Little Altars Everywhere


Perhaps it does not begin.
Perhaps it is always.

Perhaps it takes
a lifetime
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us

the luminous line
of the map
in the dark

the vigil flame
in the house
of the heart,

the love
so searing
we cannot keep
from singing,

from crying out
in testimony
and praise.

Perhaps this day
will be the mountain
over which
the dawn breaks.

Perhaps we
will turn our face
toward it,
toward what has been
always.

Perhaps
our eyes
will finally open
in ancient recognition,
willingly dazzled,
illuminated at last.

Perhaps this day
the light begins
in us.

– Jan Richardson, “Where the Light Begins”

Little Altars Everywhere

Wait for someone who could be the moon for you.

Just as strong and steady.
Illuminating changes and seas
blooming flowers and summer nights.
They would wait for you in the dark.
They would dance around the sun for you.
They would receive your primal howls,
your secrets and your shifting tides.
Wait for the moon.
Wait for nothing less than what steals your breath,
what breaks you open,
what lures your soul,
what helps you rise.
– Victoria Erickson
(Painting from Hali Karla’s In the Stars. #starsandart)

Little Altars Everywhere

Beyond all that pain has taught
me, the soft well at the base of
time has opened, and life
touching me there
has turned me into a flower
that prays for rain. Now
I understand: to blossom
is to pray, to wilt and shed
is to pray, to turn to mulch
is to pray, to stretch in the dark
is to pray, to break surface
after great months of ice
is to pray, and to squeeze love
up the stalky center toward the
sky with only dreams of color
is to pray, and finally to unfold
again as if never before
is to be the prayer.
– Mark Nepo, “God’s Wounds”

 

Little Altars Everywhere

 

By what are you saved? And how?
Saved like a bit of string,
tucked away in a drawer?
Saved like a child rushed from
a burning building, already
singed and coughing smoke?
Or are you salvaged
like a car part — the one good door
when the rest is wrecked?

Do you believe me when I say
you are neither salvaged nor saved,
but salved, anointed by gentle hands
where you are most tender?
Haven’t you seen
the way snow curls down
like a fresh sheet, how it
covers everything,
makes everything
beautiful, without exception?

– Lynn Ungar, “Salvation”

Little Altars Everywhere

 

Let no one keep you from your journey,

no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.

 

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

 

You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.
– Mark Nepo, “Breaking Surface”