Introduction ~ A poem is defined as a writing that is a combination of speech and song that has a rhythm or cadence that arouses strong emotions or beauty. Poems are art and the beauty of this art form is that it leaves space for the audience to breathe. Much like asana in a yoga practice integrates breath so that we may sit in meditation, so can a poem invite us into a contemplative practice. The contemplative practice allows us be surrounded by God’s healing presence. Not surprisingly many poets draw inspiration from nature, experiencing God in nature, to explore our human nature. Today we are pairing two poems. The first poem is from Song of Solomon, a book in the Hebrew bible that reads like a love poem, but is often understood as a story of Christ love for the Ecclesia or church. The second poem is an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s work. Oliver was one of the most prolific poets of our day, who was known for her affinity for nature.
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale happiness, Exhale kindness
For now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away. Song of Solomon 2:11-13
From Mary Oliver
sun in my face
you who made the morning and spread it over the fields
how I start the day