
About the weft. What texture?
What colors?  How much space
Between my words and your words?
What tone?  What value?  How
Wide should we stripe our cloth today?

Photo by Aditya Wardhana on Unsplash

Am I Really a Contemplative?

Someday I Will Visit Hawk Mountain

By M. Soledad Caballero

I will be a real birder and know raptors
by the shape of their wings, the span of them
against wide skies, the browns and grays
of their feathers, the reds and whites like specks
of paint. I will look directly into the sun, point and say,
those are black vultures, those are red-shouldered
hawks. They fly with the thermals, updrafts, barely
moving, glide their bodies along the currents, borrowing
speed from the wind. I will know other raptors,
sharp-shinned hawk, the Cooper’s hawk, the ones
that flap their wings and move their bodies during the day.
The merlins, the peregrine falcons, soaring like bullets
through blue steel, cutting the winds looking for rabbits,
groundhogs that will not live past talons and claws.
I will know the size of their bones, the weight
of their beaks. I will remember the curves, the colors
of their oval, yellow eyes. I will have the measurements,
the data that live inside their bodies like a secret
taunting me to find its guts. Or this is what I tell myself.


But, I am a bad birder. I care little about the exact rate
of a northern goshawk’s flight speed. I do not need
to know how many pounds of food an American kestrel
eats in winter. I have no interest in the feather types
on a turkey vulture. I have looked up and forgotten
these facts again and again and again. They float
out of my mind immediately. What I remember:
my breathless body as I look into the wildness above,

raptors flying, diving, stooping, bodies of light, talismans,
incantations, dust of the gods. Creatures of myth,
they hang in the sky like questions. They promise
nothing, indifferent to everything but death.
Still, still, I catch myself gasping, neck craned up,
follow the circles they build out of sky, reach
for their brutal mystery, the alien spark of more.

(Helpful to read out loud if you don’t listen to the audio)

A poem touches each of us a bit differently, yet the same – a moment of encounter in the imagination that reaches deep within us. The bold italics indicate what captures me from what the Allegheny College professor and poet, M. Soledad Caballero offers. To hear these words read by the Irish poet Pádraig Ó Tuama further enhances the resonance I experience in the listening.

Walking along a slough bordering Camano Island, I witness a flock of herons, or the proper group name siege, hurling into the sky when Caballero’s words speak to me “what I remember: my breathless body as I look into the wildness above.…” In that moment, I hear my own thoughts that there is a wildness that runs through my own remembering and breathless body. It’s contemplation. That’s how the contemplative life engages my heart and soul and mind.

Analogous to the poet, I forget all the knowledge of what makes a birder a birder. For me, it’s the contemplative life. I want to live contemplatively, but I forget. I’m a “bad” contemplative in the sense that I fall and rise again, fall and rise again. I try harder, only to fall down again. The knowledge of what it means to be contemplative is helpful. But it quickly flies out of my head, especially in my greatest need.

My longing suggests that I want to know more, but seeking knowledge in the way of information lacks the power to transform my engagement with the world, others, God, even my own life. There is an “alien spark of more” when it comes to the contemplative life. I want to encounter more, go deeper more where wonder and curiosity generates movement and engages mystery.

As the poet seeks to know more about the birds, she recognizes they capture her heart not by the important details that she can learn, but how they live in the world. Witnessing their flight brings about questions, hopes and fears, stories of mythological gravitas. Interestingly, she does know quite a bit about the birds. Yet she longs for something more.

For me, I too learn about God, and want to know more about Divine Holy Mystery. But how quickly the energy in engaging God dissipates if I only stay in the grasping of intellectual attainment for what I think I need. My encounter with the Divine requires, demands, invites me into something that goes beyond my thinking. In the wonder and colorful mystery of who God is, I find a depth crystalizing the beauty of encounter. The crystalizing depth becomes a way of remembering. It is there that I see God move in and through my being so that when I do fall, or am a “bad” contemplative, I am not alone.

Perhaps the remembering is the spark for knowing birds, for knowing what is unknowable.

By Mary Pandiani
Executive Director
Selah Center

Mary Pandiani, D.Min, serves as Selah’s Executive Director, leading the community and organization through its current transition period into future possibilities. Mary has served in various capacities for Selah, including as a founding board member, seminar/group leader, and co-facilitator for Selah’s extended programs, Living From The Heart and Way of the Heart. Mary is a spiritual director and coach, co-facilitator for a spiritual direction training program, and advisor for doctoral students. Mary received her Doctorate of Ministry at Portland Seminary, and her work focuses on a posture of contemplative living across the seasons of life. Her foundation starts with a love for the God who wants to be known and a desire to help others to pause-notice-listen-respond in ways that lead to a deeper understanding of God’s divine invitation. With the support of her husband Bill, Mary serves Selah while also enjoying her family of four adult daughters and their families. Mary lives in Gig Harbor WA where she knows the value of beauty in creation and the gift of community.

A Prayer in Spring

“Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the spinning of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,

Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;

And make us happy in the happy bees,

The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird

That suddenly above the bees is heard,

The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,

And off a blossom in mid-air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,

To which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will,

But which it only needs that we fulfill.

By Robert Frost

About Robert Frost

Robert Lee Frost (1874 – 1963) was an American poet. Known for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech, Frost frequently wrote about settings from rural life in New England in the early 20th century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. Frequently honored during his lifetime, Frost is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetic works. On July 22, 1961, Frost was named poet laureate of Vermont.