Sensual

How beautiful you are, my love,
how very beautiful!
Your hair is like goats along the hills;
your teeth are like shorn ewes that have been washed;
your lips are like a crimson thread—so lovely;
your cheeks are like pomegranate halves.
(Song of Songs 4:1-3)

Sure, maybe it’s a poem about God. This poet wouldn’t be the first one to look at creation and imagine how it reflects characteristics of God: the wind as God’s whisper, the sunset as God’s smile, a sparkling stream as the glint in God’s eye.

It’s also possible, despite (or because of!) its location in the middle of the Bible, that it’s a poem of physical adoration, a celebration of human beauty, an unapologetic delight in the joys of sensuality. The poet gazes upon a beloved and cannot cease in adoration:

Oh my gosh, your eyes!
My goodness, your hair!
Be still my heart—your smile!

Then again, maybe it’s not either/or. To pause in delight, to celebrate a love (and to celebrate the Love of all loves), to be full of wonder, to be satisfied by the mutuality of adoration, to give thanks for the senses and sensualities that make life so acute—these too are gifts of the Creator. As the late Mary Oliver wrote about prayer: “Just pay attention … [this is] the doorway into thanks.”

Thank you, O Love, for touch and affection. Thank you, O Life, for the flood of your beauty through all of my senses. Thank you, O Creator, for putting my spirit in flesh.

written for the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional

E’er Blooming

In the fullness of time,
a Flower blooms:
not minding the plans of war
or the harvest of grief,
not measuring
the seasons of power
or the generations of wealth’s sin,
but simply spreading its petals
because time is full
and fulfilled.
A Flower has bloomed —
not because the world is at peace,
not because we are ready,
but because it is time.
Praise and
thanksgiving on earth
as in heaven for the foolishness
and eternal faithfulness
of the Flower.

In the beginning…

…was a sound,
a silence,
a consonant,
a vowel,
a mumble,
a sigh,
a shout.

In the beginning
was an idea,
a possibility,
an urge and
an urgency,
a compulsion,
a wonder,
a love.

In the beginning
was the Word,
the Creation,
the Articulation,
the Invitation,
the Choice,
the Name,
the Yes.

God of all language and nuance,
break open my heart to beginnings
and stay with me through the end.

Growth

If you are the Root, let me be one sprig
that dares to stretch
a green leaf toward the sun.

If you are the Tree, let me be one knot
that holds on tightly even
as it tests limits in new directions.

If you are the Sun, let me be one weedy dandelion
that stubbornly seeks your face
despite hardship or resistance or disparagement.

If you are the Wind, let me be one snowflake
that dances with delight through
the mystery of falling and the uncertainty of landing.

If you are the Ground, let me be one stone
that rests upon you and is
useful to you for the work of building.