Tell all the truth but tell it slant wrote Emily Dickinson. Here are links to some of my attempts to do just that. Several date back over twenty years to when I was taking a creative writing course, others were written on retreat.
I say ‘written, ’ because many of these originally originated in the form of prayer: a word or phrase appears in my mind, ‘glimmers,’ if you like. I then turn it over and over Lectio style, savouring what appears, not knowing where it might lead, yet knowing that to ‘be’ with it in the moment is all that matters.
Later I might tweak my words slightly, though often I choose to leave the prayer as it first was. I feel it’s important to stay with what first emerges, not to self-censor, even if to an onlooker it might read as clumsy, naive or childlike. Though I may share it with a retreat guide or spiritual director.
Not everything is for public consumption and some material never sees the light of day. For in my rush to analysis, I may completely overlook something significant that the spirit is trying to say to me through the whole process of prayer, so a trusted and objective companion (with a high cringe factor!) is to be treasured at times like this. They can encourage me to revisit those places which have been especially dear to me, challenge, or encourage me to set off down new pathways.
It’s about the journey, and the encounters on that journey, after all. Process over product. Above all, the wisdom to discern where those encounters are taking me: are they drawing me towards or away from the Divine?
So here we are. I hope you enjoy these. If anything in them speaks to you, I’d love to know.
- Shepherds , published in the National Society magazine All about Children.
- To See Your Glory
- A Prayer for the Beginning of Lent
- Villanelle: Sleep
- Spring: It’s a Wonderful World (a ‘found’ poem)
- Pilgrim Journey
- You Are
- Epiphany Acrostic
- What is Prayer?