Saturday, March 28, 2015

Free Audio Codes for This Nurturing Awe: Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God

I have a number of free codes available for a free audio download of my newest poetry book. If you would like a copy of This Nurturing Awe:  Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God, please find and friend me on Facebook and send me a message and I'll get them right to you.  

Narrator Jack Nolan captures these rich and evocative words in a way that will tickle both your mind and soul.  Enjoy!


Word Mirrors


Image result for public domain image of a mirror

I have learned to love words as the mirrors they are;
Write anything, from your soul,
and hold it up, put it out there, turn it loose--
What another sees will
simply
be
themselves.
When I read, I have learned to ask,
“Who am I here?”
For if I search for a conflict,
Surely I will find it.
If I search for understanding,
That, too, will shine out.
Maybe that is the magic of poetry in the end-
Deeply read,
it intimately invites another
to show us
ourselves.


KBN

Monday, March 23, 2015

Falling Three Times


Image result for public domain image of a fledgling

I shall not search the ground of my life
for such things
as blood and the thin lingering cry of
what falls down.
Have we not all tripped and felt the soil,
welcome us home as it dismisses the air?

You will not find Him there—
His uplift and dusty life rushed
in rare gratitude
to the helping hand,
the shouldered cross, the eyes in the crowd
that wept rain and sunshine in equal measure.

Memories of tumbling, rolling, sand in my nose,
On my tongue--
such things take wing on those measured steps
and comforted descents.
Fledgling that I am,
still befriending both nest
and stone
and rising again.


KBN

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Coach and the Contemplative


Image result for public domain image of hockey

Your girls will take the ice in an hour,
and I am listening to a quiet cello.
I laughed when I considered the image—
girls slamming into boards,
you throwing your voice as your will,
the way the rink smells like winter,
like sweat and brilliance.
And I am sitting in a darkened chapel,
silence all around,
beeswax and tea and labyrinths,
a secret smile on my lips.
I like how sometimes,
we are the mix of quiet and energy,
of retreat and excitement,

and all of it love in its many textures and moods.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Snow Sweats Now in Forty Degree Heat



Image result for public domain image of dirty cars

Snow sweats now in forty degree heat
 as old men slouch over coffee 
and 
whisper 
about baseball hopefuls.
The gray salt patina on the vehicles 
shivers off like dry droplets 
suddenly 
exposing 
a rainbow of unexpected color.
Spring does not nudge up with flowers here,
but in dirty rivulets and pastel skies,
breaks like birth water
flooding basement and street,

and splashing, 
playful 
to the thawing sands.


KBN

Five Minutes with the Woman at the Well


Image result for public domain image of woman at the well

I shadow her as she lays another cloth on his head, this man-cousin of hers, who has been ill for months.  Only in her earliest thirties, her dusky face is riddled with fine wrinkles, her black hair shot through with fine strands of gray. Her breath is light and even, as if impending death is no stranger to her home.  I move around her simple one room house, the unseen spirit from a far future, touching this old sword, that old fold of men’s clothing.  I can smell the illness here, and when she reaches for the water jug, I know it is as much a time of relief from her vigil as it is a need for any water.
I trail her down to the well, smiling in wonder at her sure gait, the way she shoulders a pot I would struggle to hold with both hands even if it were empty.  Each of her steps requires a half-skip on my part.  The heat folds and shimmers around us, so dry that my nose pinches tight and the edges of my lips crinkle.  I know a man will come to the well soon, the man we call Jesus, and he will enter into a conversation with her that has echoed down through the ages.

But I wonder, my feet falling into the dusty outline of her own footprints, what assumptions we make about her from our translation of a translation of a third-hand remembered event in the Bible.  Five husbands, but I could see their echoes in her tiny abode—these were not divorces but losses, five men in a row taken by plague or war or accident or too much drink.  How time devoured the poor and how so easily we, in our comfortable settings, forget.  And the man in her home is far from a lover—he is a relation in her care alone.

