Archives for category: Poems

Sacristy of the Chapel of San Nicolò, Noli me Tangere, Fresco attributed to Mariotto di Nardo

Tell Them

Breaking through the powers of darkness
bursting from the stifling tomb
he slipped into the graveyard garden
to smell the blossomed air.

Tell them, Mary, Jesus said,
that I have journeyed far
into the darkest deeps I’ve been
in nights without a star.

Tell them Mary, Jesus said,
that fear will flee my light
that though the ground will tremble
and despair will stalk the earth
I hold them firmly by the hand
through terror to new birth.

Tell them, Mary, Jesus said,
the globe and all that’s made
is clasped to God’s great bosom
they must not be afraid
for though they fall and die, he said,
and the black earth wrap them tight
they will know the warmth
of God’s healing hands
in the early morning light.

Tell them, Mary, Jesus said,
smelling the blossomed air,
tell my people to rise with me
to heal the Earth’s despair.

Edwina Gateley

I was afraid 
that with their blocks of concrete
the skyscrapers might wound the dawn.

But you ought to see 
how sensitive they are 
to the morning light,
how they disarm
and lose their cutting edge
and steely soul!

They too are caught
in the irresistible spell
of the holy hour
when the whole natural world
in rapture chants
creation's hymn of praise.

Dom Helder Camara

Now Macrina Wiederkehr writes:

"You too may have noticed how giant walls of concrete that penetrate the skies appear to soften in the wake of dawn light as though they anticipate the world's weary ones soon coming into their concrete wombs to ply their skills. In the dawn moments  they become shrines silhouetted agains the amber sky, praying for their tenants."

Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully through the Hours of the Day, 2008

Alice Walker
We have to live

or we
will die
in the same

old ways.

I call on all Grand Mothers
on the planet
to rise
and take your place
in the leadership of the world

Come out
of the kitchen
out of the 
out of the
beauty parlors
our of the television

Step forward
and assume
the role for which
you were
To lead humanity
to health, happiness
and sanity.

I call on
all the 
Grand Mothers
of Earth
and every person
who possesses
the Grand Mother 
of respect for
protection of
the young 
to rise
& lead.

The life of
our species
on it.

And I call on all men
of Earth
to gracefully

stand aside
and let them
(let us)
do so.

November 8, 2021 

Photo: Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth

Poem found in 
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson
One World, Penguin Random House LLC, 2020


I don't know where prayers go,
	or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
	half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
	crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
	growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
	along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
	of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can't really
	call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
	or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that's their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don't know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don't. That's your business.
But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be
	if it isn't a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

Mary Oliver, A Thousand Morning, 2012, p.3

Photo: New Yorker