Search Results for 'poetry'


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

by Carol Ann Duffy

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· prayer · poetry · poem · Carol Ann Duffy · atheism · agnosticism · agnostic · atheist · spirituality · Shipping Forecast

A secular liturgy

Crafted by no hand,
Beyond all explanation;
The nameless will satisfy
Its laws and its exceptions.

Appearance and appetite,
Love and gravity,
Play under an endless sky.
Coalesce, divide, return,
Confound and amplify.

What can be established here?
What consolation, rest, or measure?
A view is taken, broken, taken,
Secured, then broken, taken.

Desire compels the world,
All scales, dimensions,
Matrices: shaped and carved
Precisely, mathematically incised.

Seekers suppose the pattern hides
In arcane details, an
Impenetrable microcosm.
Yet the supreme equation
Lies on the surface,
Coiling perfection on perfection.

The embrace suffices
All purposes, intents, and
Pins the participant to the act;
Couples motive and result
In heedless elegance.

Slipping sense or reasonable rhyme,
Unconcerned to balance or redress,
The tale spins out its tellers.
Each confabulates, in dialect
A song to fit the rest.



Category: Poetry

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· poem · poetry · secular · humanist · liturgy · naturalism · atheism · agnostic · atheist · universe

Atheist Prayer

 Our Powers that are within,
Whatever be their name.
What they have done, what still may come,
This Earth can yet be as Heaven.
Live then this day, and without dread,
And forgive your own trespasses
As you forgive those who trespass against you.
And be not led into temptation,
But flee away from evil,
For Time is the Healer,
With power to restore me,
Forever and ever, Amen.

by Richard Packham

Link: Richard Packham

Category: Prayers

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· prayer · poem · poetry · atheist · atheism · life

If we are not happy

If we are not happy and joyous at this season,
for what other season shall we wait and
for what other time shall we look?

by Abdul Baha

Link: Panhala

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Bahai

· poem · poetry · Abdul Baha · Bahai · happiness


There once was a man who said, “Though
it seems that I know that I know,
what I would like to see
is the me that knows me
when I know that I know that I know.”

by David Mead

Link: Sujato's blog

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Buddhism

· poem · poetry · David Mead · knowledge · awareness

Haiku writing

The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry which evolved out of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Traditional Japanese haiku have 17 syllables, but it has been suggested that English haiku should have more syllables, because English is a more long-winded language than Japanese, and you can pack a lot more concepts into 17 Japanese syllables than you can into 17 English syllables.

However, I tend to stick to the 17 syllable structure, divided into 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haiku also traditionally include a kireji, a ‘cutting word’. The cutting word divides the poem into two contrasting sections with imagery that adds a surprising twist or contrast to each other. It’s difficult to find ‘cutting words’ in English, so haiku writers in English use a dash to separate the two sections of the poem.

Haiku are essentially poems about Nature, so Japanese haiku also have a season word, to indicate in what season the action of the poem takes place. The season word does not have to be the name of the season; it can be something that is obviously associated with that season – for example, plum blossom would indicate that the poem was describing spring. The imagery of a haiku is simple and unpretentious, and generally does not use similes to achieve its effects. The natural phenomena described may very well be metaphors for something else, but the haiku may also be enjoyed for the images of natural beauty, and the human response to it, that it conjures up.

Haiku poets would often gather together to compose haiku on the spot. One poet would begin, and then another poet would respond with a haiku of their own, and in this way a series of linked haiku (known as haikai-renga) would be composed by the group.

Sometimes haiku would be combined with travel writing or other prose. The most famous example of this form is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho, which describes Basho’s travels to the far north of Japan. The combined haiku and prose form is known as haibun.

Writing haiku teaches one to strip things back to the bare essentials, to distil experience into its pure form, and to observe Nature closely. It is a very satisfying process, because haiku are so short, and so complete in themselves.


by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· Buddhist · everyday spirituality · haiku · Matsuo Basho · mindfulness · poetry · spiritual practices · Zen

The Prophet

by Kahlil Gibran

Category: Recommended books

Tradition: Christianity

· poem · poetry · Kahlil Gibran · meditations · reflections · philosophy

From the rising of the sun

 Praise be to the source of all life.
Praise, all beings who come from the source, praise the source of all life.
Blessed be the source of all life from this time forth and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun until its setting, praise the Name that cannot be named.
The source transcends nations and boundaries, and its glory is beyond the heavens.
Who is like unto the source of life, which dwells in the deep,
The source that becomes like the earth
to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
The spirit of life raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the dunghill;
And sets them with princes, even with the princes of their people.
The life wells up even in the barren, and makes them joyfully bring forth life.
Praise the source of all life.