The sun cuts my eyes and I glance away.  A woman at the well at noon—“she must be mad” later readers will claim.  Surely that or she is difficult or avoiding the other members of the village.  But I can smell the clean heat here, and the spaciousness of a chore done in quiet and care.  How often she has been taught that she must not engage in conversation with those not of her tribe.  There is an ancient tightness around her lips—holding back what she must not say, white teeth grinding on loss, on captivity, on the bondage of a fine mind to a deep and abiding poverty and loss. I hear the voice she wants to use but feels she cannot.


I did not come to ask my own questions of her, but to simply see her as she is before the famous give and take with this Jewish Rabbi.   I wanted only to see the woman as she sets the jug down and shields her gaze with the edge of her hand so she can see the stranger sitting there, well-side, waiting.  Their eyes meet and there! with that searching glance is where I smile at last.  Heart begins to talk to heart here before a word is even spoken—not man to woman, nor Jew to Samaritan, not law to law or tradition to tradition.  The simple tip of her head, the way her gaze sparkles with both challenge and invitation to conversation no different than any meeting of equals today.  They will share deep, cool, living water and most miss that the first glance of acceptance and welcome is the real jug that will carry such thoughts through many tongues and ages.   

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Contemplative Retreat

Gift of the Moment


Spring Contemplative Retreat
with
Kim Beyer, MA, CHHC, CYTh, SD, RM

First Congregational United Church of Christ
Saturday, March 14, 2015
10-3 PM

Order of the Day

10:00: Introductions, announcements
10:15: Opening prayer and meditative movement
11:00: Break (please maintain silence)
11:30: Centering Prayer in the Chapel--two periods with meditative walking
12:30: Lunch (please respect tables that have elected to be silent by talking very quietly)
12:30: Theater of the Imagination: working with Scripture
1:00: Glass painting, group bean mandala construction or journaling/drawing time
2:00: Break: Centering Prayer in chapel or take the time you are called to
2:30: Gather for closing….bring your glass painting and place it on our altar
3:00: Go in peace, re-enter the world in joy


Please dress comfortably for sitting, movement and art!
Meal will be provided and the event is free!
Please register by March 11, 2015 with the church

Monday, March 2, 2015

Future Step-sons and Other Storms


Image result for public domain image sunshine and dustmotes

“God is found wherever pain is. This leaves God on both sides of every war, in sympathy with both the pain of the perpetrator and the pain of the victim.  I wonder if we even like that. There are no games of moral superiority left to us now. Yet this is exactly the kind of Lover and the universal love that humanity needs.”
(Richard Rohr, from “Yes, and… daily meditations, pg. 79)

In the morning the storm had passed,
And sitting in the living room,
Warm sunshine casting shadows beneath my eyes,
I wonder,
What did I learn in that tension, in the later rush of tears, Lord?

This is all I can speak today:
I writhed in the pain of being “forgiven” or “prayed for” when I
Did not need or ask for it—
I now feel viscerally how forgiveness can be used as a weapon,
And I vow never to pick up that sword.

That judgment and discernment are not the same-
The first is done upon one,
The second entered into through dialogue and relationship
And requires two or more willing to gather in Your name.
May I recall this: "judge not lest ye be judged" is a call to radical freedom
not a simple platitude.

                That when one invokes and speaks as if he or she is
                The voice of a group, of a family, a church, a nation,
                It exposes their own tender weakness and fear
               And asks me to see that humanity with soft eyes and an open heart.

That when one says they “do not hate”,
But their actions exclude, separate and ignore,
Then simply admitting hated would be kinder—
May I renew my commitment to follow the path of Love.
                
                That theology can be a veil between souls,
                Cherished Ideas more important than
                Seeing the tension, hearing the pain and mourning,
                Than seeing the humanity and divinity in our midst.
                May I choose to bow to God present in the other instead.

That half-truths and third hand stories are more dangerous
Than no truth at all;
May I prefer not to think I know,
But always be open to hear.

                That relationship begins with invitation-
                Play pool with me, break this bread that looks like nachos,
                Wish me well on my journey home,
                And understand always—God takes no sides
                In the often awkward play of His children.

KBN