Prayerful Poetry

I take back every bad thing I ever thought of my high school teachers.  Since joining their ranks, I have been working harder than I ever have before, and I have never been so far behind.  These days, I’m waking up before 5 am, in to work before 7 am, begin teaching duties at 8, end teaching duties at 5:30 pm, finally get back home sometime around 9 pm after either working or attending graduate classes and collapse into bed around 10 pm.  Weekends?  I’ve forgotten what those are.

Funny, Lady Violet and I ask the same question but for entirely different reasons.

Funny, Lady Violet and I ask the same question but for entirely different reasons.

Spiritually, I’m floundering.  All my carefully crafted routines to help me worship and grow have fallen by the wayside in this relentless schedule.  When I was busy before, my fail safe was to pray and channel as I was cooking–to give thanks to the life that was giving me life and feel it as a connection to the Gods.  But lately? I don’t think I’ve so much as fried an egg since July and have consumed more fast food in the past five months than I have in the past five years.  And frankly, it is hard to muster a spiritual moment over a McDonald’s sausage McMuffin.

But last week as I was driving home after my Thursday seminar, I happened to be listening to NPR and caught a few minutes of The Writer’s Almanac and Garrison Keillor’s blood-pressure dropping baritone.  As he began reading a poem, I pulled my car off to the side of Michigan Avenue and let the words slowly fill my mind and heart.

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

As the poem closed, I scrambled for my phone to take note on the author and title so I could look it up when I arrived back home, and I laughed out loud when Keillor announced it was “School Prayer” by Diane Ackerman.  I do not know what Ackerman meant with her wry title, but her poem was a necessary balm to this Pagan teacher’s weary soul…and I’ve taken to reading it every night before I sleep.

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7 thoughts on “Prayerful Poetry

  1. I hope I’m using the correct link to reply. I’m totally blind and am a strong believer in pagan and I’m proud to say that I am pagan! Its hard to admit that we need an inspiration to help us keep going on the path that we’re intending to go on without letting anyone stop us. Melissa, keep up the good work!!

    • LOL! While I could throw things in a crockpot, I am not home and awake long enough for things to cook!

      I did make a pot of chili this weekend, though. And brownies. It felt great!

      • your response confuses me. i can put anything for eating any day into the pot at any time let it cook on low for ten hours and then shift to warm, and then portion that into freezer to eat when i am awake ….i had to learn that i did not have to eat at the time the crock pot wanted food to be done, i get to choose, maybe i didn’t understand you?

      • Oh, sorry about the confusion. I have been working 14-16 hour days lately. I am literally not home enough to cook things in the crockpot. it would be either riddled with salmonella or overcooked to inedibility.

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