Category Archives: poetry

A collection of original poetry

Revisions

I have a hard time with the idea of a “first draft”.  I want whatever I write to be perfect from the get-go, but sometimes, when I step back for a while and then return to look at it with fresh eyes, I realize that it really would be better with a revision.  This happened recently with the poem I wrote and posted back in July.  I mentioned having written it to a colleague, an English teacher, and she asked if I would be willing to read it to her.  When I looked it over and imagined reading it out loud to someone who analyzes poetry with her students all the time, I decided it needed some improvements.  So here is the 2nd draft… it may be changed again in the future, but for now, I think it is at least a little improved.

Sacred Ground
 
Within each of us is a spark of the Divine,
Always lit, never consumed.
 
In the presence of this fire
We hear the voice of our God,
Of our Goddess, of our Holy.
“You are on Sacred Ground.”
 
In the presence of this flame
In me, in you, in us,
Walking, standing, gathering –
We are on sacred ground.
 
In the presence of this fire
We are compelled
To take up a torch, to carry a flame,
To seek a sacred ground.
 
In the presence of this spark
We are committed
To light the fire of passion, of life, of holy work.
To journey towards truth on Sacred Ground.

 

 

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Sacred Ground

Last month, I attended General Assembly, the annual gathering of the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association), at which there are business meetings, workshops, and social events.  Each day, there were breakout sessions called Reflection Groups.  We met with 8-10 other attendees to discuss assigned topics and to share our thoughts on our experience at GA.

One of the Reflection topics was the Biblical story of Moses and the burning bush.  One member of the group read it aloud and then we reflected on what part of it spoke to us the most.  We were asked to consider how we could apply the message of that story to ourselves as UUs.  From that discussion, I was inspired to write the following poem.  I shared it with my congregation last week as our Chalice Lighting words.

Sacred Ground
 
Within each of us is a spark of the Divine,
A burning bush,
Always lit, never consumed,
That speaks the voice
Of our God, of our Goddess, of our Holy.
“You are on Sacred Ground.”
 
In the presence of this fire,
Whether in ourselves or in another,
We are standing, we are walking, we are traveling
On Sacred Ground.
 
We are compelled, we are committed,
To take up the torch,
To carry the flame
To light the fire of passion, of life, of holy work,
As we journey towards truth
On Sacred Ground.
 

Soul Sisters

In honor of National Poetry Month (and today’s “A Poem in my Pocket” event), I would like to share my most recent poem, written after walking a candlelight labyrinth during our annual Women’s Retreat at Neshoba Church.

Soul Sisters by Chrystal Hogan

Soul sisters, on a journey, we tread our own path.
In… out… circling ’round…
Passing those who lead, watching those who follow.
Footsteps resonate,
Beating a rhythm that matches the cadence of our hearts.
 
Sometimes I move toward her –
Others, I move away.
Sometimes we travel side by side,
One moving forward, the other returning home.
 
Lost, I put one foot in front of the other until I find my center. 
Walking alone, I am not alone.
I follow the path created by another,
Showing the way to sisters I bring to the circle.
 

Rediscovering poetry

When I was younger – all through college and shortly thereafter – I wrote a fair amount of poetry.  Most of it was mediocre at best, although there are a few poems that I am willing to share.  Some I already have, although most of the ones I have posted here are fairly recent.  I hadn’t thought about poetry as an art form in a long time, and hadn’t gone back to re-read my early work in quite a while.  That has changed recently.

I have been participating in a workshop at church in which we are studying the works of Mary Oliver, a Unitarian Universalist poet, and exploring how it can relate to our spirituality.  This past week, we read and analyzed her poem “In Blackwater Woods“.  There were different perceptions of the imagery in it – many in the group read it from the perspective of seasonal cycles and letting go of that which we cherish, such as children who grow up.

There were other ideas that floated around the group, though, and one in particular struck me.  A woman who had lived out West, and seen the results of forest fires, read the poem from that point of view.  When she shared her vision of what Mary Oliver was describing, it reminded me of a poem I wrote about a year out of college, when I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and drove through an area that was coming back after a fire – the kind known as a “prescribed” or “controlled” burn.

So in honor of Mary Oliver, here is the poem I wrote over 20 years ago.

Lonely Lives Lost

The hillsides I pass

are scattered with

graveyards

of tree stumps –

Lives lost to man

to save lives from nature.

Violet flags

stand tall

among the lonely

Tombstones,

mourning the soldiers of the forest.

 

I am going to spend some time re-reading my old poetry and seeing if there is anything worth salvaging, intact or with work, and then sharing.

Hero of Mine

Larger than life, hero of mine
Working hard to provide
 
Family man, father of two
Lawyer by day, farmer too
 
Quiet, smart, humor so dry
Believing in me, as long as I try
 
Pushing hard, wants the best
Proud of me, no need to guess
 
Smiles so big, arms so strong
Cross country trips, filled with song
 
Love of family a driving force
Slow and steady was his course
 
Didn’t slow down til dementia set in
Battling Alzheimer’s, the disease will win
 
His memories fade, mine are stored
Hero of mine, deserves an award!
 
 

Haiku for Spring

Spring, scrubbed clean by rain,
Shows off colors in the sun –
New leaves a mint green.

Blessed are the children

Blessed are the children, innocent and new;
Blessed are the parents, with smiles so proud and true.
Blessed are the people who love them just as much;
Blessed are the strangers whose lives they’ll someday touch.

Blessed is the wind, blowing gently o’er the plain;
Blessed is the water, cleansing all the pain.
Blessed is the fire, burning bright through darkest nights;
Blessed is the earth, its valleys and its heights.

Blessed is the sun, whose warmth fills up the years;
Blessed is the rain, to wash away the tears.
Blessed is the beauty, inspiring life so sweet;
Blessed is the sorrow, when end of life we meet.

Blessed are the days, both good and sadness filled;
Blessed are the nights, our visions there to build.
Blessed are the moments we share with those we love;
Blessed are the years we live, a life to be proud of.

Daffodils

Days are getting longer
As the sun becomes stronger.
Freeing flowers from the snow,
Frolicking through the meadow.
Over and over all of your blooms,
Daffodil blossoms, I sing your tune.
Inconspicuous upon first sight,
Looking now, I see your light!
Suddenly… spring is here.

Unbroken

Circles
Always open, unbroken.
Circles of friends, circles of strength, circles of love
Unbroken.
Embracing, empowering, ever expanding.
Centering.
I walk and walk and walk
Coming and going,
Rising, falling,
Breathing in the circle of life.
Infinite circle, drawing us in
Sharing and caring
Growing and flowing,
Until we are one,
Unbroken.

Annie’s Hands

…silence…
They enter the room,
Sitting, waiting, thinking.
She begins,
They respond.
…silence…

… silence…
Posters on the walls,
Books on the desks,
Words on the hands,
… silence…