Beginnings and Endings


BbeginningsBeginnings and Endings

The day before Christmas, the lifeless body of a robin
lay, supine, among clods of frozen dirt
in the bare, raised bed of our vegetable garden.

His breast, striated with not-quite crimson plumage—
plump, yet breathless, lay still, where only weeks ago
plump crimson tomatoes prospered, awaited harvesting.

I cradled his body in my hand, resting in the folds
of a plastic bag that, just yesterday, held apples,
tied it tight before consigning it to a barrel caching autumn leaves.

That night we sipped champagne, feted birth,
celebrated promises fulfilled again each day,
awaited the coming of light that would dispel the darkness.

Dark December Days–Monday Meanderings

Today is dreary. My meditation time was drearier. I look out the window and the branches are bare. The few leaves that remain hang listlessly. There is no breeze to stir up some action. Not a bird shows up to feed on the fruit that remains on the ornamental pear tree. Everything is still, empty.

Photo Credit: David Slotto

Photo Credit: David Slotto

I’m in concert with nature until I remember that it’s the first Sunday of Advent. Celebrated in Christian communities, Advent marks the four Sundays leading up to Christmas—the arbitrary date chosen to commemorate the birth of Jesus.

The word Advent is derived from the Latin word for “coming.” It denotes an attitude of anticipation, expectation, hope, waiting—much like that of the early Jewish people who lived in expectation of a political Messiah who would deliver them from the tyranny of the Roman occupation of Israel.

Understood from the Christian perspective, which views Jesus as the Messiah, this deliverance is spiritual rather than political. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” In this sense, I find that the spirit of Advent offers a message for people of all spiritual traditions.

We are attuned to the seasons of the year. We mirror them in our own lives. When nature sleeps, we may experience our own emptiness and know innately that there must be more than decorations and shopping and whatever else we turn to in order to dispel the darkness within.

Advent is the season for the child inside of each of us. It a time to be excited about what is yet to come, to believe in a spiritual Santa Claus who will appear in his own time to fill those empty spaces in our heart and spirit. When we are surrounded by barren landscape, those gifts will fall gently into our lives like pure snow. We await beauty. We hope for peace.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

This image is that of an Advent Wreath. In Christian churches and homes, a candle is lit on Saturday Eve each week to open the vigil of Sunday’s observance. Usually the candles are purple to make that sense of emptiness however, on the Third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, a pink candle promises joy. Gaudete means joy in Latin–the first word of the reading from Isaiah–Rejoice, Israel. Your salvation is drawing near (my paraphrase).

Written on Sunday for Monday Meanderings. The sun decided to show up and the birds are having a great time in our pear trees.

For more indepth reflections on Advent, shared by writers and poets of many spiritual traditions, I invite you to check out Into the Bardo, an interdenominational site that will post an Advent-related essay or poem every day until Christmas. One of the things I appreciate most about this site is that it highlighst similarities, rather than differences between many diverse spiritual points of view, showcasing, somehow, they most often converge into a whole. Differences are respected and teach us new ways of understanding mystery. It is sites such as Into the Bardo that will, we hope, bring us closer to one another. Into the Bardo is hosted by poet/author Jamie Dedes with the help of contributing authors. I am honored to be one of them.

Miserere Mei

House sign "Noah´s ark"(1676) in Ams...

Image via Wikipedia

Linked to dVerse Poets Pub for Crit Friday, looking forward to input from the talented poets Luke Prater and Beth Winter.

Join up and learn about the value of positive critique!



Miserere Mei

Creation emerges from primal sea,
from deep abyss, from virgin womb.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Atrahasis built an ark. Utnapishtim
built an ark. Noah built an ark.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

In flooded fields, on watery plains
humanity has met its fate.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Waters of the Jordan, Baptismal
cleansing, Water of life.

Chaos to creation to chaos.
Destruction to cosmic rebirth.

Purify, cleanse, receive new life.
Plunge into dark waters, the unconscious.

Miserere mei, Domine
Miserere mei, Dr. Freud.

Flood myths are part of many epochs and cultures. The cleansing symbolism of water prevails in ancient and modern religious beliefs and speak to the innate sense that we, as humans, have of our inadequacy. This poem draws on stories from Sumerian, Mesopotamian and Hebrew traditions, as well as Freudian psychology.

I wrote this in response to a prompt from One Stop Poetry and am linking to One Shot Wednesday. Sadly, this wonderful blog is going to hibernate. All of us owe many thanks to the wonderful poets who labored tirelessly to make One Stop Poetry such a success and a welcoming home for so many of us.

Hopefully many will continue to be active and I take this opportunity to encourage you to imbibe with fellow poets at dVerse Poets’ Pub: a new site where you will encounter many of your friends from One Stop Poetry.

SiS’s Daily Haiku Challenge: Sea of Galilee

Submitted to SiS’ Daily Haiku Challenge:

Sea of Galilee

On Galilee’s shore
an empty boat waits in hope
empowered by Light.

This image immediately brought to mind the shores of the Sea of Galilee in Israel where Jesus walked and taught with His disciples, perhaps, at times from a boat. The light that suffuses the picture made me think of one of the names by which Jesus is known, the Light of the world.

Rediscovery-Jingle’s Poetry Potluck and One Shot Wednesday

Prayer is the language

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck. The theme this week is dreams and visions. Check out the many poets at

and to One Shot Wednesday at


Emerging from this fog
(induced by absinthe or perhaps unknowing?)
I fly in my balloon, the landing rough
in rockiest terrain.

Quixote I am not but savor
tastes of honey from the gentle smoothness
of earth’s ivory skin.

I deconstruct the faith
that, as a child gave cause for desperation,
pursue Elijah’s chariot, with fiery wings
to worlds oblivious of tragedy,

return like Sandalphon or Phoenix
brilliant in life’s kaleidoscopic dance
of raging color.

Withhold your judgment now, dear friend.
The day may come when, too, you will embrace
my vision, and welcome in the Logos.

Note: This poem was written using the prompt I posted on Monday. You may want to check it out. The random selection of words contributes a bit to the obscurity. I confess to adding words to this one for the sake of some cohesiveness. In the bible, the prophet Elijah was taken into heaven in a fiery chariot. It is said that he has returned to earth as the Archangel Sandalphon who is the overseer of the below direction (the earth). Logos is Greek for Word and is used in this context to refer to Jesus as the Word of God as you will read in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Eventually I will, no doubt, revise this poem and lose of few of the arbitrary words. Should you decide to try this prompt, you would make me happy if you left a link in comments.

Sunday 160–“El Shaddai”*


Photo: David Slotto


Just enough coffee to jump-start the day.
quiet time to remember
why I’m here—
soul nourishment to survive.
Enough goodness to share.
Life enough for learning love.

*In Hebrew, the word Shad means “breast” and Dai means “enough.” El Shaddai is one of the holy names of  God and alludes to the sufficiency of the Divine. Its attribution suggests the feminine aspects of God.

Originally submitted for Monkey Man’s Sunday 160 in which your entry is exactly 160 characters, including spaces. Check it out at

Submitted once again for Big Tent Poetry on 12/3/10–this week’s prompt is to write a poem to the theme of “Enough.”