The sunny Gathering Space was fully occupied on the afternoon of Thursday, July 12th, by 15 participants considering SACRED POETRY. Presenter, poet Ann Floreen Niedringhaus, provided three groups of questions along with packets of sample poems, poetry and writing books, and visual images. The sections for each period of meditation and/or writing were: SOURCES AND ROOTS; MYSTERY/CERTAINTY; FRUIT AND SEED FOR THE FUTURE.
Spread out on tables, sprawling in chairs, wandering farther afield to sanctuary pews or patio heat — folks meditated, read, filled in answers to leading questions and wrote their own “sacred poems”. Then, recalled by a quiet bell, they reconvened three times and shared their insights or read aloud their writing.
The 2-1/2 hour session, according to participants, passed quickly. It closed as it opened — with prayer, after a reminder to watch for upcoming Third Chapter offerings: a late July Movie Morning, a Fall Retreat, “Who Am I Now?” and a Saturday panel on retirement.
Used as sample poems in workshop, here are two cinquains (syllabic poems of 5 lines) by Joan Johnson of St. Paul from An Alphabet of Aging (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016). Used with poet’s permission.
furrowed field of
my seed-sowing years yields
such abundance, I kneel to say
starts in the dark.
I’m grateful for spaces
that hold the unknown, for that’s where