Praying with Poetry

. . . presenting poetry as a means to lift the soul to God

Why poetry as prayer?

"Because my soul needs words for praise." -- George Herbert

Poetry as Prayer has a long history going back to the Book of Psalms,
which is "a mirror of the emotions of the soul." -- Anthanasius

Poetry as Prayer helps us to move from the head to the heart,
to better name feelings that are often elusive and ambiguous
to better perceive the movements of the heart.

Poetry as Prayer invites us to hear and respond to God's still small voice
drawing us into an ever more intimate relationship
calling us to move beyond information to transformation.

Love (III)

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful: Ah my Dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

-- George Herbert

How are the sessions structured?

Sessions begin with the introduction of a selected poet and poems and time for clarifying discussion. This is followed by time for reflection and contemplative prayer, with suggested guidelines and selected Scripture texts.

Session topics include:

"We can freely decide to pray or to neglect prayer. For prayer is not easy . . . it is the raising of the heart and mind to God in constantly renewed acts of love."

-- Karl Rahner

To Live with the Spirit

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind's will.

. . . . .

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind's whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.

-- Jessica Powers