(A NeoPlatonist / Taoist / Unitarian version of Psalm 113)

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: Dance of the elements

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· psalm · poetry · poem · Yvonne Aburrow · Taoism · Kabbalah · Neo-Platonism

Thank you for the apples

Thank you for the apples like berries
that color the trees and the sky.
I want to leap and talk
and then sleep in the air
where your fruits ripen and dance.
Mother of earth, this is my prayer!
Oh yes — at night
when we turn from father light
please cover my cloud bed
with your phosphorescence.
Thank you for your apples.

by Scott Chaskey

Link: Prayers for the Earth

Category: Prayers

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· prayer · poetry · poem · Scott Chaskey · gratitude · Nature · Mother Nature · Earth · Goddess

The Thunder, Perfect Mind

I was sent forth from the power,
and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
and you hearers, hear me.
You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
Do not be ignorant of me.

For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am <the mother> and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one
and many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father
and the sister of my husband
and he is my offspring.
I am the slave of him who prepared me.
I am the ruler of my offspring.
But he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday.
And he is my offspring in (due) time,
and my power is from him.
I am the staff of his power in his youth,
and he is the rod of my old age.
And whatever he wills happens to me.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.  


» Read more

by Anonymous, translated by George W. MacRae

Link: The Nag Hammadi Library

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Gnostic

· poem · poetry · Gnostic Gospels · Sophia · Goddess · paradox

The Great Affair

The great affair, the love affair with life,
is to live as variously as possible,
to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day.

Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding,
and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours,
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length.

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery,
but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

by Diane Ackerman

Category: Poetry

Tradition: Humanism

· poem · poetry · humanism · humanist · Diane Ackerman · life · love · mystery

Theology is — or should be — a species of poetry, which read quickly or encountered in a hubbub of noise makes no sense. You have to open yourself to a poem with a quiet, receptive mind, in the same way you might listen to a difficult piece of music... If you seize upon a poem and try to extort its meaning before you are ready, it remains opaque. If you bring your own personal agenda to bear upon it, the poem will close upon itself like a clam, because you have denied its unique and separate identity, its inviolate holiness.

~ Karen Armstrong

Link: GoodReads

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· theology · poetry · belief · holiness · sacred

Women Pray: Voices through the Ages, from Many Faiths, Cultures and Traditions

by Monica Furlong (ed)

Category: Recommended books

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· prayer · poetry · poem · anthology · women · women's spirituality


AllSpirit provides resources on spirituality, spiritual poetry, writings, quotations, and song lyrics

Link: AllSpirit

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· spirituality · spiritual poetry · writings · quotations · song lyrics

The Poetry Chaikhana

Joyfully shares the sacred poetry of cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions from around the world.

Link: The Poetry Chaikhana

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· poem · poetry · mysticism · philosophy · mystical · spirituality

The World Prayers Archive

Attempts to be representative of all life affirming faiths and spiritual practices without preference to any one. It is our goal to make these great words available to everyone for study and appreciation. The prayers have been intuitively divided into four categories for the purpose of organization and navigation.

Link: The World Prayers Archive

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· prayer · poetry · poem · mystery · sacred · connection


 Beliefnet is a faith and spirituality resource with blogs, quizzes, articles, prayers and meditations, a community forum, and much more.

Link: Beliefnet

Category: Recommended websites

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· spirituality · writings · blogs · quiz · prayer · poetry

Yakut Prayer

My words are tied in one
With the great mountains,
With the great rocks,
With the great trees,
In one with my body
And my heart.
Do you all help me
With supernatural power,
And you, Day,
And you, Night,
All of you see me
One with the world!

by Anon - Yakut, 19th c.

Link: The Poetry Chaikhana

Category: Prayers

Tradition: Native American

· prayer · poetry · poem · Native American · First Nations · Yakut · Earth · Nature · earth-centred spirituality

Earth teach me

Earth teach me stillness as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep in the rain.

by Anon - Ute nation


Category: Prayers

Tradition: Native American

· prayer · poetry · poem · Native American · First Nations · Ute · Earth · Nature · earth-centred spirituality

An Improvisation For Angular Momentum

Walking is like
imagination, a
single step
dissolves the circle
into motion; the eye here
and there rests
on a leaf,
gap, or ledge,
everything flowing
except where
sight touches seen:
stop, though, and
reality snaps back
in, locked hard,
forms sharply
themselves, bushbank,
dentree, phoneline,
definite, fixed,
the self, too, then
caught real, clouds
and wind melting
into their directions,
breaking around and
over, down and out,
motions profound,
alive, musical!

Perhaps the death mother like the birth mother
does not desert us but comes to tend
and produce us, to make room for us
and bear us tenderly, considerately,
through the gates, to see us through,
to ease our pains, quell our cries,
to hover over and nestle us, to deliver
us into the greatest, most enduring
peace, all the way past the bother of
beyond the finework of frailty,
the mishmash house of the coming & going,
creation's fringes,
the eddies and curlicues

by A.R. Ammons

Link: Panhala

Category: Poetry

Tradition: None

· poem · poetry · change · life · death · universe

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